When Toronto mayor Rob Ford skipped Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade last June, he was excoriated by the event’s organizers and the city’s media elites, humiliated by marchers bearing his effigy, and denounced by speakers.
Nice way to make someone feel welcome, eh?
Yet here they are inviting him back again for the 2012 parade. And like last year he’s waffling, at least publicly.
Last year, Ford dissociated himself from the 10-day long festivities by not attending any of the events, and he skipped the parade itself by offering the excuse of a long-held family tradition of spending Canada Day weekend at the family cottage in Muskoka. But he sent city councillor Frances Nunziata in his place and had her raise the Pride flag.
With the media pressure already ramping up more than two months ahead of the June 22nd parade, he’s going to need a lot of support again this year.
In December, Ford told CP24: “Everything depends on my schedule . . . if I can make it, I’ll make it.”
And he’s getting pressure even from his closest allies. Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday told the Toronto Star today that the mayor should go. “I don’t know what fits his schedule but he should do something. I’ll go with him if he wants,” said Holyday. “Not going just gives people a chance to criticize him, and it is a big public event.”
Obviously there would be a whole lot of negative PR yet again. But just because the two previous mayors opted to attend, does that make it a duty of his office?
In fact, if we expect our elected officials to stand for public decency, then really we should expect him not to attend.
Though organizers have tried to paint the parade as “family-friendly,” Toronto Pride is infamous for its public displays of full nudity, sado-masochistic attire, and public sex acts.
Really, rather than have him lend credence to the lewd displays by his presence, ought we not instead demand that he have the Toronto Police enforce our laws against public nudity?
Mayor Rob Ford
Office of the Mayor
Toronto City Hall, 2nd Floor
100 Queen St. West
Toronto ON M5H 2N2
Phone: 416-397-FORD (3673)