Unlike Rob Ford, Ana Bailao's past forgiven
By Sue-Ann Levy, Toronto Sun
First posted: Friday, October 06, 2017 07:52 PM EDT | Updated: Friday, October 06, 2017 08:09 PM EDT
On Wednesday night — before the vote on whether to rename Centennial Park after the late Rob Ford — Mayor John Tory got up and reminded council of the controversial mayor’s past.
His words were like a dog whistle to council to vote down the plan. If he wanted the motion to go through, he would not have even mentioned a word about the mayor’s past.
But he did.
“We cannot erase history and gloss over very difficult parts of our city’s past (with Ford as mayor),” Tory said that night, reminding us that the “divisive era” (created by Rob Ford) is over.
But on Friday morning when he gleefully announced that downtown NDP councillor Ana Bailao would become the new deputy mayor of Toronto and East York — replacing the late Pam McConnell — any mention of her drunk-driving history was conspicuously absent.
Tory contended that the “determined” Bailao has championed the improvement of housing conditions and the lives of residents in Toronto Community Housing, yada, yada.
What I didn’t hear from Tory Friday was any mention of the drunk driving charge Bailao hid for three months in 2012 until it became clear she would have to ‘fess up before she got to court.
I mean fair is fair. If Tory was going to dredge up Ford’s past, surely to goodness he should do the same with Bailao, especially considering she was being appointed to a plum post.
I was there at that January 2013 press conference when a teary-eyed Bailao informed us she’d quietly pled guilty to having over 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood.
That was after she’d blown .130 (just shy of twice the legal limit) in October 2012 following an evening of copious drinks with casino lobbyists at the Thompson Hotel.
Bailao, who refused to resign at the time, was fined $1,000 and ordered not to get behind the wheel for 12 months.
Mayor Ford rushed to her defense that day, saying she’d taken “full responsibility for her actions” and that he has faith in the consequences meted out by the justice system.
One would have expected Bailao — if she’d been the slightest bit a mensch — to offer Ford the same redemption Wednesday. But she was part of the cabal that stood in judgement and voted down the stadium memorial.
Bailao did not respond to Toronto Sun requests for comment, which is entirely predictable.
But Tory’s spokesman Don Peat told me Bailao “admitted what she did, paid her fine and went on to be re-elected by the residents of her ward...and since then has worked tirelessly.”
Hey why don’t we substitute the name Ford in the Mayor’s hypocritical comment: He admitted what he did (his addiction), went to rehab, was never convicted of anything and went on to be re-elected by the residents of his ward, working tirelessly until he succumbed to cancer.
Oh never mind. Details, details.
Look, in my view, Tory is really scraping the bottom of the barrel with his choice of Bailao for deputy mayor and Joe Mihevc for council’s poverty pimp, er advocate.
Still, we all know this is not about competence. And it is definitely not about the optics or the integrity the mayor claims he brought to City Hall.
It’s all about the mayor shoring up NDP support for the 2018 election with leftist yes-men — in the hopes that no one on the left will run.
But sadly this is yet more proof that a terrible double standard reigns supreme at Mayor John Tory’s City Hall and that the mistakes are only egregious when they involve someone on the right.
We’re talking about a City Hall where council and the mayor turn a blind eye to a colleague with a criminal conviction (because she’s NDP) while refusing to redeem a mayor who was addicted to alcohol but was never charged criminally (and did plenty good for taxpayers).
Yet Tory has the gall to pretend the era of divisiveness is over?
Oh the irony.
Unlike Rob Ford, Ana Bailao's past forgiven | LEVY | Toronto & GTA | News | Toro