Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Thought For The Children

I hope this will be one of my last posts about the Rob Ford soap opera, but that is probably a futile hope, given the rich sociological and political insights that his escapades provide. However, today my thought is not about him or his quite possibly abused and complicit wife Renata. Today, my thoughts are for their children.

Rarely seen in public, the pair, a young boy and girl, must be living a hellish life, not only because of the public ridicule and odium heaped upon their father, but also due to the very real possibility that they are at physical risk. Recent revelations, thanks to the release of the previously-redacted police documents, is a narrative revealing the children's unwilling association with alleged drug dealer and extortionist Sandro Lisi, as well as crack addict Bruno Bellissimo, who sat with them in the back seat of the vehicle ferrying Ford to the Garrison Ball during one of the mayor's many nights of impairment.

Add to that the video of the raging mayor, perhaps at home, vowing in hyperbolic language to kill someone, as well as the fact that police have attended the home many times due to domestic disturbances.

It got to the point earlier this week that I actually looked up the contact information for the Toronto Children's Aid Society to express a concern about their well-being, but my wife suggested it would be futile because I have no personal knowledge of their possible imperilment.

Lest one think their mother Renata is somehow shielding them from the worst excesses of their father, Rosie Dimanno has a piece in today's Star that strips away that comforting possibility:

It was late at night, nearly a year ago, that Renata Ford pulled up in a taxi outside her parents’ home.

According to a police report, the contents of which have not been proven in court, the mayor’s wife was slurring her words and belligerent with the driver, police sources have told the Star. She either refused to pay the fare or did not have the money.

Their argument became so heated that the cabbie called for police assistance.

When cops arrived, they observed that Mrs. Ford had bruises and cuts to her limbs and face that appeared to be a few days old. But, when asked about it, she refused to say how the injuries had been suffered. She was, in fact, too incoherent to say much of anything — either inebriated or on drugs.

The upshot of this event is that nobody was charged. When police tried following up the matter in subsequent days — as they always do when domestic abuse is suspected — Mrs. Ford was not cooperative.

As much as Ford's wife may be a beaten-down victim who likely commands little respect within the Ford hierarchy - Doug Ford once referred to her on their now-defunct radio show as "the Pollack'- she is also, by virtue of her decision to 'stand by her man,' both figuratively and literally, just another of her husband's enablers and complicit in, at the very least, the psychological abuse that police records suggest is a quotidian fact of life in the Ford household. Tellingly, Dimanno reveals that over the past eight years, police have attended the Ford home at least two dozen times for domestic disturbances.

Like the infamous Michael Jackson, who was able to carry out his terrible depredations against children for so many years thanks to his money, power and influence, I cannot help but wonder whether the same dynamics are at work with regard to the well-being of the Ford children.

I see no way that this story has a happy ending.


  1. Lorne, this makes it a very sad story when children are involved. Why does his brother not tell him to behave instead of supporting the moron? Then who knows his brother may be the same way. All around very sad story.

    1. One can only imagine the twisted dynamics at work within the extended Ford family, LeDaro. None seem fit to offer any useful intervention, and none seem to have any concern for the children.

  2. I agree, Lorne. This story will probably not have a happy ending.

  3. We don't know what Doug Ford tells his brother in private, L.D. Yet, from what I've seen of the two of them, it's probably whatever Doug sees in Doug's best interests and in the interests of their shared commercial venture.

    As for the kids, I fear they're already pretty much damaged.

  4. Owen and Mound, the thing that bothers me so much here is not knowing whether the Children's Aid Society has ever done any investigation into the situation. Perhaps they have received no official complaints, but surely, given the recent revelations, they have both a legal and moral obligation to open a file and start discharging their duty.