Insult can always be found by those who know what they're looking for
Dear Ford Nation:
None of them have anything to do with the way he runs the city, which seems to be a particularly sore point with y’all, but it was no oversight on my part.
By listing personal reasons for liking him – he looks uncomfortable in a suit, for instance - instead of his achievements in office, The Nation seems to think my column was only a vehicle for insulting Ford.
If I had used his accomplishments, the list would have ended at two, or maybe three at most.
He deserves credit for reducing the spendthrift culture at city hall and presiding over a fair and amicable resolution of contract negotiations with the city’s unionized workforce earlier this year.
The Nation would count the privatization of a big chunk of Toronto’s garbage collection as an achievement, but not me.
I can't think of anything else. The list is short when the mayor can't entice enough councillors into his tent to get any of his key initiatives passed.
Most of my reasons for liking Ford are the same things that allow him to connect with the public; he’s an ordinary guy with foibles and weaknesses, not given to glib oration or sifting the complexities of municipal finance.
Unlike many Nation members, I know Ford personally and spent a lot of time in his office, shooting the breeze with him and Andrew Pask, his executive assistant at the time, when he was a city councillor and I was a city hall reporter.
I was as welcome in the offices of Ford and his fellow traveler Doug Holyday as I was in the lairs of pinkos like Howard Moscoe, the late Jack Layton or David Miller because I learned to never hold the politics of the people I covered against them.
I knew Ford’s shirt tail had a tendency to not remain tucked in, and that he kept a roll of toilet paper on his desk to blow his nose, instead of tissue, from up-close observation.
And his frequent blowups and colorful quotes about his council colleagues made him fun to cover.
It’s why I feel affection for him and sincerely hope he can finish out his term and run for re-election, instead of getting turfed from office over the football donation fiasco.
The last time I talked to Ford was last winter, at an unexpected meeting on St. Clair Ave. We walked along the street chatting like the old friends we are, with my hand on his shoulder.
Even though he never talks to The Star, he told me he’d talk to me on the record any time, because he thinks of me as a friend, and not an enemy.
I suspect Rob did not take offense to my column, because he knows better and has a more refined sense of humour about himself than he lets on.
But maybe he did; I was not invited to the Ford barbeque.
As for Ford Nation, keep on believing that the enemy is anyone whose worldview differs from yours. It’s what I love about you.