“Shortly after it was announced in March that Toronto surpassed Chicago in population size—making it the fourth-largest city in North America—a Chicago columnist named Neil Steinberg wrote a piece at my city’s expense. So lame and genteel are Torontonians, he argued, that they can’t even acknowledge success when it seldom comes their way. Steinberg’s dig was in reaction to a Canadian Business article that questioned the veracity of the city’s new-found status (were we really bigger?), but his jibes were levelled mostly at Torontonians themselves—suckers who “sit crouched in slush with their hands locked around their knees, gazing poutingly over the border to the south, paralyzed with envy, disdain and longing. They just wish we cared about them enough so they could have the chance to scorn us. But we don’t and never will.”
“This week, Neil Steinberg is eating his words. If the American definition of civic pride is attention paid, Toronto is the proudest city on the continent. If we are, in fact, sitting in slush, gazing longingly at the Statue of Liberty, she is gazing right back. My city has finally achieved the attention it so desperately craves. And doing so was apparently very easy. We didn’t have to become the fourth-largest metropolis in North America, or promote our diverse makeup and lack of crime to make international headlines. All we had to do was elect Rob Ford mayor, and wait.”
Toronto’s Catholic school board has removed Mayor Rob Ford as head football coach at Etobicoke’s Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, ending a decade-long affiliation that has brought Ford personal joy and political praise and criticism.
The school board’s decision does not appear to be related to the crack cocaine scandal Ford is now facing — which centres around a video in which an intoxicated Ford appears to refer to Don Bosco players as “just f—ing minorities.” The board had been reviewing Ford’s role at Don Bosco since March.
The review was prompted by an interview with Sun News in which Ford made comments that were called inaccurate by Don Bosco’s parent council, many teachers there, and even the offensive coordinator on Ford’s coaching staff. Among other contested statements, Ford said that Eagles players would not attend school if not for the football program, that many players “come from gangs” and from “broken homes,” and that Don Bosco is a “tough school” in a “tough area.”
“Mr. Ford has helped our students rise to the challenge and realize their potential as both football players and young men,” Bruce Rodrigues, the board’s director of education, is quoted as saying in a Wednesday statement. “This decision was based on what is best for our students, our school and the Don Bosco community.”
I think he should resign from office. He’s become too much of a distraction to city business, and there’s little hope that he’ll be able to overcome this in a positive and constructive way. I wish him luck battling his personal issues and hope he gets his life sorted out.
“This is the only thing I know about Toronto,” one American commenter said Monday, and my blood froze. Margaret Atwood, New-York-without-the-stuff, friendly multiculturalism, Janet Carding’s ROM, all this is to be lost because of a mayor who veers between Sad and Angry, between Lashing Out Emotionally and Just Plain Lashing Out — you know the type — but never ventures near Smart.
As I type this, Ford’s brother Doug is clipping his nails in council. That I need to specify “fingernails” is how low we have sunk. He could put someone’s eye out."