Nobody missed Rob Ford at Pride—but his absence is still significant for the city
Despite a somewhat dramatic game of last-minute will-he-or-won’t-he speculation, just as he promised, Rob Ford no-showed at Toronto’s Pride parade on Sunday, opting instead for a Muskoka weekend with his family. And just as they promised, rainbow-wearing revellers cared not as they packed the downtown core to celebrate under sunny skies and in the stifling heat for this year’s four-and-a-half-hour, squirt-gun-soaked festivities. But even though Ford’s absence didn’t do a thing to dampen the raucous atmosphere at Pride—of course, nobody thought Ford should be there because of his party tricks—we think the fact that city’s mayor didn’t attend the annual event for the first time since 1994 is still a troubling break from tradition.
Globe and Mail city columnist Marcus Gee, who penned a smart column on the issue last week, has the story:
When [public officials] participate in the Pride parade, as mayors have for more than a decade, they are sending a powerful message that homophobia is not tolerated in our city. They are signalling that the whole city, led by its highest official, stands shoulder to shoulder against this poisonous form of hatred.
By boycotting Pride, declining to attend not just the parade but all other Pride events so far, Mr. Ford is sending the opposite message. He is saying that shunning the gay community is acceptable. He is giving the bigots cover to voice their dark resentments. In effect, if not in intent, he is legitimizing hate.
In other words, not only does it seem impolite not to publicly support and participate in an event that brings millions of tourist dollars to Toronto businesses, but Ford’s reluctance to champion Pride Week gives homophobes the impression that the mayor is—at least tacitly—on their side.
Ford, on the other hand, was steadfast in his decision not to attend, withstanding mounting pressure to do the opposite from individuals as diverse as former mayor Mel Lastman, Liberal MPP Glen Murray, Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday and Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, and missing a golden opportunity to work past some of the divisiveness that has marked his term as mayor thus far. Instead, he’s just created another dividing line.
• Mayor Ford mocked but not missed at Pride parade [Toronto Star]
• A Pride Parade victory [Toronto Sun]
• Toronto mayor’s snub of Pride Week gives bigots cover to spew their bile [Globe and Mail]
• Video: More than a million at Pride, but not Toronto’s mayor [Globe and Mail]
• Toronto celebrates longest Pride parade ever [National Post]
10 thoughts on “Nobody missed Rob Ford at Pride—but his absence is still significant for the city”
For what it’s worth, Mel Lastman did not attend in 1997.
“nobody missed him”? Lots of posters and masks to show otherwise…
The man is lazy, clearly. Vacationing in Muskoka instead of celebrating Canada Day with the city he is the mayor of?! Pathetic. Do your JOB, FORD.
Please also keep in mind Ford turned down the offer to march with the LEAST controversial gay group out there: PFLAG. He’s a hateful nutbar.
And a liar. And not a fiscal cconservative, seeing as how he clearly wants the biggest festival (adding millions and millions to the economy) in the city to fail. Mayor Double Down is a cancer to this city.
The Mayor represents this city. Whether he agrees with peoples’ lifestyles or not, he should have been at one of the largest events this city sees every year, and event that brings tens of millions of dollars to the economy and tourists from all around the world. To not even attend the flag-raising – he wouldn’t have even had to have attended the Parade – shames Toronto and Torontonians. You’re basically inferring that homophobia is ok by not supporting Pride. Whether Ford is or is not homophobic, that is how this Pride snub comes across. It’s also anti-Toronto as Pride is such a huge part of Toronto’s identity. Ford CHOSE to run for mayor of this city, now he needs to actually take part in it.
A principled politician…how refreshing
WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, panties still in a knot. Where is the fact half the city was blocked off bc of Pride and why wasn’t there more Canada Day celebrations? Next week could of been a good weekend for a parade no?
Really, what is the big deal if he didn’t go to the parade? It is NOT his job. Other mayors have gone to the parade because they CHOSE to. I support gay people and all of their rights, but I chose not to go to the parade because of other things I wanted to do. Does that make me homophobic? No! This topic is pointless, and I think the media likes to dwell on it for headline news. What’s next? If Rob Ford doesn’t go to the Caribana parade this year, will that make him a racist?
Principled? Rob Ford? Are you for real?
Rob Ford announced months ago he didn’t know if he could fit it into his calendar, only to later remember that he has an annual thing with his family. The principled thing here would not LIE about his commitments.
Re: he’s homophobic or not, history clearly shows that he is: marching in the parade would have been a smart move to show he’s at least playing nice. Not marching just confirms his existing behavior, so the Caribana comparison is not apt.
Re: “blocking off” the city: cry me a river… boo hoo if you’re a motorist too dumb to realize that festivals (and marathons, and construction) happen in a city and that your precious drive was affected. Try planning for it next time.
Although Ford snubbed the gay community completely, he did not say anything against the community. Sure his actions will have consequences. But the man said he had family commitments and wouldn’t go. Fine. So where is all this hate coming from? Where do people think they have a right to mouth off about gays or the parade? Should we blame Ford? Some might, but blame the people saying hateful things. They should take responsibility for their words, not Ford.
If Ford does have something against the Parade or the gays and he didn’t say anything then he’s a coward for his passive aggressive actions.
If you have something against gays then say it, don’t hide behind a speculation about the Mayors actions – Cowards. Ford doesn’t care about you either.
If you hate gays and pride why don’t you just get a shotgun and head over to church street? Better yet, let’s have a parade to celebrate your hateful thoughts. Everyone is entitled to celebrate their lifestyle. Why don’t you all get together, grab some pitchforks and torches, and march down Yonge with your hateful posts on your t-shirts. Get a float with a big cattle pusher on the front. Fill your water guns with bleach. Cowards, what’s stopping ya?! Think a million people will come out to support your community of ignorance and hate? Stand behind your hate, take it all the way, then off to hell with you.
I voted for the Mayor to clean up city hall, I am glad he is doing that. This whole pride snub is not something I wanted but not that surprised or outraged about. One day we will have a better Mayor who can balance a budget and build bridges between our communities. I am looking forward to that.
What is surprising is watching people assert their own opinions about gays in Toronto and the Pride parade but use the Mayor’s absence as an excuse to mouth off.
Rob Ford didn’t say hateful things, he didn’t come out against the gays, he just avoided the whole thing. Why don’t all you fearful ignorant hateful people follow the leader and keep your hateful words to yourself.
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