Toronto, it is time we confront some truths.
Both the 42% of Torontonians supporting Rob Ford, as well as those who don’t support him but remain unjustifiably paralyzed are partly responsible for the erosion of our democracy. Our system relies on citizens to remain vigilant of our freedoms and values. Toronto – what happened to demanding accountability, honesty, and integrity? Why do we continue delegating our power to someone whose core values are despicable? The man has lied, cheated, committed crimes, he has no honour.
Rob Ford said himself – if he was faced with a Mayor who behaved the same way he has, Rob would be trying to get him out of office.
I think we can all agree that this Mayor has broken the law. He admitted to smoking crack cocaine, drinking and driving, and is acting against the well being of the city. So Toronto, what have you done about it?
The StopRob campaign was born out of the inability of the city council and the police to deal with Mr. Ford. We heard that he could not be impeached, that elections were almost one year away, that the province did not want to step in and that the police did not charge him. Many of us were not satisfied with the status quo and we found a solution. A class action against the mayor would make it clear that the people of Toronto rejected his lies as well as the cheap tax-saving rhetoric that easily collapsed in the face of scrutiny – we wanted accountability.
StopRob was an opportunity for the people to use the law to impose a check on this erratic executive. With this mandate, StopRob easily found financial support and nurtured the enthusiasm of volunteers who saw this as an elegant solution to the problem – a clean fix.
We were certain you would jump at the opportunity to take down the man who brought shame to this great city of ours. You had to! It was a win-win. All that was required was to speak up and say enough is enough.
But we were wrong. Hundreds instead of thousands lent their support, with such low representation of the people; we could not claim to speak on behalf of Toronto. Even though we are confident that the class action would have succeeded from a legal standpoint we failed as a social movement.
Apathy and unjustified fear spoke louder then rectitude and justice.
Now, it is time to take our heads out of the snow and take a sober look at the facts – a man who delights in this media circus, who abuses drugs and alcohol, who lies, who uses crude language, who makes a joke of the public service is unfit to lead our city. We need to stand up against injustice, fear, cowardice and cheap political half-truths.
We must do it for our kids and lead by example. Write letters, make art, take it to streets… It doesn’t matter what it is, but do something! This is not the democratic bargain we made.
Fight the indifference that lingers inside and come together as one, Toronto. Do it because you love this city, because you want to set the right example, or simply because you are tired of being treated like a fool.
José Bento Rodrigues
Download the latest version of the Draft Statement of Claim (PDF).