The internet was all abuzz yesterday with reports that Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford would not be attending this year’s Gay Pride Parade in order to fulfill long-standing family commitments to go to a cottage. His family trip to Muskoka is a yearly event held on the same weekend every year – and who are we plebes to argue that the Mayor of Toronto could re-schedule such an important tradition?
According to an article in the Globe and Mail:
Mayors of Toronto have been marching in the parade since Barbara Hall wore the chain of office. Police Chief Bill Blair makes a point of being there to build bridges to the gay community. So do provincial and federal cabinet ministers of all political stripes. Brian Burke, general manager of the Leafs, is marching.
Initial reactions to Ford’s announcement were negative. In fact, the article referenced above is titled “Mayor misses out on opportunity to celebrate diversity”. The Toronto mayor’s first commitment should be to support Toronto’s gay community by attending a parade that is historically linked to improving gay rights in our progressive city. Some argue events like the Pride parade led to increased rights and acceptance of the gay community in Toronto, and even Canada.
@corecorina’s thoughts shared on Twitter echoed the sentiment of many:
Others argued that Ford should support something that, if for nothing else, feeds a lot of money ($MILLIONS$) into Toronto and garners positive attention to the city on a national scale, which is especially important after last year’s G20 disaster.
It wasn’t long before the other side spoke up. He has commitments! Family commitments! Shouldn’t we respect the fact that he has put his family before his job?! Isn’t that what we would all do? This is a long-standing tradition!
Now everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I am also entitled to think that opinion is, well…stupid.
Rob Ford’s job as mayor is TEMPORARY. It relies on the fact that Torontonian’s are happy with him as mayor, and happy with his choices. Unfortunately, sometimes that includes his personal choices and the community’s judgment of his priorities.
He is the mayor of the largest cities in Canada. Toronto just so happens to have a large gay population. Assuming Rob Ford is enjoying his new position as MAYOR of the damn city, he may want to keep said position. This means he should probably try to appeal to every segment of the population that he can to ensure his position is a little less temporary.
More importantly, in my opinion, is the fact that this even became an issue. Where are this man’s handlers? His media people? Maybe even a publicity rep? ANYONE?! Surely he has been coached on how to speak to the media.
All Ford needed to say to make this a non-issue is that: No, he regrets that previous obligations to his family would prevent him from attending the parade itself, but he would be attending ___________ event or hosting ________ event to kickoff the Pride festivities in Toronto, because he understands the important of this event in Toronto and he fully supports it. (Assuming he does support it – am I going too far here?)
(image courtesy of Slap Upside the Head)
Now let’s see what other commitments Rob Ford has to keep him away from
Caribana Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival…
And seriously, before you judge Rob Ford you should really google “cottaging”. Because maybe he’s a much bigger gay pride supporter than we thought…