The Rob Ford scandal is an international media sensation, which for good or bad, put Toronto at the forefront of the global market. But serious questions are being asked regarding the Toronto mayor’s likelihood of remaining in office, and whether the Ontario government should force Ford’s removal from his post.
Fresh allegations broke in the media yesterday regarding a closed door meeting arranged by Ford with his staff members. According to sources close to the mayor’s inner circle, Ford told senior staff members he was unconcerned about the alleged iPhone video that shows him smoking crack because he knows where the video is located. The meeting occurred within days after the scandal first hit the press, and the mayor described the information as credible because it came from “our contacts.”
In light of the ongoing scandal, five senior members of Ford’s staff were either dismissed from their posts, allegedly for questioning the mayor’s integrity, or chose to quit citing “principles.” Despite the scandal appearing as fodder for late-night comedy and making headlines in news stations around the world, Ford maintains his innocence. He claims he is unable to comment on the video because it “does not exist,” and that everything is “business as usual” at city hall, despite the vacancies in his office.
The latest staff departures prompted Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to issue a statement that was much more forceful than any of her previous remarks. Over the last few weeks, the Premier simply encouraged the mayor to get help, and deal with his personal issues. However, in light of ongoing departures at city hall, Wynne insisted that the Ontario government has the authority to remove the mayor from his post, if it appears he can no longer continue his job.
“The mayor needs to deal with his personal issues, but we will take action if and when it’s appropriate. There are actions that we can take and actions that we cannot.”
Torontonians, and Canadians at large, are questioning how much longer Ford can remain as mayor of North America’s fourth largest city without completely confirming or denying his personal problems. Online casinos and bookmakers could even allow gamblers who are willing to bet on Ford’s future, to make estimated guesses on where the story goes from here.