This article was originally published on December 16, 2010.
I attended the Mayor’s inauguration last week with Don Cherry in his bright pink jacket as the guest of honour. People in the room smiled the same way they smile when a clown walks into a circus ring.
I don’t know Mr. Cherry well, but I was looking forward to a positive, team building type of speech from the former coach.
The inauguration is a ceremony designed to recognize the Mayor and the responsibility that every councilor will hold for the next 4 years. It is a moment when all councilors are recognized for winning their seat, but also an acceptance of the political agenda the Mayor will set moving forward.
There is no doubt that everyone in the room, councilors and guests, acknowledged that the left wing political agenda was defeated. The councilors were humble, they accepted Mayor Ford’s leadership respectfully, and the ceremony seemed to fulfill its intention, that is, until Don Cherry spoke.
Instead of speaking about building consensus and working together, Cherry pretended to be angry at the press and called them a bunch of “ left-wing pinko’s.” So desperate to grab a headline, he ignored the importance of the ceremony and instead chose to piss all over those on the left side of the political spectrum. The conservative in me cringed at his complete lack of humility.
After spending 10 months in front of the media, I know very well that with the spotlight comes prodding from the press. Anyone who has spent years as a public figure learns how to ignore bad press. Thus I found Mr. Cherry’s anger questionable at best, but it paved an easy path for him to launch his attention grabbing headline — “put that in your pipe you left-wing pinko kooks.” A line he so obviously and desperately wanted to use. Classy or pathetic — you be the judge?
I hope Mayor Ford noticed the humble and accepting faces of each councilor prior to Mr. Cherry’s speech because it may be a long-time before he sees them again. To build consensus he will need to understand the value in protecting the defeated and allowing them to hold onto their dignity – it will go a long way in turning a few of them into supporters.