It is so very enlightening to read Jesse Kline’s fresh analysis of the current Ford scandal. It’s not like people struggling with addiction have ever been known to let it impact their professional lives. They have the uncanny ability to compartmentalize the chaos that substance abuse can bring in a way that ensures that it will only destroy their personal lives. Go to any Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings and most folks in that room will tell you that all was peachy keen in their professional lives as their personal lives fell apart. None of them ever made a bad decision, influenced by their addiction, which cost their employers money. None of them ever lost their job or family. Heck, most don’t know why they gave up the substance that came to be so important to them. That’s why most meetings end with the group going to a bar to get a few drinks, or to drug pad to get high, for old times’ sake. Does that sounds about right Mr. Kline? I’ll abandon my sarcasm here, but the fact remains that Mr. Kline’s commentary promotes a socially irresponsible position.
Let us ignore the accusations surrounding crack cocaine at this time, because without the physical video, we are mostly left with little more than hearsay. Kline tries to make the case for functioning alcoholics being left to their own means. My formative years were marked by so-called functioning alcoholics in my family. One would be hard pressed to argue that Mayor Ford has displayed the attributes of a functioning alcoholic in the past year. This mayor’s actions at public galas, from groping a political opponent to being belligerent at a veterans’ gala, are not the signs of someone who is functioning. The truth is that most so-called functioning alcoholics only manage to do so for a time and ultimately most falter greatly, and then their world collapses around them if they refuse to get help . Even John A. MacDonald faltered. Where would he have been without the sobering influence of George-Étienne Cartier by his side in government? The fact is that a public servant needs the public’s trust to be able to do their work effectively.
I wonder if Jesse Kline would be so gracious to other trusted members of society that attempted address their work related stress by engaging in substance abuse on their own time. What if Rob Ford was: a teacher; an airline pilot, a police officer: or a surgeon: would Mr. Kline remain so dismissive? If the impact substance abuse on their work is unacceptable than why should it not be so for an elected public servant? After all, the Mayor is responsible for setting social policy that engineers social outcomes for millions of Torontonians. The fact is Mr. Ford needs to get treatment, for his and all Torontonians sake. This is a message even his loyal staff have tried to get him to understand, yet Mr. Kline seems set in his belief that this is a personal matter that shouldn’t impact the mayor’s ability to cut Mr. Kline’s taxes.
Mr. Kline’s would be better served, as would his readers, if he took a step back from his myopic taxpayer paradigm and tried to see this city, this province, this country and this planet through the eyes of a citizen. After all, there’s a reason western democracies allow citizens, and not solely taxpayers, the right to vote. That is because the most fundamental of responsibilities of citizenship is to look beyond one’s narrow interests and make choices that benefit the general welfare and progress of society for the benefit of all of their fellow citizens. One of whom is Mayor Ford. It would seem, however, that Mr. Kline doesn’t give a hoot about Mr. Ford’s welfare, as long as he delivers tax cuts. For shame Mr. Kline, for shame! Please see my earlier post on this matter for more details.
Who says Canadian politics are uninteresting? In the past week, we’ve witnessed two Tory senators resign from caucus over allegations of improper expense claims, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff resigning as part of the same scandal and — juiciest of all — allegations that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was caught on video smoking crack.
But from my perspective as a (Toronto) taxpayer, the only real scandals are the ones that involve politicians misspending my money. What Rob Ford does on his own time certainly makes for titillating reading, but it doesn’t affect his constituents.
Ford is not the first politician to be accused of insobriety. Many of Canada’s Founding Fathers likely were drunk out of their minds when producing this nation’s legislative architecture. As historian Mark Bourrie wrote in the Post recently, “Confederation itself had floated through on waves of free booze.” In the U.K., Winston Churchill won the…
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