I posted this on Facebook, but in order to share it a bit more widely, I’m posting it here. No, it’s not about yoga. No, it’s not going to mean much to folks outside of Toronto. Still, I wanted to share it.
Sigh. Okay, here goes. I grew up in Rexdale, the Mayor’s hood. When I was a teenager and homeless, he defeated a bill to have a group home for kids put in a nice part of Etobicoke because there were, as he said, “No homeless people in Etobicoke.” When I ended up in a group home later on, it was near Dundas West station, far, far away from my school, friends and job. I needed to re-find an entire life because Mr. Ford and his buddies didn’t want a group home in their back yard.
I grew up in a blue collar family. I did not have a millionaire dad who owned his own business (like his Fordship does.) I had a janitor dad and we lived, five of us, on that salary. We did not do drugs. We did not skip work. We did not expect forgiveness when we messed up, just because we asked for it. That’s the blue collar ethos.
Despite being homeless, living in a group home and pretty much scraping the underbelly of Toronto life, I have NEVER done crack. Never. Not in a drunken stupor. Not accidently at a party. It’s not something you do by accident.
By doing what he does, in the backyard of my old hood, he supports a drug culture that ruins neighbourhoods and destroys lives. People actually die because of this. This drug culture made living in Rexdale a dangerous and harsh experience. People he knew are dead. Actually dead. Not funny, ha ha. Not funny at all.
I am allowed to not like this guy. I’m allowed to be stunned when people who work hard, live clean and try to be good people defend him. Don’t pretend this okay. He is not a good person. His behavior is ultimately damaging to Toronto, to his own home neighbourhood and to people trying to build a good life from a rough start. He is not a blue collar hero. He’s a broken baby-man-child who needs a big frickin’ time out.