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Rob Ford’s former press secretary explains the real reason he won’t attend Pride

The kind of scenario Adrienne Batra thinks Rob Ford wants to avoid

After getting into a bit of a verbal spat with the mayor last week, Rob Ford’s former press secretary, Adrienne Batra, is hammering him again, this time for planning to avoid this summer’s Pride parade. Batra joins the chorus of columnists and city hall-watchers who believe Ford should suck it up and go to at least one Pride event—but, unlike many, she’s approaching the issue from the standpoint of strategy. The former insider says Ford isn’t homophobic. Rather, he’s concerned that marching in the parade would alienate people who are homophobic his more conservative political base (polls suggest most voters either don’t care or don’t want him to attend). Batra’s advice to Ford: attend the raising of the rainbow flag at the start of Pride Week, thereby supporting Toronto’s gay and lesbian community without estranging conservative voters by appearing at an event that features “naked ass chaps or getting hosed down by super soakers.” She may be right, but Ford didn’t take Batra’s advice when she was his press secretary last summer—why would he take it now? [Toronto Sun]

(Images: Ford, West Annex News; Pride scene, Ryan)