Reaction Roundup: how Rob Ford fared on his day in court

Reaction Roundup: how Rob Ford fared on his day in court

(Image: Christopher Drost)

It’s rare (thankfully) that the mayor of a major city faces cross-examination in open court, never mind a mayor like Rob Ford, with his sometimes sharp temper and hatred of being questioned. No wonder, then, that Ford’s testimony yesterday in the conflict of interest case against him was prime fodder for the city’s columnists. We’ve rounded up the threads of the debate:

• OpenFile’s John Michael McGrath summed up Ford’s testimony thusly: “He doesn’t think he did anything wrong; he doesn’t think it was a conflict of interest, but he probably doesn’t remember most of the events in question.” Indeed, Ford stuck close to his script, answering many of lawyer Clayton Ruby’s sharp questions with “I don’t recall” and repeating again and again his own idiosyncratic understanding of what constitutes a conflict of interest.

• At Spacing Toronto, John Lorinc remarked that Ford appeared to be “a very lonely man, in it way over his head” as he sat with a characteristic “sullen, slightly bewildered look” (see photo above). Lorinc argues that though Ruby was trying to show a pattern of deceit and lying, what emerged instead was “a pattern of almost pathological inattentiveness.” For instance: Ford admitted he didn’t read councillor handbooks, attend orientation sessions or seek to understand the legal requirements of his position.

Marcus Gee at the Globe and Mail also criticized Ford for his complacency. However, Gee cautioned, “Whether Mr. Ford should lose his job for his blindness—well, that’s another question. Being willfully obtuse is not a hanging offence. Even many voters who are hostile to the mayor would rather see him removed in an election than through the courts.”

• The Toronto Star’s Royson James says the case shows how political partisanship is weakening Toronto’s local democracy. On one side of a pitched battle is the Ford Nation, which will support Ford despite apparent rule-breaking, and on the other are entrenched Ford haters who “just want to see him expunged from the city, by any means necessary.”

In court, Ford asserts he never had a conflict of interest (he also doesn’t remember a lot) [OpenFile]
• Marcus Gee: Toronto Mayor Ford only has himself to blame [Globe and Mail]
• Rob Ford conflict of interest trial: What’s so hard about integrity? [Toronto Star]
• LORINC: Strange times in #FordCourt [Spacing]