Death By a Thousand Cuts: The Week in Rob Ford

John Michael McGrath is a Digital Media Producer for TVO.

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Rob Ford’s lawyer Dennis Morris would like us all to remember who the real victim is in the last year of scandal: Rob Ford. Just the other day, after a judge unsealed more Toronto Police documents shedding light on Ford’s alleged wrongdoings, Morris reminded the Toronto Sun that it was the mayor, after all, being extorted for the video—which totally exists, and is a real thing—of him smoking crack cocaine.

The latest ITO document dump doesn’t radically change our understanding of the last year in Toronto, except to further reinforce that a) the crack video exists, b) the police have watched it, and c) it seems increasingly likely we all will one day, too.

What you might have missed in all the tumult this week was that yet another ITO was filed—this one on March 7. This is a notable date, since the Ontario Provincial Police assumed oversight of the Ford investigation on March 5. So, not only is the investigation of the mayor ongoing and active, but the oversight of the OPP doesn’t seem to have slowed it down or caused anyone to have second thoughts.

We still don’t quite know what charges Ford could face, but there’s plenty of reason to suspect serious ones are in the works. Several parties have been engaged in violence or threats of same to acquire the crack video. Read the copious pages of the ITOs and you’ll see at least two assault cases came up while police were investigating people connected with the video. Sandro Lisi, meanwhile, who was threatening to “put heat on” gang members in Etobicoke, allegedly presented his threats as coming from an agitated mayor (though that is certainly far from confirmed).

And what to make of the revelation that police are also looking for information about former members of Rob Ford’s staff? Even if other Ford employees aren’t at risk of being charged, the nature of the investigation has made it necessary to question whether or not Lisi, in all his alleged misbehaviour, really was going rogue. This is where we’ve landed: potentially innocent city workers finding themselves under a level of police scrutiny often only reserved for, well … people like Sandro Lisi.

So if you find yourself thinking that police have blown Rob Ford’s personal indiscretions out of proportion, you are wrong. This week’s events suggest the answer isn’t going to be the law enforcement version of, “Oh, boys will be boys, now run along you little scamp.” Indeed, the odds of Rob Ford being frog-marched out of City Hall at some point during his re-election campaign seem increasingly non-trivial.

That event, however, if and when it does occur, will not stop the Ford re-election party. Reasonably enough, citizens of Canada are innocent until proven guilty, and Ford won’t be denied the ability to hold or run for office unless he actually gets sent to jail. So if he has to schedule his campaign appearances around his court appearances, you can rest assured that is exactly what he is going to do.

Whether the sight of Ford having to enter a not guilty plea in between campaign stops actually shakes any of his remaining supporters, of course, remains to be seen. If they haven’t jumped ship yet, what will it take for the dead-enders of AM talk radio and newspaper comment sections to be shaken loose from their delirium?