Fridge magnet non-scandal shouldn’t stick to Rob Ford
Mayor Rob Ford has a knack for getting into trouble, but suggesting he broke the law by putting fridge magnets on cars is quite a stretch.
Ford raised eyebrows at an Etobicoke community council meeting Tuesday when he bolted from the meeting, in which a controversial redevelopment proposal was being discussed, a few minutes after he got there.
Reporters followed him into the parking lot and watched as the mayor went from car to car, attaching fridge magnets with his name and phone number on them to the vehicles.
Now, it is reasonable to wonder why the mayor of Canada’s largest city – an important job – left the meeting to distribute fridge magnets, a task better suited to an underling.
While shooting video of the incident, Star reporter Daniel Dale asked the mayor about it, saying “I think some people will find it strange that you’re doing this,” while there’s an important meeting going on inside.
Ford quipped that some people might find Dale strange. Dale, who’s a good sport, agreed.
That should have been the end of it, other than arriving at the unsettling conclusion that the mayor would rather stick little magnets on cars than be in the meeting.
While driving on Wednesday, I heard a radio report that a complaint was filed with Municipal Licensing and Standards over Ford’s fridge magnet giveaway; apparently, a license is needed to put advertising flyers on cars, which the mayor didn’t have.
Without considering whether the flyer bylaw applies to what Ford was doing – after all, fridge magnets are not flyers, even if they amount to advertising for the mayor – it raises questions about the person who emailed in the complaint to MLS.
Ford has been dogged by complaints since he became chief magistrate on even the slightest misstep. He is a polarizing figure who a lot of people would like to take down.
But is this one worth the bother of investigating, as MLS is apparently doing? Shouldn’t we cut the mayor a little slack, and not turn a harmless bit of campaigning into grounds for yet another investigation?
Even in a worst (or best, depending on what side you’re on)-case scenario – conviction on all counts! – it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.
Ford is doing a fine job of revealing himself to voters. The haters don’t need to pile on with nuisance complaints that are petty, vengeful and play into the hands of Ford Nation, where a siege mentality is alive and well.
Leave the mayor alone, so he can do the things he is good at.