As soon as I heard Blair say “disappointed” in his original news release I cringed as I knew it would immediately provide an opportunity for the Ford brothers to use it to side step or misdirect attention on the current issue. It was an unfortunate comment by Blair for two reasons. It provided that opportunity and it really was an inappropriate, though inconsequential, comment. He could easily have just stuck to the facts and communicated his disappointment through non-verbal cues.
Stating the facts, that Ford was in the video and that the contents were consistent with what had been reported by The Star, were entirely appropriate, simply providing information. If it turns out to be inaccurate in any way, then Blair can be criticized, but if it is accurate then it is just factual communication about a police case. Releasing the photo’s and surveillance information is similarly routine practice, and was not done by Blair anyway, but by the courts. T
The fact is that, while it was ill advised for him to use the word “disappointing” and while Blair may deserve a reprimand for making the comment, in the real world it is of little consequence. It really doesn’t change the facts, those released being clearly damning, and the ones remaining to be released to the public being pretty suspicious. Personally, I can understand Blair’s frustration and “disappointment”. As a proud citizen of Toronto with a respect for law and order, he has probably been furious for a long time at Ford’s persistent and repeated flaunting of common decency. He may also be privy to information about Ford that can’t be conclusively substantiated, but which the police are “pretty sure” about anyway. Seeing this mayor constantly sidestep, deny and avoid responsibility like a slippery con-artist must have been an affront to anyone’s sense of decency and integrity. And so he was “disappointed”, -a rather measured word, all things considered, but still unfortunate.
Redirection of the truth, along with frequent bold lies, have been a hallmark of the Ford regime, from the myth of the “gravy train” to the “non-existent” crack video. The foibles of Ford have always been painted as someone else’s fault, whether it be the media or other City Officials trying “to get him”. It is not surprising that in this case Rob and Doug are trying to redirect attention to Chief Blair.
In fact, in light of Rob Ford’s odd comment about him not being the only public official who is not perfect, -comment that was seen by some as childishly threatening-, the attack on Blair, linking his actions to some questionable fishing trip, may be the first in a line of blackmail or revenge like actions on the part of the Ford brothers. It may be an “If I’m going down then I’m taking you with me” mentality, which would be totally consistent with what we’ve seen so far.
Personally, I’m torn about whether Ford should step down or not. Clearly, many of his supporters are still in a sense of denial. The lessons which should have been learned from this still seem elusive. If Ford were to leave now, he would just kind of sink into bad jokes. Let him stay on, remain in the spotlight and continue on this path. He will undoubtedly continue to make bad decisions, and if the past is any indication, they will become more and more ridiculous. Perhaps a scandal will come up that will finally shake his supporters from their blind denial. At the very least, the maintenance of disgust towards him will play out in the next election where more moderate voters will desert him in favor of a candidate who might be able to restore Toronto’s integrity. Just a thought…