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December 8, 2013

Ford: A Criminal in Denial

Reuel S. Amdur

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The Rob Ford fiasco undermines the Rob Ford solution to the urban situation. His solution to the cost of services is to cut taxes and let services shrivel. He even contemplated closing libraries. His solution to gun crime is to ban all criminals convicted of gun offenses from living in Toronto and to demand an additional $10 million from the province for more police. Notice the contradiction between cutting taxes and demanding more money. He wants no part of "hug a thug" programs, and while he has had his football team he has opposed City Council giving financial support to other youth programs that might have a role to play in prevention.

Retired judge Roy McMurtry and former long-time Liberal MPP Alvin Curling produced a report for the Ontario government about dealing with youth crime, “Roots of Youth Violence”.  They identified a variety of factors implicated—poverty combined with hopelessness and isolation, poor planning for urban design, inadequate public transit to poverty areas, and a lack of adequate services for mental illness and addiction.  As well, there is a need for good programs of rehabilitation for young offenders.

So who would have thought that Ford himself would become deeply implicated in crime?  His hug-a-thug behavior has involved smoking crack with criminals.  A man convicted on drug charges has acted as his driver, confidant, and allegedly an enforcer pursuing the tape showing him doing crack.  Others with whom he has consorted are dead, wounded, or in jail.  He has travelled in gangland circles.  And of course he has driven while drunk and assaulted his staff when in that condition.

In order to resolve Toronto’s Ford problem, he should, if at all possible, be removed from office.  Dealing with his personal problems is another kettle of fish.  He insists that he is not an alcoholic and not a drug addict.  However, the evidence is very clear that drugs and alcohol have seriously interfered with his functioning and job performance.  He needs a shock to bring him to face reality.  Ideally, conviction for one or more of his legal infractions and a sentence to incarceration might be a start.  Yet, very little help for him would be available in jail, due to limited funding and overcrowding.  The overcrowding is due to the tough-on-crime approach so dear to his heart.

Once taken down a peg or two by a sentence, perhaps he would then be prepared to admit the reality of his condition and accept the help which his colleagues and many others have been urging for him.  Will all the Ford money splashing around, he could afford the very best.

For Ford, tough-on-crime is for the other guy.  For him, the mantra is deny, deny, confess, and then deny some more.

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On July 7, 2024 in Toronto, Canada, Dimitri Lascaris delivered a speech on the right to resist oppression.

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