Last night, at the last minute, I showed up at a Toronto restaurant, and guess who was in attendance? Our former mayor, the incomparable Rob Ford.
He was having a bite to eat with a friend of mine.
I approached Rob’s table and my friend motioned for me to sit down.
Under the circumstances, Rob looked great. He was smiling. He was funny. He was mellow.
He had lost some weight and you could just tell he was getting back into fighting political trim.
Rob recalled that for a certain period during his mayoralty, I had written a series of articles in the Huffington Post explaining the political phenomenon that was, and still is, “Ford Nation.”
I’d explained why Rob Ford was that rare politician and public figure, one who inspired devotion and loyalty from a truly diverse multicultural population.
Ford Nation consists of men and women from their teens to their 90s. Cutting across all races, religions and ethnicities and socio-economic groups. Predominantly, working class and middle income South Asians, Asians, blacks, Filipinos, Persians, Russians, Vietnamese, Italians, Greeks, Muslims and of course, Jewish folks.
(And, yeah, a smattering of angry old white men and women.)
Mostly, from the GTA heartland: Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, York and East York, but not exclusively so.
I reminded Rob that then and now, he still had the best political instincts in Toronto, if not in all of Canada.
Rob Ford would have stopped that stupid Olympics gravy train in its tracks. And not dithered back and forth, hemming and hawing, like the current mayor John Tory.
Remember Ford’s familiar rallying cries?
“Subways, subway, subways”
“The war on the car”
“Stop the gravy train”
“Respect the taxpayer”
These are not empty political slogans, but reflect a philosophy that still resonates with a large number of GTA residents, both in the suburbs and in downtown Toronto.
And still drives the agenda in Toronto City Hall.
Rob Ford and John Tory both campaigned on saving millions of dollars of taxpayer money by privatizing garbage services east of Yonge Street.
By now, Rob Ford, if he was mayor, would have honored that campaign promise to the Toronto people. To date, Mayor Tory, as I predicted, has caved to the self-entitled unions and the highly conflicted Toronto downtown elitist leftist councilors.
Tory has failed to make the tough fiscal choices that Mayor Ford made during the very successful early years of his mayoralty.
Every day, Ford is getting stronger and stronger.
Last night, Rob Ford showed signs that he still has that fire in his belly.
In two more years, the complacent Tory and his downtown elitist supporters, better watch their back.
Because I think Tory is going to have quite a fight on his hands.
FORD MORE YEARS!