“He has the right to be there but I don’t care about him. It’s a caucus not a circus. I want to talk about issues and you know, we didn’t talk to him, I didn’t shake his hand, I didn’t look at him.”
—Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, summing up the reaction to Rob Ford’s presence today at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ semi-annual Big City Mayors’ Caucus. The Quebec City mayor Régis Labeaume echoed the sentiment, saying Ford could “behave as he wants” but that he didn’t want his kids to think that he “is working with a guy who is mayor and is smoking crack.”
Ford’s reputation precedes him, as always, but in this case there’s another dimension to the resentment: before suddenly deciding to travel to Ottawa for this edition of the caucus, Ford spent years adamantly refusing to attend FCM events and deriding them as a waste of taxpayer money. Ford’s stated purpose for attending the caucus is to persuade the federal government to give Toronto its “fair share” of infrastructure money, but so far the headlines have mostly focused on his decision to leave five hours early and get lunch.