The biggest news out of Toronto this week is not the annual Pride Week celebrations itself but rather that Rob Ford the newly elected Mayor of Toronto will be at his cottage and not attending Pride Week. Mr. Ford and his family have a longstanding tradition of heading to the cottage for Canada Day weekend. Its a tradition heading back to his childhood, one in which he obviously feels strongly about. This decision has cause a major uprising in regards to his planned absence. He is getting hammered by the major news outlets, criticized as homophobic and is a leading topic of controversy.
There are two sides to this situation.
On one hand, the mayor is a representative of the people of Toronto. Pride Week is a celebration of the gay community, which is part of this city. The mayor’s job is all about shaking hands, photo ops at events and being involved in the pulse of the city. Many are arguing that regardless of his plans, he should be making an appearance over the ten day event. He is the mayor and should be supportive of all citizens regardless of his position on the gay community.
On the other hand, Mr. Ford has every right to take vacation time. He highly values family and has decided to not break his family tradition regardless of public pressure. Can you really fault a man for wanting to be with his family? He does not have to be at every event as that would be nearly impossible. He does have the right to choose the events he will attend.
There is a good chance Mr. Ford did not plan to avoid Pride Week. He is however in a position of public office and will be criticized regardless of his intent. This is really a loose, loose situation. Even if he does make an appearance which he is considering, it will be positioned as if he was forced by the media. Or if he makes an appearance but not an appearance in the parade he will be again criticized. Like I said, I don’t see a win/win here.
The man has the right to choose, just as participants in the parade have been given the right to celebrate their lifestyle. Mr. Ford has no obligation to attend the event even as the mayor. There is no written rule that the mayor must attend Pride Week. I find it fascinating that so much attention has been given to this story. Its really overshadowing Pride Week, the attention has all been on Mr. Ford and him being at his cottage.
Even though I did not vote for you Mr. Ford, don’t back down. Stay at your cottage and fill your over-sized belly with gravy and fried chicken. – Okay I had to put one joke in there.