Return To Pretender

There was a point of time during yesterday’s council meeting, in the afternoon, hours after the Morning of Apologies, one by Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti and two from Mayor Ford, both full of heaping disrespect for their colleagues and almost any sentient being listening in at the time, when the sensation definitely came upon me that it wasn’t my life I was leading. I’d been cast as an extra in a movie, some sort of Charlie Kaufman-The Truman Show mashup. Reality was under constant assault and I couldn’t just shake my head and clear a way back to normal.

“Recapping the past 10 minutes,” Paisley Rae tweeted. “McConnell confrontation. Dancing to One Love. Dale Drops a Nope. Integrity Commish presentation. Mammo shows.”

If I wrote it up in a script or tried to submit it as a short piece of fiction, it would be rightly rejected as too much, too outrageous, too unbelievable. A little over the top? Try, a whole lot over the top.

The sequence basically went as follows. For realz.

In between, I don’t know, either a vote or an item, one of the mayor’s young staffers approached her boss on the floor of the chambers. A protocol no no, no staff on council chambers floor, although Mayor Ford, 13 years into being on city council, insists it’s all good. It isn’t. Councillor Pam McConnell rose to ask the speaker to send the staffer back to her seat. Some back and forth ensues, even long after the staffer sat back down.

The tone rises above where it actually should be, through a combination of the mayor’s bull-headed insistence he was right and, I think, Councillor McConnell’s exasperation. Watching her, she seems tired and a little beaten down. Earlier in the day, she’d responded to the mayor catcalls during a vote about how she was in favour of tearing down a heritage building. She tried to explain what the vote was actually about but the mayor just tuned her out and repeated that Councillor McConnell was in favour of tearing down a heritage building.

Shaking her head, she turned to Councillor Jaye Robinson who sits beside her and said, Why do I even bother trying to answer him?

Why indeed, Councillor McConnell.

Anyway, when things settled down, the councillor walked over to where the mayor’s staff sat to apologize for putting the one staffer on the spot. Well, doesn’t Mayor Ford see this and comes bellowing out of his chair, telling Councillor McConnell to get away from his staff. He’s right up in her face, accusing the councillor of trying to intimidate his staff and advising her to walk back to her seat.

Now recollect, this is the very same councillor, tiny, older councillor who the mayor accidentally bowled over during one of the frays at last month’s council meeting. You remember, right?

Evidently, Mayor Ford doesn’t because there he is again, pushing menacingly into her space, yelling at her to back off. You want intimidation, old lady? I’ll show you intimidation.

Moments after Councillor McConnell returns to her seat, it’s the Jimmy something something jazz trio from Scarborough with a couple songs to lighten the council mood and instill a little holiday cheer! And wouldn’t you know it, first up is Bob Marley’s One Love. Let’s get together, it’ll be alright…

As we all know and have seen by now, Mayor Ford was immediately up on his feet, dancing like he’s never danced before or, at least, since Sunday when he was dancing in church. As if nothing unseemly had just transpired on council floor. One Love. One Love. Let’s get together, it’ll be alright…

It was sometime during the dance number that Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star let it be known that the mayor’s earlier apology for suggesting in an interview with Conrad Black that Mr. Dale was a pedophile was not going to cut it and that the libel suit against Mayor Ford was going to proceed.

“I asked Mayor Ford to 1) retract all of his false claims about my conduct,” Dale wrote, “and 2) issue an unreserved, abject, complete apology. His statement today didn’t come close. I’m proceeding with a defamation lawsuit.

And the mayor continued to dance.

On his own political grave? To dance his cares away? Because he’s a maniac, maniac on the floor?

And then, before you knew it, council’s on to a presentation from the Integrity Commissioner, all about incumbent campaign Dos and Don’ts. The mayor mopped his brow. Councillor Mammoliti reappeared to ask if it was alright with the Integrity Commissioner for him to hand out to his colleagues some panettone somebody had given to him. Hee, hee, hee. That’s funny because, well, yeah, panettone is the least of Councillor Mammoliti’s problems currently.

How many times can you watch such a travesty and say, You can’t make this shit up? You want more? During the lunch break before all this transpired, Mayor Ford’s lawyer advising him about the libel action, appeared at City Hall and told the media that his client had lost 26 pounds in 5 weeks and then he left toting two bags of the new batch of Mayor Ford bobbleheads.

The complete disconnect with reality sets in because you can’t believe that adults would really and truly act like this. There’s nothing about their behaviour that seems reasonable at this point. Nothing has prepared us for such an assault on civility, decency and personal responsibility.

The mayor has clearly given up governing, his clown prince sidekick Mammoliti has joined him in doing little more than pissing on the carpet of council chambers. I’d argue that councillor-brother Doug was never interested in governing as much as he was ruling.

All it is to them right now is theatre. Not even political theatre as it’s utterly devoid of anything political. It’s purely personal. We’re witnessing three charlatans pretending that everybody else is the problem. Play acting.

And we’re caught up in their weird psychodrama, tragicomedy. This can’t be real, can it? Sadly it is but, fortunately, it’s only for a limited run.

serlingly submitted by Cityslikr