The Rob Ford Circus has laid bare the void at the centre of modern Canadian Conservatism. Michael Harris writes that the party -- and what it stands for -- has degenerated into what he calls ROFO Madness:
ROFO madness is when you smoke crack cocaine and show up in videos making death threats. Your mother blames it on your weight problem. Then you sell bobblehead dolls of yourself to people lining up to have their picture taken with you.
As with business and government, and news and entertainment, notoriety and celebrity have merged. And there are always cheerleaders in the media — no matter how many times you pull your pants down in public.
And so, having been ditched by CFRB, the Ford Brothers are headed for SUN TV, where they will become the Jerry Springers of Canadian television. But the madness cannot be contained to Toronto. Consider the reaction of the Harperites to the trials of their political linchpin. Consider, most particularly, the reaction of Peter MacKay, the Minister of Justice. His ministry has busily been enshrining more severe punishment for drug users. And Mackay has declared Justin Trudeau unfit for office. Harris writes:
Here’s what Canada’s justice minister said when the sinophile currently leading the Liberal Party admitted to taking a toke:
“By flouting the laws of Canada while holding elected office he shows he is a poor example for all Canadians, particularly young ones. Justin Trudeau is simply not the kind of leader our country needs.”
But MacKay applies a different standard to the mayor:
But when Rob Ford admits to buying and smoking drugs — including crack cocaine — while holding elected office? When he admits to drinking and driving, maybe even drinking on the job? Not a word about law-breaking from Peter. Not a word about fitness for office. Not a peep about coming up a tad short in the role model department. No, Peter MacKay gushes compassion and intones that that the mayor “needs help”.
This is hypocrisy squared. On the one hand there is MacKay’s partisan hypocrisy, offensive because it involves issues of equal justice. On the other, there is the Conservative Party of Canada’s deep policy hypocrisy.
The hypocrisy suggests that the Harperites are hollow at their core. They live, T.S. Eliot wrote, in "death's twilight kingdom."