Taking aim at Rob Ford tonight seems like shooting fish in a barrel.
As I write, he is being abandoned in Shakespearean proportions, not only by those who never liked him, but also by his closest supporters.
My own tragic liaison with our ill-fated Mayor was early in his leadership when I was invited to the Mayor’s “Arts Awards” lunch.
I was really excited to attend this event. We shaggy, ill-kempt artsy types were seated at round tables with spiffy business people, with whom we could hobnob and cook up meaningful partnerships. I thought it was truly a stroke of genius on the part of the Mayor’s office, to pair up artists with successful business people, bringing together communities of two distinct stripes: creative people who need help to bring their passionate artistic dreams to life, and enlightened, clear-thinking business people who realize what an amazing benefit the arts community is to Toronto: one group wanting to make cool stuff happen; the other group seeing the obvious economic opportunity.
I’ve often fancied there might be a mathematical proof for this; an equation that represents the economic benefit that one little concert gives to a community. My own organization, Pax Christi Chorale will employ dozens of professional musicians for our upcoming concert. We will purchase musical scores, pay rent to our concert venue, print programmes, throw a reception. I myself will probably buy a new outfit for the concert and get my hair done before the show – you’d be surprised how much economic activity that generates! I’ll take concert guests out to dinner, buy copious amounts of coffee on the go, take cabs to rehearsals. 80 singers in the choir will spend as much as I do, and the 600 people who attend will buy a ticket, pay for municipal parking and have a treat after the show. We’re now talking about many thousands of dollars flowing through local business, providing employment and enriching the life of our city, which is good for everybody.
So then, ambitious artistic endeavour = economic activity. The mathematical equation must be quite straight forward, whatever it is.
Anyway, what happened on that memorable day, at the Mayor’s Arts Award lunch? It was weird.
We were seated at fancy tables with a lovely lunch in very distinguished company, anticipating the Mayor’s speech to the 200 eager guests. The MC took the podium and announced that unfortunately, Mayor Ford could not be here today because he had been called away on important business.
What business could be more important than stimulating Toronto’s vibrant arts economy, we all wondered? There must be a substantial crisis that would pull him away from this powerful opportunity to garner positive press coverage and get business done.
Turned out that our Mayor didn’t show up to that lunch date because he was coaching football.
So, let’s assess. Rob has taken a bit of crack, been hammered in public, grabbed some ass, betrayed his colleagues, deceived his family.
And he stood us up for lunch, and that’s just not cool.