Former mayor of Toronto Rob Ford died this morning at age 46, after a prolonged battle with Cancer.
The controversial politician will be remembered for many things – among them, allegedly smoking crack on video, public displays of intoxication, and a jaw dropping statement at a press conference that he had “more than enough to eat at home.”
But Ford’s personal life and his political life were very different things, making for what Toronto deputy mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong says will be a complex legacy.
LISTEN: Toronto deputy mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong on Rob Ford’s political legacy
Minnan-Wong says there’s no doubt Ford was a polarizing figure.
“You didn’t waffle on the guy, you either liked him or you didn’t like him.” “He had an incredibly loyal following. If you liked Rob Ford, there was nothing stopping your… he could do anything and you’d still love him.”
He says part of that loyalty came from the way Ford related to the public.
“That was part of the magic of rob ford. One of the things you have to understand about Rob Ford, is he never ever forgot who elected him.”
Minnan-Wong says that meant doing things like personally answering phone calls from constituents, and actually going out into the city to see peoples problems and try to fix them.
He says when Ford did things like that, or stood up in council to call out wasteful spending, people got the impression he hadn’t forgotten about them.
“For many people who had lost faith in government, this guy gave them faith because he never forgot what they stood for. And these were the people who believed city hall never listened to them.”
Minnan-Wong says he knows the Ford will be remembered for many things – both the bad and the good.
But he says among the latter will be a lasting change in the tone at city hall when it comes to accountability and transparency.