“I heard that your Mayor Ford’s approval ratings went up, after it came out that he smoked crack. You know what that makes you as a city Toronto? Enablers, eh.” Comedian Jon Stewart earlier this week on The Daily Show.
It is rare for Toronto or even Canadians to be in the American and international spotlight but the Rob Ford crack scandal has put Toronto front and centre. Toronto is now on the butt end of countless jokes and the Internet is exploding with Ford content.
Students at Humber’s Lakeshore Campus had interesting opinions on the subject.
“If we re-elect him then I would say we are enabling him,” Maelaine Swinden, a first-year student in Humber’s human resources program, says in reaction to Ford’s insistence on staying in office and his approval rating. “There is no punishment; we are just rewarding him for doing what he has done.”
The poll Stewart and Swinden were referring too when saying Toronto enables Ford was taken by Global News after Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair revealed the police are in possession of the alleged crack video.
Randy Westcott, a second-year student in Humber’s graphic design program, says he is frustrated that there has been no resolution to the situation.
“There needs to be a way to take care of this and there doesn’t seem to be any way to resolve the issue,” Westcott says. “There’s no way to impeach the mayor of Toronto or any mayor in Ontario actually and he is not willing to step down or get help himself.”
And how does the Ford story affect our credibility on the world stage?
“It will definitely affect how other people, other countries, will look at our system and how we treat our mayors,” Swinden says. “Especially if we re-elect him it will say ‘oh Canadians and specifically people in the GTA and Toronto, they won’t care that their mayor’s something that’s just not right. He has done crack, he has admitted to this! They’ve still re-elected him.’ It will tarnish our reputation.”
Westcott said the damage has been done, “100 per cent it hurts our reputation as a city. The entire world is looking at us now, especially from the U.S. We’re usually the ones that are laughing at the U.S and now they’re laughing at us because we can’t control our politicians.”
Student opinions were mixed on whether the scandal embarrassed them.
“Personally, no,” says Frankie Fiorini, a first-year student in Humber’s paralegal program. “It’s a touchy thing with the way the media takes someone’s personal life and turns it into a public life”
Swinden says she has s a different opinion.
“I feel embarrassed because there’s people in other countries that are now looking and saying, ‘Oh look here’s people in Toronto this is what they’re electing? That’s embarrassing to me, especially because I go to school in Toronto.”
Swinden lives in Mississauga where Mayor Hazel McCallion is in her twelfth consecutive term.
Students interviewed were unanimous that they would not give Ford a second term in 2014.
“I think he has done enough in these last few years,” Fiorini says. “All this drama with him needs to go and in order to do that you have to get him out of the office.”