The saga of Rob Ford and his (alleged) crack video just keeps getting more twisted. I really have to hand it to the press, with the Globe, Sun and CBC now joining the fray, this might be the most investigative reporting I’ve ever seen from the Canadian press. Since news broke about homicide investigators interviewing his staff regarding the infamous video’s whereabouts, it’s becoming harder and harder to claim that this video doesn’t exist and increasingly tempting to link it to a trail of bodies. How or if Ford was directly involved still seems unclear, as do most aspects of this bizarre tale, but in the midst of it all a consensus is growing: this man is neither competent nor qualified to hold office, and has long overstayed his welcome.

The homicide investigations have been the subject of some very conflicted reports, but it now appears that Ford’s aid and old friend David Price came to former chief of staff Mark Towhey asking “hypothetically” what they’d do if he knew where the video was being held (allegedly the 17th floor of an Etobicoke appartment building). He also suggested that the video might have been a part of why Anthony Smith (pictured above with Ford) was gunned down in front of a nightclub last March. Towhey, shocked, stated that they should go to the police, which he soon did before resigning his post days later.

Around the same time, some say after police interviewed Towhey, another man was shot in the leg on the 17th floor of the housing complex where reporters met to view the video.

Other names that have come up include Muhammad Khattak, shot but not killed alongside Anthony Smith in March, now claimed to be one of the blurred faces pictured with Ford and Smith. There’s also Kwado (Kojo) Mensah, coached by Ford, who was shot dead a month later. For both cases, alleged shooters are in custody.

For over a year now Toronto has been terrorized by a string of gangland-style shootings involving poor back youths. Ford took a hard-line policy, asserting that he was “no hug-a-thug mayor”, but now that he’s been linked to at least three shootings and four victims, it’s hard to avoid suspecting him of being more than just a bigot. A picture is starting to emerge in which he may have been, at best, unwittingly responsible and at worst, directly involved in several deaths and possibly more.

What scares me most about this situation is the fact that I have to mention people like Kojo Mensah at all. As far as I know, there’s nothing tying him to Ford or crack other than football. Unfortunately, even if he had nothing to do with this, there’s no guarantee that Ford or the video didn’t play a role in his death. This footage has become the most sought-after commodity in gangland Toronto, and that puts a price on the head (and cell phone) of every young black male he knows.

As for the video, rumours abound. With the “crackstarter” campaign now officially over $200 000 (and counting), and Gawker and others admitting they hadn’t heard back from the original seller. Word is that there are now at least two or three copies with one outside the city (New York?). If this is true, then we’ll likely see it soon.

It’s hard to know what to make of all this. Over the last few days I’ve read conflicting accounts on just about every single detail related to this case. Was Anthony Smith killed following an altercation inside the club (that’s not what the club says). Did the police interview happen before or after the shooting at the Etobicoke housing complex? What really lead his chief of staff to resign last week?

I’m sure this will only get a lot more interesting over the next few days, and equally sure that the entire truth won’t ever come out. Whatever the truth is, it’s becoming very clear that something nefarious is going on and that Rob Ford is sitting right in the middle of it. Whether that means he once got so blisteringly drunk that he found himself on camera in a crack house, or that he’s a major figure in Toronto’s drug scene, it paints a pretty fucking shameful picture of the Mayor and his office.

For his entire life, from his privileged upbringing to the many benefits of his office and countless “second chances” for his (virtually weekly) scandals so far, Ford has enjoyed power and privilege beyond what most of us could ever dream of. By losing his position, he risks only being brought down to the same wretched level as the rest of us. He and his supporters may feign victimization, again, but it’s pretty clear that the real victims are now lying dead from gunshot wounds and enjoying no similar “compassionate” outcry.

It’s time for his Fordship to go. Complain, if you wish, that this is taking attention away from serious issues, but what serious issues does Toronto face in which “getting rid of Rob Ford” wouldn’t represent a vast and immediate improvement? This man holds executive power over two and a half million people, the largest city in Canada and fifth largest on the continent. That he’s allowed to continue, risking only scorn from council, after becoming a worldwide embarrassment in this way only goes to show what a joke Toronto’s government has become. In all the attention, “Rob Ford” has briefly become a more popular search term on google than “Barack Obama” or “Lady Gaga”. This man, his continued reign and ongoing scandal constitute an insult to every single person in the region, as if to say “we don’t trust you to run your own lives, but we’ll trust just about any idiot to run them for you”.

Like the numerous other scandals shaking the Canadian political establishment at the moment, this exposes the predictable results of a political system which refuses to hold its most powerful officials responsible for anything they do. How many of us could expect to keep our jobs if we found ourselves in the middle of these kinds of accusations? How many face worse if a drug test shows they smoked a single Saturday-night joint weeks before? For Olympians like Michael Phelps or Ross Rebagliati a single picture or test result can turn into a nightmare. For young black males like Trayvon Martin, it’s used as a justification for shooting them dead in the streets. This is the kind of intolerance which Rob and Doug promote, and it’s high time it came back to bite them in the ass.

Even if he’s able to escape responsibility at the hands of Toronto’s council, police and higher levels of government, he still has to face the people he claims to represent. This Saturday, if he’s still mayor, a demonstration has been called for Nathan Phillips Square at 1pm to demand his resignation. For the sake of Toronto, I hope he finally listens.

Happy Birthday Mr Mayor. Now GTFO.

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