Mayor Rob Ford and the never-ending story. Canadian Living staff reactions

I must admit: I’ve spent a lot of time following Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s fall from grace over the past few months. Back in May, when news of his scandal first broke out, I’d head over to Twitter fairly regularly and look up the hashtag #TOpoli (Toronto Politics). Here, I’d find a stream of unending Tweets from media across the country, covering Toronto’s, now world-renown, mayor.

So here we are, six months into the storyline, with an admission. Earlier this week, Mayor Rob Ford told reporters that he did, in fact, smoke crack cocaine, after months of denial. In his words, “people make mistakes and it’s time for us to move forward.”

Umm… I’m not so sure it’s that simple, Mr. Ford.

Here’s the thing — it’s hard to move past something like this so quickly, when there’s no solution in place. Shouldn’t he go to rehab if he has a substance abuse problem? Do the people of Toronto really deserve a mayor who is, most likely, inebriated when making decisions that affect innocent tax-payers? (Remember this $75K chair purchase?)

It’s quite obvious from the media frenzy surrounding this story, however, that most Torontonians are quite united in how they feel — they want their mayor to get help, and fast — and they want him out.

We did a quick survey around our office in Toronto to get a sense of how everyone is feeling about this (pretty embarrassing) story that’s getting Toronto global recognition — for all the wrong reasons.

Question: From his mother’s interview on TV last night to his own admission of smoking crack cocaine, what element in the Rob Ford storyline surprises you the most and why?

Robin: The lies and denials are upsetting but I would have to say it is his family’s reaction that has surprised me most. The mayor is struggling with issues beyond alcohol. It is sad and uncomfortable to watch. Sadder still, is to see members of his family say he simply needs to work through it. If you have ever had a family member go down the same self-destructive path (and I have) it tears you up. It is natural to make excuses for your loved one but in the end you have to do what is best for them. I hope that in the next few days we’ll see the family realize this. I hope the mayor will also understand he has to step down—for the sake of his kids, his wife, his health and his city.

Jennifer G.: I found his mother’s 5-step plan really hard to listen to. Rob Ford’s weight is not his biggest issue right now, and I feel like it was an inappropriate time and place to bring it up.

Stephanie Z: How little compassion the media and general public have demonstrated toward him. Public figure or not, I try not to judge people on how they conduct themselves in their personal lives. I’m glad his family spoke on his behalf—it reminds us all that he is human like the rest of us, and not just a public joke or spectacle.

Scott: That he STILL hasn’t been removed from office.

Doug: The element that most surprises me is not a hole in his story, but rather the refusal for a huge portion of our Toronto community to accept that he has to go. He still has supporters? Why? Do the tax-payers who continue to support Rob Ford not realize the damage they are inflicting on their own city? Let’s not make this a ‘Ford issue’ — but ‘Rebuild Toronto’ issue.

Amanda: I am shocked that it is his decision alone whether or not he should remain in office. He is an embarrassment to Toronto and has proven time and time again that he is not working for the city but for his own personal needs. I’m still in shock that he was voted into office to begin with and that his approval rating has gone up amidst the constant scandals. Who are these people?!

Tina: I’m surprised that Mr. Ford’s mother said his weight was his biggest problem. I think there are a whole host of concerns that Mr. Ford could use help with, and it might not have been the first one I started with if I were in her shoes.

Alyssa: I feel bad for his kids. I can’t even imagine the mockery they must be experiencing at school. And clearly they’re growing up in a home with a father who has addiction and anger issues. I feel sad for them and hope their father gets the help he needs.

Blake: I am no fan of Ford, but I’m surprised (and horrified) by the public’s reaction to this whole mess. Someone like Ford, in the midst of crisis, deserves compassion, kindness and privacy, not the howling of mobs, auto tuned videos, and restaurants offering “Rob Ford Crack Pepper Burgers.” We should be collectively ashamed that we responded with derision over grace.

Helen: Nothing really surprises me about any of this. I’ll be the most surprised if he goes to rehab.

So now it’s your turn, dear readers. What are your thoughts as this story plays out?

Oh, and by the way, have you seen this?

Photo: Courtesy West Annex News via Flickr Commons