Monday, 12 May 2014

The Rob and Doug Ford show descends to new levels of despair. Is there any rehab for this new revelation?

Rob and Doug Ford share equally in the public relations
nightmare they have created for The City of Toronto.

Rob Ford: A public and media relations debacle.

by Tom Thorne

Ho hum. In this morning's Globe and Mail there is a story about Rob Ford yet again. This time the Globe and Mail alleges that while the mayor and his brother Doug served as members of Toronto City Council they helped a client of their private business, Deco Labels and Tags, get a tax break from city officials.

This type of story combined with Rob Ford's various escapades with public drunkenness and alleged use of illegal drugs would have killed the political prospects of most politicians.

Rob Ford’s blatantness and penchant for saying he is sorry over and over seems to set him up for some kind of sympathy if not with fellow politicians certainly with some segments of his "Ford Nation" constituency. 

Just what sticks in the minds of the "Ford Nation" seems to be a kind of mindless approval of a big guy on a constant tear just being good old Rob. Well now that Rob Ford is in rehab there may be some hope that what emerges from this process will be a more reasonable and level headed Rob Ford.

While Rob Ford is in rehab his name remains on the ballot as a candidate for mayor of Toronto this fall. While he undergoes treatment for his addictions we are still faced with the prospect that he will emerge for the election a newly made man. A kind of Ford phoenix rising from his ashes of excess.

That may suit the "Ford Nation" people who will see him as refreshed and ready to take on the big spenders again at Toronto City Hall. His return to active politics has however wider implications for the good name of Toronto.

Rob Ford and his antics has sullied the name of Toronto not only here but in the United States and around the world. The fact that he couldn't be removed from office at the height of his goofy antics makes Toronto and Ontario look bad and ineffective.

The optics of Rob Ford re-elected this fall is a way for Toronto to fall further as a world class city. Rob Ford's buffoonery on US network television earlier this year was a net loss for Toronto. There is no way that any amount of public and media relations work can rebuild any kind of reputation for Toronto if Rob Ford is returned as mayor.

If his brother Doug Ford, now a Toronto city councillor, threw his hat into the mayoral ring rather than Rob Ford that might be marginally better. However Doug Ford is also stained with Rob's antics because Doug is his constant apologizer and protector. From a public and media relations point of view both Ford brothers are tainted and carry too much negative baggage.

Doug Ford would carry the baggage of his brother he he made an attempt to run for mayor instead of Rob.  Now with new allegations this morning the Fords look like political dynamite with a lit fuse.

What ever happens with the Fords the City of Toronto loses. It is a public and media relations lose-lose proposition. They can only bluff and duck allegations  about what has happened before Rob Ford entered rehab. Now with this new concern today bluff and bravado won’t do it anymore.

Toronto needs a Ford free civic election this fall if there is any hope of recouping the damage of the last year or so. No amount of Ford bluster or promises can do anything positive for the City of Toronto. The Ford brothers should return to the label business which would go a long way to help Toronto recover its reputation as a world class city.

© Copyright 2014, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved.

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