Before the spectacle of Donald Trump running for president of the United States, there was the spectacle of Rob Ford gunning for the mayorship of Toronto. On Tuesday, the colorful former mayor died at age 46 from cancer and today, the tabloid that covered his every move has all sorts of features about Ford’s life and legacy.
The centerpiece, at least from a media watcher’s point of view, is an 18-minute video compilation of conversations with reporters who covered the Ford beat. “Ford every week would have some new outrage,” recalls one journalist of the councilman’s successful campaign for broader political office. Sound familiar? (The video is definitely worth bookmarking and watching, when you have the time.)
Then there’s the perspective of former NHL hockey coach Don Cherry, a longtime Canadian national network sports commentator and, in a sense, the Great White North’s closest equivalent to Charles Barkley:
Cherry later took to Twitter to remember his pal and slam the media and “left-wing kooks” who he said targeted Ford during his time in office.
“I don’t know, maybe it’s me, when I hear these media types go on and on and on about what a great guy Rob Ford was now that he’s dead. I wonder, where were these people when Rob needed them when the lefties were piling on him. Rob’s whole life was for helping people.”
“Sure he had his faults, don’t we all? No public servant was hounded through life like Rob. Reporters spying over his fence, police with helicopters following him, people in TV popping up to accost him as he entered his house, the list goes on.”
According to Sun columnist Joel Warmington, current Toronto Mayor John Tory is offering Ford’s family the option of having Ford lie in repose at City Hall, so that residents can formally pay their respects. Warmington filed today’s column after appearing on a local Toronto radio show:
“I think it should be an all out state funeral,” said former political candidate and journalist Karlene Nation on The John Oakley Show on AM640 this morning, where I was invited in to co-host with John on this special day. “I think the city should spend the money and do this for him and for that family.”
Oakley and I looked at each other because we understood the problem that would cause. Just before that call he and I were talking about some sort of public event in Ford’s memory but were cognizant of the fact that there is no way penny-pinching Ford would have wanted too much public money spent on such an event.
Given the fact that Ford starred in Gawker’s other major illicit video drama, it’s a little odd to have him pass just as a Florida jury added $25 million in punitive damages to the Hulk Hogan verdict. RIP.