The video that, three years ago, caused Toronto City Hall to descend into chaos. The one that forced throngs of reporters, desperate for comment, to set up camp outside the mayor’s office. The one that prompted a confused gaggle of international media to attend city council meetings. The one that so many were desperate to see.
The Rob Ford crack video.
And I don’t care.
I watched it yesterday, soon after its release following the conclusion of a court case against the late mayor’s driver, Alexander “Sandro” Lisi, and didn’t feel vindication or satisfaction.
Instead, I felt nothing.
The video provides no closure and no new information. It doesn’t tell us anything we did not already know. Unless you were one of the unhinged few who bought into the notion that this was always some kind of media-driven anti-Ford conspiracy, there’s little to gain from seeing it.
In fact, about the only thing the existence of this artifact from a strange time does do is risk distracting from the pressing issues facing our city now.
Because while, sure, Toronto City Hall is no longer beset by lurid headlines and chaotic scenes, there are still so many critical issues in front of us.
There’s Mayor John Tory’s push to cut city budgets by 2.6 per cent across the board, a move that’s raised the alarm with TTC CEO Andy Byford and riders frustrated with poor service.
There’s Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat’s bold proposal to build a 21-acre park above the downtown rail corridor. It’s a mega-project that could define a legacy, but also comes with huge political and financial risk.
There’s the ongoing attempt to reform the Toronto Police, both with their budget and with the way they interact with marginalized communities.
And there’s the transformation of public housing. There’s the implementation of the city’s anti-poverty strategy. There’s the push to invest in the city’s tree canopy, both to fight climate change and to stop random tree branches from falling on people. There’s the need for true accessibility, affordable child care and a funded road safety plan that makes it so pedestrians stop getting run over by jerks in cars.
It’s a long list. And it keeps getting longer.
But together these kinds of issues represent Toronto’s future. Rob Ford, again in the spotlight as we gawk at a sad cellphone video, represents our past. I do not want to look back.
This post was originally published at http://www.metronews.ca/views/toronto/torys-toronto-matt-elliott/2016/08/11/rob-ford-crack-video-toronto-city-hall.html on 2016-08-11T00:00:00.000Z