Today, little known small town Mayor Rob Ford launched his bid for re-election for what feels like the 50th time. Speaking in front of a group of people, Ford delivered a message of hope (as in, he hopes he wins). Not having been at the event, I cannot say for sure, but I am willing to bet there was a sense of something in the crowd. It could have been annoyance, or fanatical enthusiasm, or even fatigue. In any case, this was an event like any other.
Ford spoke to his record, which he claimed is “second to none”. He couldn’t be more correct. Ford associates with more people with criminal records, and has done more worthy of a criminal record, than any Mayor of Toronto in recent history. Ford also said he would “continue to pledge honesty and transparency”. That’s nice to hear. It has the ring of an 8-year-old pledging $100 to his friend before the Terry Fox Run, then realizing he doesn’t have $100, and finally asking his parents to pony up because he doesn’t want to lose a friend over his silly mistake.
On that note, Ford also thanked his supporters for their “spirit of second chances”. Oddly, though, he didn’t thank them for their spirit of third, fourth, fifth, or any other number of chances. On this particular day, it seemed as if the Mayor could only count to two.
But this event was not all about the past. Ford described a bold vision for the future, and showed that he is as committed to Toronto in the next four years as he has been for the last four. This is an appropriate time to mention that many of the chairs in the room were empty throughout Ford’s speech.
Regardless, he forged ahead: “I won’t back down from the issues that matter to you. I won’t back down from protecting taxpayer dollars. I won’t back down from putting people’s interests ahead of special interests.” With these words, he made clear that he understood what mattered to the special interests of Toronto. Sorry- people of Toronto. It’s hard not to confuse them once you realize that people generate special interests. Anyway, Ford is a skilled orator with an excellent understanding of what the people of Toronto want and need. If his campaign kick-off speech taught you one thing, that should be it.