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Enough Ford, already

29 November 2013 No Comment

I’m sick of hearing about Rob Ford.
I realize that’s an unpopular position – he’s basically the Lindsay Lohan of Canada, and people love them some celebrity gossip. I also realize that I’m a member of the media and I should be relishing this opportunity for an easy story idea, or to continue to pit Hamilton against Toronto in the battle of superiority.
Here’s why I’m sick of the media coverage of Ford’s shenanigans: he makes Canada look terrible. No offense to our neighbours to the south, but they don’t know a damned thing about Canada.
It’s unfortunate, but the lion doesn’t worry about what’s going on with the gazelle, unless the gazelle is in its way. Such is the case with America: they’re the lion, and we’re the lowly little gazelle, trying not to get noticed. The media coverage of Ford has turned Canada into the land of the free and the home of the crack smokers. We already have enough trouble with the stereotypes around Canadians that we don’t need any more fuel on the fire.
I was watching Jeopardy! the other day and (Canadian-born!) Alex Trebek offered an answer that essentially said “the Prime Minister of Canada” and included a photo. After an awkward few seconds of silence, the buzzer sounded. Not one of the contestants knew to ask “Who is Stephen Harper?”
Had he alluded to Ford’s recent shenanigans, I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that there would have been an instant reply.
A personal anecdote: I was in the Chicago area this past spring, and went to trivia night with a friend and a group of her friends. As soon as I was introduced to the group as “Lauren from Canada” I immediately got “Oh, yer Canadian, eh? What’s that all a-boot?” There are few ways to make me angry faster than mocking my accent.
When the trivia game began, everyone was horribly offended when I couldn’t come up with a president’s name whose initials spelled a word (the answer was Hiram Ulysses Grant, or HUG, if you care) but when I challenged them to name ONE fact about Canada, they said “Oh, we don’t care about Canada.”
Why is it my job to know everything about America, but you can’t be bothered to know one thing about Canada? I realize it’s the most powerful country in the world, but that’s no excuse for ignorance.
So here’s my plea: stop fueling the Ford media fire. He’s just a man – albeit one who clearly has made some poor life choices – but he’s only human, and humans make mistakes. I’m not saying I’m a fan, but he has done some great things for Toronto, and it’s time to start giving Canada a better reputation.

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