MADD’s righteousness is hard to swallow
Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s description of the city councillors who stood with Councillor Ana Bailao as she faced the media over her impaired driving charge as “deplorable” is enough to make me reach for a drink.
By now, those who pay attention to local politics know that Bailao was busted for impaired driving Monday night and told media at city hall Tuesday that she intends to plead not guilty.
The breathalyzer test produced a blood alcohol reading high enough to warrant the charge, and is literally never wrong, so it is safe to say Bailao is a long shot to beat the rap, whatever she pleads.
If she is found guilty, she’ll get the same punishment as anyone else, and rightly so.
When Bailao faced the city hall press gallery, a handful of councillors stood with her to show their support at a time of personal crisis, including Doug Ford and Frances Nunziata from the right and Pam McConnell and Mike Layton from the left.
It’s a shame that it takes a criminal charge against one of their own to bring council’s left and right together, but that’s a topic for another day.
“To be blunt, I think it’s deplorable,” said Andrew Murie, the CEO of MADD, of the councillors who publicly support Bailao in her appearance before the media.
He went on to say the councillors were sending a message to the public “that it’s okay to drink and drive in Toronto and it’s a mistake if you get caught.”
What flaming hyperbole.
Who knows if Bailao has a serious drinking problem, or if the offence is a one-off. Not me.
Either way, she surely needed all the support she could get, in a very public appearance that was quite likely one of the hardest things she’s ever done.
To say that anyone who publicly supported her condones impaired driving is as much as saying she deserves no help.
Anyone who knows anything about beating an addiction knows the support of friends and family is crucial.
And if you’ve ever had a friend in a jam – even one entirely of their own making – it is instinctual to support them.
Murie was right when he said it would have better if she’d fessed up and said she was prepared to plead guilty. That would have been the courageous thing to do.
But even if she had, would the councillors who supported her be any less deplorable?
That’s where he loses me.