Saturday, June 1, 2013

Protesters rally to demand Toronto Mayor Rob Ford resign

TORONTO - Several hundred people gathered outside Toronto City Hall Saturday afternoon to call on Mayor Rob Ford to resign.

They used slogans, placards and chalk messages scribbled on the concrete of Nathan Phillips Square to make their point and some just yelled.

But the demonstration, which was announced on a Facebook page that suggested over 4,000 planned to attend, lacked expected numbers.

There were no official speakers and nary an organizer could be found for comment. Two protestors who did speak were left to scream their messages while standing atop a garbage bin because there were no microphones.

John Veillette, 18, bellowed that Ford has “done nothing but dishonour this city with scandal,” and that “we have the right to tell Ford: you’re f---ing fired!”

When it was pointed out to Veillette that an actual video of the mayor doing drugs has yet to surface, he remained adamant Ford must vamoose.

“You’re right, we don’t have proof but a lot of us are hear for other reasons. It’s about the ... crappy leadership he has shown,” said Veillette, citing Ford’s lack of comment on the alleged video as an example of a bad municipal helmsman.

Since reports surfaced mid-May of a video that allegedly shows Ford smoking crack, city hall has been continually embroiled in controversy — it’s been fodder for U.S. late night talk show hosts, American  website Gawker raised $200,000 to buy the alleged video from drug dealers (they’ve disappeared), five of Ford’s senior staffers have resigned; one was fired, and two arrests have been made in connection with the murder of a Anthony Smith, who posed with Ford in a photo published along with the news story of the video.

Despite all that, a Forum Research poll released last week showed the mayor’s approval rating is still around 42% — near the 44% approval rating he had earlier this month and the 43% approval rating the mayor commanded last month.

And Toronto residents appear to be split on whether they believe the mayor when he denied that he uses crack cocaine.

And an Ipsos Reid poll conducted for CTV and CP24 shows that 49% of Toronto residents believe Ford’s denial, while 51% do not.

“Honestly, people want to see him go,” said anti-Ford demonstrator Antonin Monqueau, a familiar Occupy Toronto organizer who goes by the pseudonym Antonin Smith. “The bigger question is, what is (Ford) doing posing with a gentleman involved in a gun crime?”

Maria Majda, a 62-year-old Ford supporter, dared ride her scooter through the crowd. She ended up in a heated exchange with an anti-Ford demonstrator after insisting Ford has “done a very good job for this city,” and that it is hypocritical to criticize him for a possible addiction when the Ontario Liberals have wasted hundreds of millions on cancelled gas plants.

“Then you’re in the wrong place!” the demonstrator responded.
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