From the Toronto Sun:
“He put the incident so far behind him, he said he was caught off guard and adamantly denied having been charged when first approached by the Sun.
“No to answer your question,” Ford said.
“I’m dead serious. When I say no, I mean never. No question, Now I’m getting offended. No means no.”
And just like that, for the first time in the Toronto Mayoral Campaign, Rob Ford is caught red handed telling a bold-faced lie.
According to The Toronto Sun, Ford was busted for marijuana possession in Florida in 1999. Now, for most Torontonians, pot is not a big deal; but Ford doesn’t represent most Torontonians. His base – a mostly older, mostly conservative, mostly suburban crowd – are not the most progressive bunch. They likely still see pot as being akin to cocaine or ecstasy, so Ford initially reacted by claiming the story was bullshit. When pressed further, Ford backpeddled.
“I completely forgot about it until you mentioned it right now,” he said.
“You think I’m BSing you but I’m not. It completely, totally slipped my mind.”
Uh huh…right. For a candidate who has built a reputation of being a straight-shooter; an honest, grass roots politician in a sea of corruptness, this will not bode well for the 10 year councilor. His apparent memory lapse is great fodder for the long term memory effects on pot users, but any voter with half a brain can see that Ford was desperate and told a lie hoping it would all blow over. He was caught off guard and made a split second decision, one that has cost him some credibility.
However, as we have just seen with the immigration comments Ford uttered at the last mayoral debate, his opponents do not seem to have the political scruples to take advantage of the gaffes supplied by the front-runner. Rocco Rossi, George Smitherman and Joe Pantalone have allowed Ford to turn this election into a cakewalk, unable to score any political points and allowing Ford to coast on his undying message of lower taxes and decreased spending. While Ford will try and spin this into a simple case of admitting his arrest while ignoring his initial dishonesty, the other main candidates will desperately try to portray Ford as a man who is showing us his true colours. But, as we have already seen, none of them have the ability to sell it.
This is the main storyline of the 2010 election in Toronto: One guy speaks like your average Joe and leaves himself open for attack, and the rest of them can’t shoot straight. While Torontonians crave a discussion about actual issues and accountability, this election keeps feeding us distractions and follies. Hell, even the scandals are boring. It would be nice to have a race where opponents were formidable enough and authentic enough to give us a show when opportunity arises, but sadly this is just not the case.
If only Sarah Thomson’s real name was Mary Jane. Stay tuned…