Saturday May 25, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday May 25, 2013

A week of monumental scandal

The most shocking thing about the latest Rob Ford scandal is that it’s not shocking.

Though he is clearly unsuited for the job, by now Torontonians have grown almost blasé about the mayor. He and his regime are as disastrous as they are embarrassing. Another day, another outrage. And while Ford turns Toronto upside down, the news from Ottawa, if anything, is even more mind-boggling. Last week we learned that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s now-departed chief of staff, Nigel Wright, casually paid off Senator Mike Duffy’s “inappropriate” expenses, all $90,000 worth. Then Harper and his acolytes tried to pass off this unbelievable ethical lapse as an effort to save Canadian taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

Ford can be excused to some extent because he seemingly simply doesn’t know any better. Whether or not he smokes crack cocaine, he lacks the ability to function as mayor of Canada’s largest city.

Harper, Wright and Duffy, on the other hand, are not stupid men. Their actions may be dumb, but they are smart enough to know better. Except that their time in power has made them lazy. But they, too, have been done in by the belief they can do as they please and that Canadians either don’t care or can be easily hoodwinked.

Through it all we remain so polite, deferential and glad to be of use, that a good many Torontonians lined up to denounce the media that did them the favour of revealing the mayor for what he is, an overgrown man-child who does what he wants, the city be damned.

Harper, by contrast, knows what he’s doing. He knows his actions are reckless, but to him ethics are a nicety leaders can’t afford. (Source: Toronto Star)