Archived columns and blog posts by Matt Elliott

If there's no Rob Ford arrest, what do his opponents do next?

By: Metro Published on Fri Apr 04 2014

With media reports of squabbling police officers and a missing piece of key evidence, it’s looking increasingly likely that Mayor Rob Ford won’t be charged with anything.

After a year dominated by Ford’s crack story and the subsequent criminal investigation, it’s possible that Toronto won’t get its big Hollywood ending. Things might just sort of peter out.

There are two ways to look at this. On a purely political level, I’m not sure it matters all that much. Even if he had been led from city hall in handcuffs, the narrative Ford has built around his campaign would have remained the same. He’d still be defiant, claim his innocence and continue to talk up the idea that he’s the victim of a massive conspiracy sparked by his failed attempt to cut the police budget by 10 per cent a couple of years ago.

For Torontonians who believe that story, or somehow believe the whole story is irrelevant when stacked up against the notion that Ford saved them $60 a year, I doubt there’s anything that can change their mind. An arrest would either be an irrelevance or simply more evidence of conspiracy.

But of course there’s more than just the political angle to consider. For those of us who’d like to think our criminal justice system should be, you know, fair and equitable, it’s impossible to shake the notion that this story suggestions the law works differently for people with power and privilege. That maybe if you you’re a certain gender, a certain race, and have a certain amount of money, you can pretty much get away with anything.

So what happens now? For Ford opponents, I’d suggest three things.

1) Beat him. Despite trumped-up fears that the mayor is some sort of campaign mastermind, he’s a very beatable incumbent with pretty lousy poll numbers. So pick one of of the 47 candidates running against him, volunteer and help them win. There will be no better end to the Ford saga than for the people to decisively reject the guy who has always said he has a mandate from those same people.

3) Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Regardless of where the Ford story ends up, we need to constantly demand better from law enforcement and the justice system. There are far too many examples of troubling cases where privilege has triumphed over justice, and power has let guilty men walk. We can do better.

This post was originally published at on 2014-04-04T00:00:00.000Z

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Matt Elliott

City Hall watcher, columnist and policy wonk in Toronto.
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