Reaction Roundup: how Rob Ford fared on his day in court
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]
5 thoughts on “Reaction Roundup: how Rob Ford fared on his day in court”
The mayor suggests he was unaware he breached provincial conflict-of-interest legislation. He was first elected city councillor in 2000, re-elected in 2003, re-elected in 2006, and elected mayor in 2010. Each time he was given a opportunity to attend an orientation meeting and receive his own copy of the handbook.
Was he also unaware of the contents of the driver’s handbook to excuse his driving habits of talking on his cell phone and reading his speech?
(You can download a PDF copy of the 2010-2014 Council Handbook from http://www.toronto.ca/city_council/pdf/handbook_ext.pdf . It’s 145 pages long. Does not include the Appendixes, Key Contacts and Index, which the hardcopy version would have. Do not read while driving.)
Is ignorance of the law a valid defense? Last time I checked criminals commonly get full sentences even if they claim they didn’t recall detail or know it was illegal to commit the crime.
Ford’s defence is that he lied to get his job, smart move j@ck@ss!
His defense is inattentiveness and incompetence. If the judge does not rescue Toronto by removing Ford, we are stuck with a mayor who is incapable of paying attention to his job. It is a long time to the next election.
The court is facing the real test here. As sad as it is some people will choose to believe Mayor Ford’s actions were that of a great community guy just helping kids. They will not understand that using that facade in court,along with claimed ignorance of the responsibility of a sworn duty is just as disturbing as the lack of integrity todate to carry out that oath. I do not believe it possible for a court to allow Mr. Ford to continue in his fantasy without itself becoming a back yard BBQ joke.
Comments are closed.