Mayor Rob Ford has made the news around the world for the last few weeks. The cicumferentially-challenged chief officer of Toronto has become famous for being caught abusing crack with known felons, then lying about it, then getting caught, then sharing vulgar thoughts on his marital life with the press. With each passing day the city's embarrassment grows as Ford continues to refuse to step aside and go gently into that good night. The left, which was outraged by his even winning the election a couple of years ago is now nearly apopleptic at his insistence on remaining in his position. What's the point of gleeful jubilation if the target refuses to quietly accept his downfall?
But after all the articles have been written and all the pundits have had their say there is something more to consider. Let's remind ourselves of the former premier of the province of Ontario, one Dalton McGuinty. During his 10 year tenure McGuinty expanded the size and cost of government to record levels. During his first term at premier he broke almost every single pledge he made during the election campaign. He treated the citizens of Ontario the way one might treat a developmentally challenged child by constantly introducing new safety regulations that gave the impression that Ontarians are clutzy morons that have to be protected by the nanny state lest a sense of personal initiative lead to some form of harm.
Worst of all are the financial scandals he left behind. Just to name a few: one billion dollars blown at eHealthOntario, the government's initiative to increase electronic medical practice. Tens of millions of dollars spent with little to no oversight at the provincial air ambulance agency. Another 1.2 billion dollars to move two gas plants because not moving them might have cost him a couple of ridings in the last election. When news of that scandal hit the papers he shut down the provincial parliament, then retired and announced that he had nothing to answer for because he was no longer premier.
In short, he was patronizing, incompetent and corrupt. But who's getting the front page treatment?
Now, I'm not excusing Rob Ford's behaviour. As a now-former supporter of his I also wish he'd just go away and leave the spotlight to someone lest demonstrably vile. He's made a mockery of the mayor's office, which is quite an achievement for an office previously inhabited by Mel Lastman. He's disappointed and disillusioned Ford Nation, his rapid cadre of supporters. He's a complete letdown.
But when he came to work he worked hard. His foibles didn't affect his citizens. He wrestled with costs and always tried to let the beset interests of Toronto guide his agenda. He might have been a stoned and drunk boor after work but while on duty he was all business.
Dalton McGuinty, on the other hand, probably doesn't have a single personal vice to his name. He probably drinks in extreme moderation, if at all and is probably a loving father and husband who would rather die than embarrass his loved ones. And he's also a corrupt politician and a liar with a disdain for democracy. If Ontario is a financially precarious situation, something that affects almost 10 million people it's definitely his fault but there's no sign he's prepared to take an iota of responsibility.
So who's really the worse person here?