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Will Rob Ford attend Pride this year?

Posted by Derek Flack / April 16, 2012

Rob Ford Gay Pride TorontoIt's that time of year again — when we collectively wait to see whether or not Rob Ford will participate in Toronto's annual Pride festivities. The Toronto Star reports that an official invitation has been dispatched by Pride Toronto for 2012, which will put the matter of Ford's attendance back on the municipal affairs radar.

That his prospective attendance remains dubious continues to strike me as ludicrous — it should be a given that the Mayor of Toronto participates and endorses an event of this magnitude — but based on his steadfast refusal to participate last year, it's legitimate to wonder if he'll have a change of heart this time around.

My hunch is that Ford will do something Pride-related this year — even if he doesn't make the main event. Although the mayor can be as bull-headed a politician as I've ever followed, I suspect that the widespread disappointment from last year and the pressure that's sure to come this year, will ultimately sway him. After all, the "I-have-a-very-busy-schedule-excuse" isn't likely to mollify anyone this time around, if it ever did.

Forgetting the real reason that Ford should be there (i.e. to support Toronto's gay community), it also makes sense for purely political reasons. If city council's voting record over the last half-year or so has taught us anything, it's that the city has grown tired of the mayor's stubbornness. As such, Ford's support of Pride would be symbolic in more ways than one.

Will Rob Ford take the opportunity to live up to his putative position as leader of this city and attend one of its most important events in 2012? Place your bets.


Photo by BruceK in the blogTO Flickr pool

Discussion

84 Comments

Mike / April 16, 2012 at 11:14 am
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It's easy to say that common sense would dictate that he will after last year's fiasco, but let's not put it past him to simply repeat last year's behaviour.

Simply put, it's outright embarrassing for the mayor of this city not to participate.
Vandalay Industries / April 16, 2012 at 11:28 am
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I remember when Mel Lastman raised such a fuss about whether or not to attend when he was mayor. Something like 'the hardest decision of his life, blah blah.." Well, he came, he rode a fire truck, and we all sprayed him with waterguns in the sunshine. I can't say he didn't make any more infamous gaffes after that, but it did go a long way to reduce the polarizing effect he seemed to have (remember when it was just embarrassing slip-ups that made us loathe the mayor?).

Small concessions make big differences.

I don't doubt the current Mayor McCheese would be heckled and hollered at if he decides to attend or even march, but it would be tiny olive branch extended to a community he's made a point of offending. I think we'd all be the better for it.
Chris replying to a comment from Mike / April 16, 2012 at 11:28 am
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He's stubborn and bull-headed in a way I've never seen before in politics. It's astonishing, truly. He takes a position, often ill-informed and based on nothign more than his gut and maybe a phone call or two to his office, and sticks to it, come hell or high water. This man's reaction to defeat is to essentially double-down on the position he took in the first place. I can't think of a single issue in which he has allowed himself to be willingly persuaded to change, amend, soften or otherwise modify the position he initially took, even when his own allies are trying to persuade him, which is why he keeps getting defeated at council.

All that is to say is that I doubt the past year will have any impact on whether he attends Pride events or not. The fact is, Pride events make him uncomfortable, for whatever reason, and he's not mature enough to realize that as Mayor, its important for him to attend events such as Pride or the many other cultural events that take place in the City, whether he's comfortable or not.

In his mind "Ford Nation" doesn't care if he goes or not, and "Ford Nation" is the only opinion he cares about. As Mayor he needs to demonstrate that he represents everyone in the City, not just folks he likes, and he hasn't yet figured that out.

I'd love to be wrong about this, but nothing in his behaviour so far, suggests that I will be.
cosmosuave / April 16, 2012 at 11:30 am
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ROFO will be too busy either coaching football or going to the family cottage...
Rob / April 16, 2012 at 11:31 am
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Sorry, family cottage that weekend. Already got the kegs rented. We do this every year. We did a family vote and the voters have spoken.
Your Neighbour Stu replying to a comment from Rob / April 16, 2012 at 11:38 am
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I can't wait to bang your wife again.
Jildren / April 16, 2012 at 11:40 am
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Can you guys add a who fucking cares option? We all agree he should. I wish they would move it back to the weekend before the long weekend so I could go to a cottage that weekend and not miss pride but i get that it is more about accommodating visitors coming in for a long weekend. As far as Ford goes he is a lame duck who has made it clear from the beginning that he is the us vs them mayor and doesn't really want to be involved in downtown festivities. his not being there isn't a loss.
TheRealJohnson / April 16, 2012 at 11:44 am
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Why should Mayor Ford have to change his plans to accommodate Pride? Why can't Pride accommodate the mayor's plans?

I know, let's hold all the Pride festivities up at RoFo's cottage this year! That way everyone wins!
jake / April 16, 2012 at 11:45 am
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Who cares.
He doesn't want to go, and they dont want him there anyways.
Seems pretty amicable to me.
geg / April 16, 2012 at 11:49 am
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please.. Rob's pride is much dearer to him than Toronto's
vampchick21 / April 16, 2012 at 11:52 am
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The real question is will Mamo film the Dyke Parade again?
EricM / April 16, 2012 at 11:55 am
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He obviously wasn't making it up when at the mayoral debate on diversity he told the crowd that: 'Diversity isn't a priority' for him. In some ways I feel bad for him. He is a sad, lonely and ignorant human being. I'm not going to call him a bigot, but in this day and age it isn't good enough to just avoid one of the biggest events in the city because you kind of find the whole 'gay' thing a bit icky.
lol / April 16, 2012 at 11:58 am
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I'm sure he will as he does every year. the question is will mammocreepy attempt to share his video with the media again this year.
EFO / April 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm
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This is a politician that does't lie during his campaign (not intentionally anyways) and then people get mad at him when he DOESN'T change after being voted in? Who ever really expected this man to go to something like Pride?

I don't care either way, but if the gays can be proud about being gay, why can't ROFO be proud about not wanting to attend their party? I'd be more upset if I was gay and he DID come to pride. Everyone knows if he shows it's because he is being forced to be there.
Marc replying to a comment from EFO / April 16, 2012 at 12:10 pm
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You suck it up, go to the flag raising during the week and then you run away to the cottage when they're naked on the streets.

It's not hard to go to one event. The gays are a warm people. They'll welcome him and clap for him.
EricM replying to a comment from EFO / April 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm
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Actually, no. After the election he became the Mayor of all Toronto. If Deco labels got the contract for all Pride related printing would they take it? Of course, it would be a lucrative contract. This is a multi million dollar event for the city and he should be there. It's his job.
chrisoftoronto / April 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm
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I doubt he will. It would be solely a PR move and his vote base is not too taken with Pride, and among attendees, it's pretty well established they're not voting for him anyways.

Perhaps Ford reacts on gut instinct, but his handlers are a bit more astute. As he himself has admitted, he's already campaigning and that means preening to the people that will actually vote for him. Staying home panders to them.

Pity the city is being governed based on an election almost 3 years away, but that's the reality these days.
Mike replying to a comment from EricM / April 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm
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That's just it. Rob Ford is entitled to his own personal opinions on gay culture and that's fine, but he is the current Mayor of Toronto. His personal feelings need to be check at the door in a situation like this.

The Mayor of Toronto, regardless of who he or she is or where he or she stands politically, needs to attend an event of this magnitude. For the amount of money generated in revenue for this city and the number of tourists, many of them first time visitors, that it attracts, it just looks so awful on the city for its mayor to be invisible.
Love Chub / April 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm
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I'd love to see RoFo in a leather thong.
What He Said replying to a comment from Mike / April 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm
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To call Ford invisible is being charitable -- he's pointedly NOT attending.
Alex / April 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm
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As much as I dislike Ford, I must say it is his choice and has it has right to be respected. I never went and never will go to the parade because it is my choice, I dislike it. I would not want anyone to tell me to go.
Ron / April 16, 2012 at 12:49 pm
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I vote for Who cares.

but having said that, I wonder if he'll pay special attention to the Bathouse article and maybe stop in there as part of the parade. It's a nice family thing that I'm sure he wants to be associated with, and was pointed out time and time again in the comments yesterday.. it's 'gay culture', whatever that it.
EFO replying to a comment from EricM / April 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm
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How does him being there or not change how much money it brings into the city? His job is to run the city, not to go to every event that brings money in.
Sinners / April 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm
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I wish he'd ban this event entirely. Nothing but a weekend of sin and fornication. Shame on any of you for supporting this.
boywonder / April 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm
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I hope he doesn't. It would totally spoil the party.
Alex / April 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm
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He never supported gay community strongly, so you did not have to vote for him. As many people, as many opinions. I would say it is dangerous to bring kids (you said family event) to such parade as it would mislead a confuse a child in future life.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Alex / April 16, 2012 at 01:04 pm
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You aren't Mayor of Toronto. This is a MAJOR event in the city, not some localized little celebration.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Sinners / April 16, 2012 at 01:05 pm
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Shame on you in general.
Pk replying to a comment from Alex / April 16, 2012 at 01:22 pm
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ignorant.
Sinners replying to a comment from vampchick21 / April 16, 2012 at 01:23 pm
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My apologies for having morals. I'll let you get back to your satanic promotion of this "event" now.
Alex / April 16, 2012 at 01:25 pm
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vampchick21,

Ford does not have to support it as a Mayor, and I will vote for him again if he does not. I don't quite agree with harshness of Sinners comments, but he is right in general. It is hard to explain a 6 year old why bunch of naked man run around in public. I respect choice of gay people, but their lifestyle should in no way influence the rest of the community, specially little kids who are just too young to see and understand some things.
Jacob / April 16, 2012 at 01:31 pm
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Rob Ford only cares about "Ford Nation", which is the absolute truth.

If you didn't vote for him, you are "the enemy". He's unwavering on that. He doesn't want to make new friends and gain new supporters, he only cares about those who voted him in in the first place.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Alex / April 16, 2012 at 01:34 pm
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The very fact that you admit that you voted for him makes me want to just plain walk away from further discussion with you, on top of the rest of your post. So you know what? To save myself the headache that happens from repeatedly banging my head against my desk, I'm not going to continue any discussion with you. Call it a win for your position if you want, doesn't mean anything over here in reality land.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Sinners / April 16, 2012 at 01:35 pm
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I hope you're just a troll.
milo / April 16, 2012 at 01:38 pm
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I hope he drowns at the cottage.
EricM replying to a comment from EFO / April 16, 2012 at 01:39 pm
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That is just it. It is his job to run the city. Part of that is being there during the major events if as nothing else and institutional ambassador of goodwill. By not being there he simply becomes an institutionalized form of intolerance. That isn't good enough. It's worth once again noting that he didn't attend a single event last year. Not one. Miss the parade, fine. There is a week of events leading up to it however. It becomes something more then. I honestly never thought I would see a day where Mel looks enlightened...
dougfordsblowupdoll / April 16, 2012 at 01:41 pm
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I am trying to convince Doug to carry me in the parade. But he keeps telling me that he wants to spend the weekend with me at the cottage.
simba390 replying to a comment from jake / April 16, 2012 at 02:19 pm
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Actually, Jake, I think I'd like my mayor to be there. Even, Rob Ford. Everyone is not only welcome to participate, but everyone should be welcomed. Especially those amongst us who have hesitations about the queer community. As much as I dislike Pride for it's commercialism, reinforcement of stereotypes and its slight inconvenience on the city's infrastrucutre, Pride is meant to be a place where nay-sayers can come peacefully and ask the queer community about their lives, about the lives of those around Canada, and in the world.

Rob Ford has a choice. I would encourage him and others like him to come to Pride and meet people who may want to be mayor one day too, queer or straight.
But ... / April 16, 2012 at 02:40 pm
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... of course Ford has no problem with making himself visible at Caribana, where scantily clad revellers act out sexually in public (and occasionally shoot each other) - but they're mostly heterosexual so that makes it OK in Ford's thimble sized brain
steve replying to a comment from Alex / April 16, 2012 at 02:50 pm
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But your not the Mayor
steve replying to a comment from EFO / April 16, 2012 at 02:51 pm
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Yes it is
steve replying to a comment from Alex / April 16, 2012 at 02:52 pm
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You need to get your facts right before moralizing anything.
sue / April 16, 2012 at 03:01 pm
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If he goes to anything, my money is on the flag raising. And that's it.
iSkyscraper / April 16, 2012 at 03:07 pm
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You have to step back for a moment and look at the data. I don't care if it is Pride or Oktoberfest or the Annual Gathering of Left Handed Barbers... if there is an event, of any nature, that EVERY OTHER FREAKING MAYOR IN NORTH AMERICA goes to, then ergo Rob Ford should also attend if he in any way wants to be seen as doing the bare minimum as a Mayor.

Go ahead and google search away, but I did a little checking and I'm pretty sure that every other active big-city mayor on the continent has gone to some sort of pride event at some point in their term. The only one I could definitively find who did not was Oklahoma City's mayor, and for a number of reasons that one doesn't count.

There is simply no way for anyone to make a case for the Mayor not doing something for Pride.

Now, do I think he will go to the parade? No way. But I'm sure he will do some lower-key event. The few allies he has left are applying pressure, and even the Sun will leave him if he doesn't get his act together this year. Ford is a dimwitted, stubborn and probably homophobic man but even he can't be so dumb as to try to pull a disappearing act two years in a row.
Donald / April 16, 2012 at 03:24 pm
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unless proven otherwise he let it be known that weekend is an entire Ford family cottage summer tradition. Last year was his first as mayor during pride week. He might change this year, although I doubt it too.

Some are expressing the idea "By not being there he simply becomes an institutionalized form of intolerance." This categorical assertion is the same as GWBush / Vic Toews "You're either with us or you're with the enemy / child pornographers". Generally deemed ridiculous, causing much uproar over the whole sale slandering and denial of nuanced positions.

Generally I agree that with an event as large as pride week is in Toronto the mayor should participate. But it's a very tough, specious argument to slander and convict him if his family tradition thingy is accurate. The sanctity of the family is not to be trivialized regardless of the stripe of that family.
Franco / April 16, 2012 at 03:32 pm
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I don't think he will but I also don't care enough. He's shown his true character over and over again.
Mike replying to a comment from Donald / April 16, 2012 at 03:32 pm
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That's all well and good and I won't dispute your point about the sanctity of the family, but Ford was still in Toronto for the majority of Pride Week last year and chose not to participate. He was out of town for the parade itself, but still in the city for several other events and elected not to attend.
bearcub / April 16, 2012 at 03:39 pm
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I'm not sure how 'family tradition' trumps what's ostensibly a part of his job description but I'd rather not see him shirtless, sweating like a pig on the hottest day of the year.

Tripper / April 16, 2012 at 03:44 pm
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Look, we all know that this family cottage weekend excuse was all just nonsense and a convenient way for him to get out of attending something that obviously makes him uncomfortable.

But whatever. Pride is a huge public event. One of the biggest (if not THE biggest) annual event that we have. Rob Ford is not doing his job as mayor of this city if he again refuses to participate in one single event related to Pride.

He CHOSE to run for public office and to accept all of the benefits and sacrifices that go along with being the mayor of the largest city in Canada. I'm sorry (actually, I'm not) but that means he has to give up some of his personal cottage time and devote himself unreservedly to the people of this city. We pay him. He needs to show up and DO HIS JOB.

well / April 16, 2012 at 03:45 pm
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you guys do know that most people in the burbs (etobicoke, north york, scarboro) don't really care about pride week. many feel that is something that needs to be shut down, permanently. So rob fords attitude really does reflect many in the outer ridings.

i know many people who usually vote liberal but refused to vote for smitherman because he was gay and could never support him.
joel replying to a comment from Sinners / April 16, 2012 at 03:49 pm
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I would take that plank out of your eye first before you judge someone else.
foo / April 16, 2012 at 04:14 pm
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Isn't Rob Ford gay?
Tripper replying to a comment from well / April 16, 2012 at 04:15 pm
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Well by all means let's do everything that the good, progressive, forward-thinking folks in the suburbs want. That's working out so well for everyone.
o_________o replying to a comment from Tripper / April 16, 2012 at 04:42 pm
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Maybe we can get Naheed Nenshi out here to be his stand-in...
Bill / April 16, 2012 at 04:48 pm
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I don't know? Is he going to the Santa Claus Parade? WHO GIVES A CRAP IF HE GOES OR NOT!!! It's a goofy, very goofy parade. Get over it!
Gline replying to a comment from vampchick21 / April 16, 2012 at 04:50 pm
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They probably are.
Tripper replying to a comment from Bill / April 16, 2012 at 04:59 pm
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"Is he going to the Santa Claus Parade?"

Yes. He was in the 2011 parade throwing out candy.

Ford seems very selective about which part of his job he's willing to do, and which Torontonians he'll support.
Alex / April 16, 2012 at 05:53 pm
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It's simple. Ford does not like the whole pride parade idea, he does not go. Period. Why do you want him there so much in a first place? I would not want anyone who does not respect the cause at my event.
Mark / April 16, 2012 at 06:01 pm
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It ain't the mayor's job to make you feel better about your lifestyle by showing up and acting like he supports it. If you need someone's approval for your choices perhaps you need to re-assess your life.
Afx186 / April 16, 2012 at 06:51 pm
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Pride will continue with or without Rob Ford, and it will never be shut down despite the wishes of many commenters. Pride is fun and celebratory, but is ultimately political in nature. As long as we have a vibrant queer community in the city, the festival will continue regardless of endorsements by lone public figures.
Santorum for Mayor / April 16, 2012 at 07:50 pm
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I wish we had someone like Rick Santorum for mayor to put an end to all this "gay" nonsense.
Dougie Fourdoor replying to a comment from steve / April 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm
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No, "You're"!
belvedere / April 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm
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wasn't rob ford the guest contributor/author of the steamworks article?
John / April 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm
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If Rob comes in chaps and a jockstrap - I'm sure we can find him a group of bears to hang with.
IMHO... as a gay man - I could care less who shows up to the parade from government. It's a corporate sponsored event now. Pride is much ado about nothing these days except a big neighborhood party. Leave the politics out of it. It's the gay Caribbana without the guns.
Nige / April 16, 2012 at 11:48 pm
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I believe that everything comes down to money and gay money is just as good as straight money. Don't discriminate against money Rob.
hypersapiens / April 17, 2012 at 12:50 am
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I remember getting supersoakered by Lastman the year he rode the firetruck. And high-fiving a very wet David Miller another year. I didn't vote for either of those mayors but by participating in the Pride Parade they gained some respect in my books. Looked like they were having a good time there too.

If RoFo has any sort of political smarts (...dun dun dun) he will show up this year with any family members that are game and march with a group like PFLAG simply as a show of support.

...ah who am I kidding. Break out the Rob Ford masks again.
Bill Smith / April 17, 2012 at 01:27 am
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I think he should sell all his old Gold to these guys ( http://www.premiercashforgold.ca )and raise some cash for the city!
David / April 17, 2012 at 07:57 am
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If he goes you guys will say it's not his place to overshadow the festivities after last year. If he doesn't go you will tear him apart for it again.

So what's the point of even asking? You guys will criticize him no matter what he does.
Marcus replying to a comment from David / April 17, 2012 at 08:29 am
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Give it a rest David no one will be criticizing him for going...
vampchick21 replying to a comment from David / April 17, 2012 at 08:46 am
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You are so very, very wrong.
j-rock / April 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm
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The idea that he is simply making a choice as an average citizen is patently ridiculous. Beyond the functional and administrative duties required by the office of mayor, there is also a significant symbolic aspect to the job. This is something that every other mayor of Toronto in the past 20 years, including Mel Lastman, another fellow conservative, was able to grasp. The message he's sending is pretty clear, and while it's not one I support, Rob Ford isn't particularly well-known for changing his mind.

I don't really get why he even bothered running for Mayor as he really doesn't seem to like Toronto very much. At this point, the Pride organizers are just winding him up as he made his stance pretty clear last year. Besides, why would they even want someone there who is so clearly uncomfortable?

Rob Ford is a disgrace, but I would prefer it if we could just not have this become an annual screaming match. He's not going, and even if he did, it wouldn't be for the right reasons. Let's just hope that whoever wins the 2014 election, regardless of their political affiliation, will be able to make time for one of the city's largest and most lucrative cultural events.

18 months ago, I would have laughed if someone had told me that the next Mayor would make me miss Mel "Badboy" Lastman.
Doug replying to a comment from John / April 17, 2012 at 01:04 pm
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This bear says no thanks to that. Even if Rob Ford grows a beard in time.
Michelle / April 17, 2012 at 01:33 pm
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Ford Nation doesn't care about Pride. That said, Ford Nation is getting smaller and smaller...
Doug replying to a comment from Sinners / April 17, 2012 at 03:45 pm
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Now with 10% more sin and fornication for your judgmental pleasure!
Jakson / April 17, 2012 at 04:53 pm
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Was Pride Toronto stupid enough to invite him?
If he goes, I won't! It's supposed to be Pride, why should we invite the man that brings shame on our city?
dougfordsblowupdoll / April 17, 2012 at 05:14 pm
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silly people

there are no gay people in ford nation, we are 100% gay free, just ask dougie.
Torono / April 17, 2012 at 11:56 pm
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You all voted for this idiot(or at least, you all have the chance to vote, you're fault, stop complaining
duder / April 18, 2012 at 09:25 am
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I've worked in political communications for a long time. What I don't grasp is this - gay people hate taxes / government waste as much as the next person. By actually attending Pride (even just a token display of support, such as attending the flag raising), RoFo could possibly gain votes and support from a voting bloc which would never have voted for him. With his support plummeting like a stone, wouldn't it make political sense for him to just smile and wave?

This, in my mind, makes his non-appearance all the more ridiculous - the fact that he's just a useless, stubborn, bullheaded idiot that he can't even play the role of a politician. Toronto should throw this disgrace out of office.
Bill Gibbons / April 19, 2012 at 05:05 pm
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Who cares if Ford doesn't want to attend Pride? GBLTs now have full rights in Canada. The parade is not about "rights" anymore. It's just an annual freak show that has little relevance for the majority of Torontonians.

Ford should be free do to whatever he wants in his spare time, without this tiny minority group of self-absorbed narcissists spitting poison at him in the name of tolerance.
Mike / April 19, 2012 at 08:25 pm
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Why are gay people allowed to parade in the nude without getting a fine? No one else can do this!
The LC replying to a comment from Mike / April 19, 2012 at 09:11 pm
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Who told you that?
Mike / April 20, 2012 at 07:22 am
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Just go to the Parade and you will see men in the nude walking around. No tickets are given as these people are exempt from decency laws.

keven replying to a comment from Mike / April 20, 2012 at 08:27 am
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I guess you forgot about the nude bike parade? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEbr1aoCmgU
Pro-Ford Comment Trolls / April 20, 2012 at 10:42 am
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UH OH now our boss the Toronto SUN is even saying Ford is being a idiot!!!! now Jay, Mark, and the rest of us dont know WHAT to think!!!!

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/04/19/ford-should-attend-pride-event

"Don’t let your own pride and intransigence get in the way of doing what’s right."

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