Off The Record: Ford and drugs versus Harper and gravy

“We have brought in tough laws and we never support the use or purchase of drugs by people in politics or in public positions”

“We have brought in tough laws and we never support the use or purchase of drugs by people in politics or in public positions,” Canada’s Prime Minister said in regards to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who admitted to smoking crack-cocaine on Tuesday, November 5th.

But these words ring hollow — because Mr. Ford cannot be charged for having smoked crack under any existing Canadian law.

Not to say the Harper Government doesn’t know how to pick its battles. It would be poor strategy for the Tory’s to endorse Mr. Ford’s stupor. OK’ing the wanton use of heavy drugs wouldn’t sit well with the typical Con supporters — retirees, high-income earners, farmers. These types of people generally don’t indulge in illicit drug use.

No politician wants to be in the pickle that either Mr. Harper or Mr. Ford are finding themselves in, but both the PM and the mayor are probably happy they aren’t in the other guy’s shoes.

Amid Mr. Harper’s own scandal involving misuse of public funds and shady backdoor brokering among his closest party members, he’s managed to stay clean from drugs, which should be of no surprise to anybody.

But had he been the politician who hit the crack pipe, the Conservative’s tough-on-crime schtick would become a bigger joke than Mayor Ford’s weight.

As it stands, the Tories still have the Canadian economy to boast about (even if our tax dollars pay for politicians to cover the mortgage on their cottage, take four plane rides for one trip to Ottawa and pay $16 for a glass of orange juice).

As for Rob Ford, even though the mayor made clear his opposition to illegal drugs before he was caught doing them, the crack episode wasn’t the first time Mr. Ford found himself in hot water at work because of something that happened on the weekend. But because he campaigned on “ending the gravy train” before Ontario’s 2010 municipal elections and his staunch cost-cutting attitude at city hall has followed through, if it were Mr. Ford whose chief of staff and party members were pinching taxpayers followed by a botched smother up, Ford Nation would dismantle faster than Rob Ford could schedule his next apology conference.

Until the mayor’s and PM’s next election in 12 and 18 months respectively, it’s too early to say whether their scandals are survivable.

But neither of them are in Kansas yet and, until they’re unemployed, it’s a lot of fun to watch a politician go down in flames.

Dan Walton is a reporter for The Valley Echo and can be reached at

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