In a province where Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence saw her community placed under third-party management that a federal court later found unjustified, we often spend whole weeks staring at the sweaty, ranting profile of Rob Ford and wondering what it would take for a corrupt and inebriated white guy to get the keys to his city taken away from him. Here are 5 cities in which mayors have tried their damnedest to answer that…
Toronto – Rob Ford
There isn’t just one thing to pin on Ford, mayor of the largest city in Canada and the fourth largest in all of North America. Even before he was allegedly smoking crack, before he wandered hammered around Taste of the Danforth (for which no sane Danforth resident could really fault him) yelling “Let’s go party!”, he was using public money to pimp his football cause, handing out business-card printing contracts to his own family business, claiming he didn’t know the meaning of “conflict of interest” despite having been filmed in 2010 declaring a conflict of interest in city council… and he’s not even finished his first term. Our bets on highlights of his upcoming re-election campaign include allegations of cannibalism and soon-to-be-discovered infrared video of him driving a skidoo across the Beaches in mid-summer allegedly high on mescaline.
Montreal – Gérard Tremblay/Michael Applebaum
In three short years, Rob Ford also stole the thunder from Montreal, theretofore the most visibly corrupt city in the country. Since last fall, Quebec’s Charbonneau Commission has been interviewing a cavalcade of immunity-granted insiders describing just how corrupt and mob-connected the whole city has always been. So there was absolutely no surprise when mayor Gérard Tremblay was forced to resign in November after construction contractor Lino Zambito claimed the mayor’s party got a 3% kickback on all contracts. There was even less surprise, however, when his appointed successor, Michael Applebaum, was arrested in June and charged with 14 counts of fraud, conspiracy, breach of trust, and municipal corruption.
Laval – Gilles Vaillancourt/ Alexandre Duplessis
Laval is basically an extended suburb of Montreal, so it might as well be a part of the construction-contract corruption as well, right? Sure, thought Gilles Vaillancourt, elected mayor in 1989, whose reign lasted until last October, when Quebec’s Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit (they have one of those) raided his house, office, and safety deposit boxes as part of the awesomely named Operation Hammer. He resigned for “health reasons” soon after, and was replaced by young buck Alexandre Duplessis, who immediately proved his virility by soliciting the services of two prostitutes to his cottage, only to turn them away when one of them recognized him as mayor. He stepped down in late June and Laval was put under trusteeship, which it richly deserved (unlike Attawapiskat).
Huntington, Quebec – Stephane Gendron
Look, we may not think it’s noble or honest, but we appreciate the lure of lots of money. Sex? That’s usually more fun than the last four innings of a Jays game. But what kind of vicious, despicable savage abuses his mayoralty to hurt cats? Stephane Gendron, mayor of the exceedingly minor Quebec community Huntington, that’s whom. Though he’s distinguished himself through his 10-year tenure by calling Israelis “modern-day Nazis” and has been accused of criminal and sexual harassment, the true measure of Gendron’s nature was revealed this summer when he bragged to some radio shock-jock that he loved deliberately running over cats with his car. We assume he’s only still in office because it’s Quebec.
London, Ontario – Joe Fontana
Like Gendron, the mayor of London, Ontario is still in office, in spite of being charged last October with fraud, forgery, and breach of trust, all relating to allegations he used public money to pay for his son’s wedding. (Surely a cause for civic celebration?) A month later, he offered to step down, but through some sort of political skulduggery we don’t entirely understand, the city council managed to keep him on. Slow clap, London. You done good.