Skip to main content
road sage

So Toronto mayor Rob Ford has been photographed reading a stack of papers while driving his Cadillac Escalade along the city's busy Gardiner Expressway. It's the third time he's been caught driving poorly. This past July, he got into an argument with a streetcar driver. In July 2011, he was spotted talking on his hand-held phone while driving.

When confronted by the media about this latest incident, Ford was sanguine. "Yeah, probably. I'm busy," he explained. "Trying to catch up on my work. You know, keep my eyes on the road, but I'm a busy man."

Now, there is only one question on the minds of citizens: What was Rob Ford reading? What was so engrossing that he would risk, at worst, a serious automobile accident and, at best, further tarnishing his already spotty public image? What was he reading?

After extensive research, Road Sage has unearthed two possible answers:

1) Memo: From the Mayor's Office. Toronto. Advisory Meeting Minutes.

Subject: Ways We Can Build Confidence in Mayor Rob Ford.

Following his release from hospital last week, our polling shows that Mayor Ford's approval rating amongst Torontonians who do not describe themselves as "actively" or "passively" disliking the mayor has gone up. This is a good opportunity for us to muster support for the mayor's many exciting civic initiative(s).

At this critical time it is important that we be aware of the mayor's public image. We must be careful. Over the next following weeks the mayor should refrain from doing the following:

  • Launching his “War on Mobility Scooters.” As we have explained to Mayor Ford, mobility scooters are not bicycles or e-bikes. We repeat: THEY ARE IN NO WAY RELATED TO BICYCLES. They help disabled people move about the city. Declaring war on them would not be popular and would not hurt the bike lobby in any way. Please DO NOT declare war on mobility scooters in the near future.
  • As per our discussion yesterday we are endeavouring to arrange for the mayor to increase what we are calling his “external popularity” rating. It seems unlikely that we can convince Torontonians, whose city is stagnating, not to have an aversion for him but we believe that with the right spin we can encourage people who do not know who Mayor Ford is, and are in no way affected by his policies, to have feelings towards him that range from “ambivalent” to “moderately non-aggressive.” Hence the future trade mission to Chicago. As of the writing of this memo, we have no reason to believe that the people of Chicago or their politicians have any reason to actively dislike Mayor Ford.
  • The third item is very important: driving. The mayor has already been sighted talking on the phone while driving and arguing with TTC officials. This is conduct that is not becoming of a mayor. In short, the mayor must refrain from the following activities: eating while driving; talking on his cellphone while driving; texting while driving; leering while driving. In short, anything other than driving while driving.

We believe that if Mayor Ford adheres to these objectives he should be able to build on the very small amount of good will his unfortunate illness has triggered. The only way to undermine this would be to ignore them. Still, even in a worst case scenario, he could ignore the first two items – just not the last.

2) Publisher's Galley: So, Now You're Mayor of a Large Canadian City – Advance reading copy.

Congratulations! If you're reading this book, you've become the mayor of a large Canadian city. Being a mayor is a full-time job. It's like having a large family, but instead of, say, three or four kids, you have five million, and instead of being children many of them are adults – adults who are about to be very angry with you.

You're probably feeling a little scared and mixed up. Don't worry. You'll get over it. You have questions. Lots of questions. If you're the mayor of Winnipeg, maybe you're wondering how you can alleviate the plight of the homeless. If you're the mayor of Vancouver, you want to know how to increase the number of safe injection sites. And if you're the mayor of Toronto, you're wondering how you can go to KFC to score a couple of Double Downs without ending up on YouTube.

Don't Worry! Be Mayor! It may seem hard, but being mayor is all about projecting the right image. It's about showing people you're in charge and can be trusted – it's about showing them that you're not the kind of person who would take crazy, unnecessary risks with your safety and the safety of those around you.

And there's no better way we know to project a mayor-like image than with your driving ...

Follow Andrew Clark on Twitter: @aclarkcomedy