On Saturday night, in one of his first announced public appearances since, uh, shit happened, Mayor Rob Ford was booed.
This was sufficiently predictable that I attended the opening ceremonies of the annual Cavalcade of Lights in Nathan Phillips Square for the sole purpose of documenting the moment.
(The reaction was actually a wave of jeers with some cheers and whistlng over top, such that it could fairly - if generously - be described as "mixed.")
Here is a video:
Equally predictable was that Ford pulled his family - wife Renata and kids Stephanie, 8, and Douglas, 6 - out on stage with him. This may have been merely because he brought them last time (in 2011, when he was also booed) and figured they might again enjoy the experience. Perhaps he knew that councillors Peter Milczyn and Peter Leon were bringing their own families.
Or he may have been using his children as human shields to dampen the crowd's response to his presence.
At a panel discussion this past Thursday entitled Toronto's Watergate? The Inside Scoop On How The Media Exposed Rob Ford, the Star's Robyn Doolittle offered a rather excellent summary of one of the mayor's more cowardly tactics:
I'm writing a book about this, and so I've gone back and read every single thing that's ever been written about Rob Ford, and I can tell you that no one uses Rob Ford's family more than Rob Ford. Every single time he has ever had an issue, he brings his children out.
It started with the domestic assault in 2008; he brought his three-year-old daughter out on his hips to speak to reporters and said [to her], "Can you say 'No comment'?"
Sarah Thomson accuses the mayor of grabbing her ass, accuses him of using cocaine, he brings his kids into City Hall with him and then walks them out the door in front of him, as if daring reporters, "Ask me about cocaine in front of my children."
He says, with Daniel [Dale], "I was helping my daughter with her homework." You're not helping your daughter with [her] homework. He always invokes that idea of "I'm a father, I'm a good father, here are my children."
He brought his wife out - and I can say that, through my sources, I've heard that that was not her just showing up, willfully saying, "Throw me in front of the camera." So he always uses his family.
And to all that, we say "Boo."