One of the many pleasures of being married to a Canadian is that nobody can make snap judgements about them. Here in the UK, where you can be summed up, judged and damned after uttering a single sentence, it is a blessing to have a wife that people have to listen to and talk to before making up their mind about her.
If people do have an opinion on Canadians then it tends to be, at the very worst, that they're a little dull and polite. Canadians are rarely controversial or newsworthy... until the recent exploits of Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto. Or, as he is now introduced – "the crack-smoking mayor of Toronto".
This man has single-handedly put Canada on the news map. If crack smoking wasn't enough, there are allegations of cocaine, marijuana, alcoholism, hookers, death threats... it makes Boris look like a novice. When challenged about allegedly making sexual advances to an employee, he was charmingly accused of saying that he wanted to "eat her pussy", Ford declared in a press conference that he had "plenty enough to eat at home". And he wasn't talking food, although, judging by the size of him, he clearly finds time in his busy schedule to eat a moose a day.
I was aware of Ford before this scandal – I'd hear his weekly radio show that he co-hosts with his brother. I'd listen to it in the car on our Canadian summer holidays and marvel that this oaf was a) Canadian and b) in office. My wife's hard-left, earth mother of a sister would have a seizure as she listened to this man-monster and I used to quietly chuckle at how much he wound up most Canadians. That, however, was when he was just an unpleasant jock irritant but now he's out of control and it can only be a matter of time before he's in the city's Eaton Centre shopping arcade brandishing an AK-47 and holding the staff and patrons of a Dunkin' Donuts hostage.
Unbelievably, until he does something like that he can't be forced to resign. He has to be arrested for something before that happens. As it is, the Toronto city council has voted by 39 votes to three to strip him of many of his powers (two dissenters were Ford and his brother).
Ford thrives in Toronto politics like a killer whale among minnows. The latest news is that Charlie Sheen has thrown his support behind the gargantuan drug Dyson. I imagine he will eventually have to step down and I presume a book, maybe a rap duet with Sheen and his own chain of donut stores await? Canada has certainly moved away from its traditional liberal heart with the loathsome neo-con Stephen Harper as Prime Minister but at least he had the decency to boycott the Sri Lankan Commonwealth heads of government meeting.
On the plus side, Ford's exploits make my wife appear a little more "out there" to strangers and that can't be a bad thing... Eh?
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