Rob and Doug Ford are a bit like the Olsen twins. The world fell in love with them when they were young, then watched in horror as they grew up and began to resemble a combination of Courtney Love and that weird fortune teller teacher in Harry Potter. Ok, maybe I’m being too hard on the Olsen twins- it actually took a long time to find a picture I could so viciously mock. If only that held true for the Ford brothers…
Up until this weekend, you might have been able to make the case that Doug Ford was the world’s most compassionate man. As his brother’s public persona slammed headfirst into the floor, then into the basement, then began drilling a hole to the other side of the world, brother Doug’s allegiance never wavered. He was willing to forgive his brother’s mistakes, to let him start fresh until he got it right. He truly believed that Rob was a man of sufficient character to run Toronto. What a brother! Well, anyone who assumed that Doug’s compassion extended to anyone other than Rob received a rude awakening on Sunday, when he came out swinging at the Griffin Centre, an Etobicoke home for developmentally disabled kids.
“You’ve ruined the community,” Doug told the operators of the home. These words were follow-up after a community meeting that he organized in Etobicoke, at which he suggested that noise complaints and a police visit were sufficient grounds to relocate the home to another area. He had been duped into thinking the home would be invisible and harmless, he claimed, and now wanted to make amends for the good people of the neighbourhood.
To be fair to Ford, he had every right to feel this way. Sure, he knew that there would be autistic kids in the home, but, in his own words: “no one told me they’d be leaving the house.” It made sense. Autism is, after all, a developmental disorder characterized by fear of the outdoors. No, wait, that’s not right. Inability to use a sidewalk? Nope. A condition aggravated by exposure to grass? Not quite. So why would it make sense to keep these kids in the house all day and all night? I shan’t speculate as to why Mr. Ford thought this was a reasonable proposition, but I will suggest that Mr. Ford adjust his clock…move it forward a few centuries.
As predictably as the sun rises, nary a moment passed before mayoral candidates started slinging mud at Doug Ford, who we can only assume was serving as a proxy for Rob Ford, who may or may not be in rehab. Doug heard their attacks and redirected them at Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s Liberal Premier, who is also in campaign mode. Wynne deflected those attacks in the direction of the provincial Conservatives and New Democrats, and just like that, the cycle of political opportunism was complete.
What, then, do we make of Doug Ford’s staunch support for his brother? Is he really as compassionate and forgiving as his public persona suggests? He might be. It is entirely possible that this was a rare lapse in character for an otherwise stellar public servant. On the other hand, given his association with the endless cycle of political opportunism, we might not assume the best of him. Are there ulterior motives for Doug’s support for Rob? We don’t know. But if they exist, we can assume that, like the Griffin Centre, Doug intends for them to be invisible and harmless. Here’s to hoping they don’t ruin a community.