One more thing about Ford…

… My criticism of him comes from a very special place – I was actually dumb enough to vote for him.

I don’t know if this makes my criticism of him more or less valid, but please, keep that important fact in mind before you accuse all his opponents of being leftie union-lovers. There are plenty of us who appreciate a fiscally-responsible platform who DON’T appreciate lies and deceit – and Ford will find that out in the next election when he struggles to gain 20% of the popular vote.

Also, why in the hell is my TweetBlender stuck on tweets from two months ago?!?

SaveToronto.ca: It’s Not About Crack, It’s About Crime

Throughout the drawn-out Rob Ford crack-smoking saga, one thing has been made abundantly clear: Rob Ford has very poor judgment. As a Mayor, as a person, and as a representative for the City of Toronto, Rob Ford’s judgment has continually proven lacking. This, above all else, is the reason that he should resign immediately.

As I wrote in previous articles about this subject, it’s not his now-confirmed crack use that’s even the problem. Even though crack cocaine is a highly addictive substance that should not be clouding the mind of any elected official, occasional crack use (as odd as that phrase may sound) isn’t necessarily something that should trigger an automatic resignation. However, exercising terrible judgment in the consumption of crack brings a world of other problems with it, not the least of which is criminal association.

Rob Ford’s friendship with known criminal Sandro Lisi is well-documented, and the recently-released (though heavily redacted) ITO from Lisi’s arrest warrant details their relationship, including exchanges of manila envelopes on multiple occasions. More disturbing than his association with Lisi is Ford’s use of city resources/employees during his attempts to retrieve the video, such as “Director of Logistics” David Price, who earns $130,000 per year on the City’s dime. Most disturbing of all is the fact that Rob Ford was foolish enough to put himself in that position in the first place, and in doing so, make himself vulnerable to blackmail and extortion.
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Save Toronto Rally, Nov 13, 12pm

Hey Toronto! Want to make sure City Council knows just how sick you are of the three-ring circus the Ford Brothers are putting on for us? Join us for a Save Toronto Rally at Nathan Phillips Square on November 13 at 12pm. This is the first day that City Council will be convening since the sh*t really hit the fan, and it’s time for our representatives to really listen to their city!

We’ll be asking City Council to take strong action against Rob Ford, and tell him and his brother – in no uncertain or wishy-washy terms – that they’re not going to stand for this nonsense any longer. Check out the website for more details:

www.savetoronto.ca

We’re a group of volunteers from all walks of life, supporters of a wide range of political perspectives, but united in our conviction that Rob Ford has to go. I’ve been asked to be the official spokesperson for the event, so if anyone in the media would like more information, please contact me at nikki@savetoronto.ca. For anyone else looking for information about the event or if you’d like to lend a helping hand, check out the website or email info@savetoronto.ca. You can also follow us on Twitter at @SaveTdoto and catch up on the news that way.

Most importantly, this is about Rob Ford The Mayor, not Rob Ford The Man – we wish him all the love and support in the world in overcoming his addiction problems, but as a Mayor, he’s clearly not fit to lead our great city any longer. Let’s make sure City Council gets the message loud and clear!

Rob Ford and His Obvious Drug Problem

Dear Mayor Ford: Like it or not, you have a drug problem.

I’m not referring to your alleged issues with alcohol, or your DUI in Florida all those years ago. I’m not talking about the time you were arrested for possession of marijuana, or even the video that’s said to depict you smoking crack cocaine. I’m not talking about the claims that you were inebriated at a Garrison Ball, or your brother Doug’s alleged running of a hash ring during the 1980s. I’m not even talking about the long list of incidents involving your family members where drugs were connected to other criminal activity.

Your drug problem is the fact that nobody believes you.

What other mayor could ever be accused of smoking crack cocaine, and have their constituents pause, and say, “Yeah, that makes a lot of sense”? Who else could have such allegations thrown towards them without the public laughing and saying, “There’s no chance that it’s true”? What other publicly-elected official could so easily be connected to drug allegations, and have the public believe those claims so readily?

Whatever your feelings were about David Miller or Mel Lastman, that’s a problem that neither of them ever had to face. For all their other foibles and flaws, neither of them could have been so easily linked to an accusation of this magnitude. Yet, despite the overwhelming amount of pressure being put on your office by these allegations, you pretend you’re able to maintain an even keel throughout the scandal, and think that you can act like it’s simply business as usual.

It’s not.

Yes, Mayor Ford, you do have a drug problem – and the longer you remain in denial about it, the harder it will be for you to regain the public trust. While your immediate response might be to attack anyone and everyone who makes such claims, you can’t simply keep your head in the sand about this. Even your allies think the scandal is affecting City Hall, and want it over and done with – and you didn’t address it directly until members of your Executive Committee wrote you a public letter imploring you to do so. Unless you admit you have a problem and start taking steps to deal with it, members of Toronto’s city council will continue to think you’re lying, and will not consider the story over and done with.

Your problem, like that of so many other addicts, is that you continue to remain in denial about how deep your problem goes. You think that Torontonians are fools, and can’t tell the difference between “I do not use crack cocaine” and “I have never used crack cocaine.” You think we don’t recognize the distinction when you say you can’t comment on a video which you “have never seen, OR does not exist”. You want us to believe that a lawyer told you not to say a word about the video over the past week, even though I asked my own lawyer whether she’d ever give a client such advice – her response, coupled with a chortle of laughter was, “Only if the allegations were 100% true.” (She also told me she’d tell her client to sue the living daylights out of anyone who made the claims, but that’s another issue altogether).

With 13 hours to go, Gawker’s “Crackstarter” fund is less than $7,000 from its $200,000 goal (edit: the fundraiser successfully passed the $200,000 mark at 3:54pm on May 27), even though the creators of the fund admit they haven’t been in contact with the owners of the video for over a week. That’s how strongly people believe that the video is 100% accurate. People think so poorly of you that many Torontonians believe – as I wrote last week – that you probably just went and bought the video yourself. In fact, some people believe that you might have been involved in something even worse, as reports come down that members of the Homicide branch of Toronto Police Services interviewed a member of your office about a recent murder that might be connected to that same video.

Now, that’s a problem.

Your drug problem, Mayor Ford, is so serious that it’s largely costing you the public trust, what little you had left, anyways. Your chief of staff has been dismissed, and your press secretary and his assistant have quit. Even if polls somehow suggest your support remains steady, will these people actually show up to support you at the ballot box in 2014? Your claims that it’s all a Toronto Star conspiracy are no longer holding up to scrutiny, as other media outlets are also starting to hold you to account. You can’t just go on your weekly radio show, where you are insulated from hearing the city’s real attitudes towards you, and call members of the media “maggots” for doing their jobs.

It’s true that admitting you have a problem is the first, and hardest, step towards solving it. But as long as people like your brother Doug continue to enable you, and until you take some responsibility for the mess you’ve put yourself in, this problem will continue to plague you for as long as you remain in the public eye.

It’s time to get help, Mr. Mayor – only you can fix this problem before it gets worse.

Part 3: How Rob Ford could have saved his job

So, I actually started writing this entire series as a single blog entry, but as the scandal continued to grow and expand, and Rob Ford continued to run for cover, it grew into something bigger than a single entry could handle. This one is most of my original post, and it’s been fermenting in a .doc file since Tuesday. My original idea was to pretend I was member of Rob Ford’s inner circle, and that he asked my advice on how to respond. I was going to invoke a purely pragmatic, almost Machiavellian perspective on this one – if Rob Ford asked me to help him save his job at any cost, this is what my advice would have been:

If possible, Plan A: Buy the video himself (see Part 2).
If not, Plan B: The minute it comes out, resign and enter treatment.
If not, Plan C: Do absolutely nothing until A or B comes to pass and let his supporters do all the talking.

Obviously, things have changed, and Rob spent far too much time hoping that Plan C would become a successful Plan A, such that he missed the chance to go to Plan B. But here’s how Plan B might have actually worked for him:

If Ford was unable to buy the video for himself and it found its way into the public eye, then his tenure as mayor would have to end instantly. At that point, the only option would be his immediate resignation, coupled with a tearful public apology, the promise to “get clean”, and a level of contrition we haven’t seen from him since Justice Hackland ruled against him in his conflict-of-interest case. Even then, that might not have been the end of Rob Ford.

Picture this: Ford prepares a news conference, tearfully apologizes, and claims that the stress of the job pushed him to seek coping mechanisms like alcohol, weed, cocaine and (eventually) crack. He blames The Star for their crusade against him, and maybe even claims that his desire to meet his targets in the Cut the Waist challenge pushed him to make bad choices (and the fact that he’s wearing the same sweatshirt might add credence to his claim). He talks about how much he wanted to help the city, says he wishes he could have done more without letting the stress get to him, and resigns his position on the spot. He reveals his plan to go into treatment, and promises to come back a better man.

What then? City council remains as dysfunctional as ever, and various councillors start vying to replace him, all with an eye towards the upcoming 2014 election. Doug Holyday seems unlikely to do anything more than handle the position on an interim basis, due to his age and close allegiance to Ford; he doesn’t strike me as someone who wants the job full-time. As the dysfunction spreads, citizens of Toronto grow increasingly dissatisfied with the status quo. City council remains paralyzed; the councillors, without a common enemy to unite against, start fighting amongst themselves, and Doug Ford remains on the sidelines complaining loudly about needing a real leader who can get things done. For the next eighteen months, the transit file remains unresolved, council tries to figure out what to reverse from the previous sessions, and very little actually happens; it’s likely that Council will become more ineffective and fractured than it’s ever been.

Then, Ford comes back from rehab as a changed man – he’s thinner, healthier, more relaxed, and starts doing yoga instead of getting drunk at Leafs games. Maybe he takes a few public speaking lessons during his time away, and hires a top-notch PR team to aid in his reintegration into public life. He swears he’s put his demons behind him, rails against the incompetence in City Council, and promises to make good on his original Stop-The-Gravy-Train agenda. Somehow, the story of redemption and lack of clear alternatives manages to rally Ford Nation once again, and incredulously, Ford manages a political comeback unlike any we’ve ever seen.

Sounds crazy? Marion Barry managed a similar comeback under different circumstances, because his supporters viewed him as a champion of the people. The undercurrent of anger and dissatisfaction that led to Ford’s election in the first place isn’t going to disappear in 18 months, and it’s unlikely that Council will get its act together once Ford is gone. That means it’s not outside the realm of possibilities that Ford might be viewed as the least-bad of a lot of really bad options – which is basically what brought him into power in the first place.

Rob will be sure to claim that he was doing everything without his family’s knowledge, and his allies and brother can stay the course and continue formenting anti-elitist attitudes among the citizens of Toronto, paving the way for a clean-and-reformed Rob (or maybe even Doug) to go into the 2014 election as the champion of the regular joe. Video or no video, those feelings are real, palpable, and powerful enough to bring Rob Ford into office in the first place – there’s no reason to assume they’ll disappear along with Rob.

Of course, it’s probably too late for that. He’s waited too long to take the high road, and things are so bad that Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday announced on Friday morning that the Executive Committee is preparing to publicly ask Rob Ford to address the allegations, or step aside. He’s trying to assure us that this is “business as usual” but nobody seems convinced. There’s a feeling, shared by councillor Gary Crawford and many others, that the mayor can’t even represent the City at public events anymore. Typical everyday jobs like ribbon-cutton and kissing babies are essentially impossible for him now, and Ford still hasn’t realized that this is the last straw for many people – it’s not going to just go away.

People seem to love a good redemption story, and Rob Ford has a lot to redeem himself for – but if things continue to get worse after Rob Ford is gone, perhaps people will think he wasn’t the problem after all. And maybe, against all rational explanations, they’ll start to think that a kinder, gentler Rob Ford is actually the solution. It’s already happened once, and history has a very strange way of repeating itself – just ask Marion Barry.

Part 2: Rob Ford’s Unseen Advantage: Why he’ll probably buy the video himself

(Update, Thursday 11:25pm: Two recent developments suggest that the video is still unclaimed – both Gawker (whose “crackstarter” campaign has reached $160,000 with four days left) and The Star claim they’ve been out of contact with the owners since Sunday afternoon, and Rob Ford fired his Chief of Staff Mark Towhey on Thursday for allegedly telling Rob to “go away and get help”. In my opinion, this suggests that the video is still out there, because if Rob Ford had already bought it, there wouldn’t have been any need to fire Towhey, and he’d finally be able to go on the offensive. However, if we see Rob Ford make an impassioned defense of himself in the coming days, that will be a good indication that he’s tracked down the video. And if he follows it up with a lawsuit against The Star to give his conspiracy-theory supporters something to grasp, then we can pretty much assume it’s over and that the video will never see the light of day. For now, the circus continues, but it’s drawn on for sooooooo long that it feels like the fatal blow has already been struck, and all that’s left is to wait for him to bleed out…)

Even though Gawker has made a valiant effort to raise the $200,000 they claim will give them ownership of the Rob Ford crack video, the more likely resolution is that Rob Ford ends up buying it himself. I think this outcome is definitely the most likely of all possible scenarios, because Ford actually has quite a few advantages in this strange situation.

1) Rob Ford has undoubtedly figured out who took the video, and he knows who set him up. He’s probably the best-positioned to reach out to his dealers with an offer; he already has an established business relationship with them, and he’s guaranteed never to rat them out. This is his main advantage; even people with more interest in the video or access to more funds wouldn’t be able to actually place a bid with the current owners. They’re not advertising it on Craigslist, and they’re definitely not making themselves known to the public; the owners are clearly being cautious here, going through multiple go-betweens and engaging in all sorts of cloak and dagger tactics to protect themselves. They’re careful, they’re paranoid, and they’re not likely to want to deal with anyone they don’t already know – which, not coincidently, are the same rules that apply to higher-level drug dealing. As far as we know, the only people with a direct line (or even an indirect line) to the owners of the video are The Star, John Cook from Gawker, and Rob Ford himself.

(On a side note, I’m surprised that nobody seems to care that The Star, by reporting so many details about their interaction, has severely compromised the safety of these young men. Their identity is probably known to at least a few other people within their community, and it’s possible that someone may try to track them down in order to steal the video, now that its commercial value is known. Also, the owners have had their leverage reduced considerably now that the video’s existence has been made public, and they can no longer negotiate with other potential buyers without bringing more attention on themselves. Perhaps this was The Star’s plan from the get-go, because they’re effectively frozen out a number of potential competitors and boosted their chances of getting the video for free, or on the cheap… But hey, who cares, they’re just drug dealers, right? /sarcasm)

2) Rob Ford has access to a large amount of discretionary funds that likely would exceed that of any newspaper. Even though Torstar is a large corporation, they’ve fallen on hard times in recent years, and it’s hard to see them forking over six figures for a video like this after laying off so many of their own staff. Additionally, their expenditures are limited and constrained by a lot more red tape than Rob Ford or Deco Labels might be, and they would have to account for the funds somehow – they can’t simply come up with $200,000 in cash for an undocumented source. Because Torstar is a publicly-traded corporation on the TSX, their shareholders, their auditors, and the CRA would all look very poorly on such a transaction, which might even be considered money laundering. Even though they claim that they don’t pay for stories, that’s mostly irrelevant, because as an investment, the video probably isn’t worth all that much to them. I honestly don’t know if any media outlet could justify the expense, because whatever revenue they might think they can generate from this (by putting ads before the video, for example) it’s hard to imagine it generating more than $200,000. So Rob Ford could simply let it be known that he’ll top the highest offer, and wait for the bidding war to end.

3) Rob Ford values the video more than anyone else, and given how much money he spent on his campaign to win the Mayor’s job (and how much he’s planning to spend on his re-election bid) $200,000 isn’t a huge price to pay to save his job. I could see another potential mayoral candidate trying to buy the video, and possibly keeping it quiet until the next election, but I’m not sure which of the candidates might be so wealthy as to do so. Again, all the money in the world doesn’t do them any good if they don’t know how to get in touch with the video’s current owners. When viewed as just another campaign expense, the $200,000 price tag for the video doesn’t seem quite so outrageous.

4) Gawker’s crowd-funding attempt is interesting, but probably unviable (which is why I haven’t donated to them). For starters, how exactly will they take the funds out of the indiegogo account and deliver it to the drug dealers? Will they withdraw $200,000 in cash and try to bring it across the border (even though the maximum amount of money you can bring across the border is $10,000)? Will they write these hoping-to-stay-anonymous drug dealers a traveller’s cheque? How will they reconcile this purchase with the CRA, IRS, and both the United States and Canadian governments? In Canada, all transactions over $10,000 done through a bank must be recorded; how will they manage that? Even if they deposited the funds in a Canadian bank and tried to withdraw them here, banks don’t tend to release that much money in cash on a single day, especially to a customer they haven’t known for a long time. The legal and logistical problems of such a large transaction are a nightmare at the best of times, and when you’re trying to relay that amount of money to drug dealers who probably want to keep things quiet and anonymous, you reach a whole new level of difficulty that might be impossible to overcome. I suppose it’s possible that lawyers could facilitate the transaction, but I remember how complicated the legal documents were when I purchased my condo – this is likely to be far more difficult, and far more expensive.

Based on all of the above factors, the most likely outcome seems to be Rob Ford buying the video himself, and the only reason he hasn’t done so already is that the current owners of the video are letting the Gawker crowdfunding page drive up the price. If they want to cash out and guarantee their safety, then Rob Ford is uniquely positioned to provide that for them, both in funds and with a personal guarantee that he’ll never divulge their identities or bring them any harm (as long as the video never becomes public, anyways). The man with the most to lose is also the man with the most to offer – a perfect storm of circumstances that gives Ford the upper hand in this bizarre situation.

I really have no idea how this is going to play out, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned during Rob Ford’s tenure as mayor, it’s that he’s shown an almost savant-like ability to get away with things that would cost any other politician their job. When I sit back and consider all the advantages Rob Ford has in making this situation work out in his favour, I find it increasingly hard to bet against him.

Part 1: Of the allegations against Rob Ford, crack use bothers me the least

There are plenty of people – public figures and others – who manage their substance use without letting it affect their work. The statistics are staggering: CAMH claims that one in ten people will experience alcohol or illicit drug dependence in their lifetime, and if you included caffeine or tobacco dependence, the number of Canadians experiencing some sort of drug dependency would likely exceed 50%. But many of us still manage to function (and I include myself in this because I’ve been a caffeine addict since my first year of university) and given how prevalent substance abuse is in our culture, I’m not so quick to judge someone on that basis. I’m not likely to laud Stephen Harper for his distaste for alcohol, or praise him for the substances he doesn’t consume, and I’m not keen on criticizing Rob Ford (or any other political figure) for the substances they do consume. I generally care a lot more about their policies than their personal habits.

Of course, this only extends to their ability to prevent their consumption from affecting their job. I don’t know for sure if Rob Ford’s use of coke/crack/alcohol/weed (all substances he has been alleged to have used or abused) is the reason he’s been such a terrible mayor. If so, then I would certainly encourage him to step down and seek treatment. However, if his incompetence as mayor exists independently of his substance use, then it’s pretty much a non-issue for me; I’d sooner hope for him to spend more time developing his leadership skills, learning how to compromise, and stop seeing the world in such stark dichotomies all the time. One of his biggest failings (often echoed by his most ardent supporters) is approaching everything as a “left-right issue” and constantly taking a with-us-or-against-us approach to public discourse. If he could address these issues while still smoking crack recreationally (assuming that’s actually possible) then I honestly wouldn’t have a problem with it.

I’m not going to approach this from a legal perspective, either. One factoid that’s been ignored throughout this saga is that Ford, technically, isn’t doing anything illegal. Interestingly, the consumption of a controlled or prohibited substance is not actually illegal in Canada. It’s illegal to possess or distribute certain substances, but not technically illegal to consume them. Since the video is alleged to only have filmed Rob Ford consuming crack cocaine, rather than purchasing it, there’s a legit reason why he can’t be charged with a crime over this (hat tip to Alan Young, he of the constitutional challenges to decriminalize both sex work and medical marijuana, for teaching this to me a few years back). Additionally, since I don’t really agree with the draconian and counterproductive drug policies as outlined in the Criminal Code of Canada, I’m not going to judge Rob Ford on this basis either.

Of all the things Ford has done, his choice to smoke crack is hardly the most offensive; I’m more interested in seeing the video because of what he is alleged to have said in it (calling Justin Trudeau a “fag” and referring to his football team as “just fucking minorities”). That’s the primary reason I want the video made public, because comments like these are truly indefensible for any public figure to make. If he really did say what he said – whether under the influence of crack or not – that’s what I want him held accountable for.

As the proverb says, “In Vino Veritas” (with wine comes truth), and I’m inclined to believe that Ford’s crack-induced comments are genuinely reflective of his true feelings about the citizens of Toronto. That should be the primary discussion point for us, and the main reason he needs to address this directly and personally. Independent of the crack-smoking allegations, Ford has been accused of making comments that would be tantamount to hate speech had they been made in a public setting, and I think it’s deeply unfortunate that the gravity of these comments has taken a back seat to his alleged use of an illegal substance.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Rob Ford will no longer be coaching the Don Bosco Eagles, not due to the crack-smoking allegations, but because of comments he made to Sun News Network on March 1. If these are the sorts of comments he makes publicly, one can only imagine the vitriol he spews when he thinks he’s among friends and allies – and those are the comments that we need to hear. His supporters might say they support him because he “calls it as he sees it” – and if so, they should all know his true opinions before deciding to support him in the future.

Enough nonsense already. Let’s see the tape, and let the citizens of Toronto find out the truth about Rob Ford – let’s see how he really feels about the people of this city.

Rob Ford, Sarah Thomson, and the Ever-Shifting Burden of Proof

Seriously now, when will this sideshow end? Every time it feels like things can’t possibly get any worse, Toronto politics finds a way to stoop to a new low. Rob Ford is engaged in yet another race to the bottom, one that he appears to be losing (or winning? I honestly can’t tell the difference anymore). It’s really just sad to watch.

The one thing that I’ve found most distressing is that nobody – and I mean nobody – has gone out of their way to actually defend Rob Ford. Sure, his supporters are attacking Sarah Thomson relentlessly, to varying degrees of vitriol and vigour, but there’s nobody saying, “Oh, Ford’s too much of a stand-up guy to do that.” It seems Ford’s public record is at least enough to make people think there might be some truth to the story. Or, as I tweeted a few days ago:

Nonetheless, it’s interesting to examine the attacks on Sarah Thomson, and the painfully-flawed logic behind them. Here are a couple of the standouts:

“She’s a politician, therefore she’s a liar and an opportunist.”

Ummm, what exactly is Rob Ford if not a politician? If politicians are liars and opportunists, then wouldn’t the automatic assumption be that Ford is also a liar? One would think that better politicians make for better liars; given that he’s the more successful politician of the two, wouldn’t that make him more likely to be the one who’s actually lying? His track record of proven, documented lies (Leafs game, anyone?) just makes this argument all the more ridiculous.

“If she was genuinely assaulted, she should have gone to the police right away.”

One’s immediate response to an assault, in and of itself, does not prove or disprove the actual allegation. Our legal system applies a certain burden of proof to all adjudicated matters, and sexual assault requires the same proof as other criminal charges – proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Given all the ambiguity surrounding the situation, there’s little to no hope of meeting that requirement in criminal proceedings, so I can understand why Sarah Thomson wouldn’t want to go that route. Not to mention the ordeal of a trial is often as traumatizing as the assault itself, sometimes more so; just ask a survivor of sexual assault if you’d like to know the reality behind it.

“Ford should sue her for defamation and make her prove it in court.”

First off, the onus of proof is on the person who files the suit, not the person who defends it. Even then, civil proceedings carry their own burden of proof; in most cases, it’s a balance of probabilities, meaning you have to prove your case just a bit better than your opponent. You have to prove that your position is more than 50% likely to be true, which is a much lower threshold than reasonable doubt. (That’s why O.J. Simpson was acquitted of criminal charges, but found legally responsible for Nicole Simpson’s death in the ensuing civil case.) Again, there’s too much ambiguity for a civil trial to have any hope of success; Ford would have to prove that he didn’t commit the actions Thomson has claimed, and simply attacking her character wouldn’t be enough.

“I’ve always said, I don’t know if she’s playing with a full deck.”

This gem comes from Ford himself, choosing a unique form of ad hominem attack that is often reserved for women accusing men of sexual inappropriateness. But this argument doesn’t actually prove or disprove anything. Whether one is sane or not has no bearing on whether they might have been victimized by sexual impropriety, and his statement does nothing to disprove the actual allegation. Being sane and being a victim are not mutually exclusive, which means he said it for no other reason than to attack her character.

Which brings us to the last (and most popular) attack on Thomson worth examining here:

“She’s just part of a leftist conspiracy.”

When all else fails, put on a tin-foil hat and blame it on the conspiracy. But it’s really worth examining the true meaning of the statement, and what it says about how sexual assault claims are treated. Exactly what burden of proof do we require before we believe a woman who claims assault? Not simply a balance of probabilities, or even proof beyond a reasonable doubt; we demand unquestionable and indisputable evidence, akin to a perfectly-clear video recording; anything less is simply deemed to be part of a conspiracy.

Here we have a man of privilege and power, a well-documented liar, a man who is believed to have lied under oath. A man who has been captured on video being verbally abusive to colleagues or opponents, as well as physically threatening reporters and bystanders. There are records of police coming to his home to attend to domestic disputes, he has been arrested while in the possession of illegal substances, admitted he flipped off a woman who told him not to use his cell phone while driving, and has been widely reported as rude, abusive and willing to lie his way out of almost anything. And yet, even with a history like Rob Ford’s:

It seems that the court of public opinion requires a higher burden of proof than any other court in the land.