Friday, November 1, 2013

Rob Ford and the "war on drugs"

The team at the Toronto Star that has been flogging the Rob Ford crack story to death for the past year had a banner day. Rob on the front page, the next page, the page after that... the first six pages of the paper were filled with breathless revelations about the bad boy mayor.

If that wasn't enough, the next section was a special feature Rob Ford collector's edition pull-out, the kind of thing you set aside and bequeath to your grandchildren someday, along with the special edition supplements of Princess Di's funeral and other great moments in modern history.

All this attention seems more than a little excessive given the alleged crime at the heart of the matter; Rob Ford smoked dope. Because Rob Ford may have smoked dope, and the self-appointed conscience of liberal (which today includes any ideas vaguely to the left of Tea Party fundamentalism) Toronto made that "story" front page news for months on end, Toronto's police department saw a great opportunity to demonstrate that tough-on-drugs laws apply to everybody, and launched an extensive and expensive long-term investigation of His Worship.

That investigation included multiple surveillance teams shadowing the mayor's every move for months on end. The irony is that Rob Ford was always a cop-friendly law-and-order politician. Expect him to find gravy in the Police Services budget once the current flap fades away.

Contrast that to the same newspaper's kid glove treatment of Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau's admission that he smokes dope. That story got zero traction, and rightly so. What business of yours or mine or the Toronto Star's is it if our neighbour lights up a pipe now and then? We have reasonable expectations that our neighbour will conduct himself in a responsible way, just as we do when the neighbour cracks a bottle of Crown Royal, and if they don't, there are laws...

I'm not a Ford fan and generally my politics aren't that far removed from what you'll find in the editorial pages of the Star, minus the excesses of political correctitude too often found there. In fact, the Star has often editorialized about the foolishness of our drug prohibition. But given an opportunity to use anti-drug hysteria to further what long ago became a personal vendetta against Ford, they're all over it.

It's time to end the hypocrisy once and for all. Decriminalize recreational drug use now.

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