The rainbow flag will remain flying for the duration of the Olympics

Toronto’s fun-loving mayor Rob Ford didn’t like the rainbow flag that went up on one of the many flagpoles outside city hall on Friday, and he tried to have it taken down.

The flag-raising was meant as a response to Olympic host country Russia’s anti-gay laws. Several other municipalities around Canada have done the same.

Ford wanted it taken down as soon as he saw it. 

The Olympics, “is about being patriotic to your country, this is not about someone’s sexual preference,” he told reporters. 

It is? That’s funny. I thought the Olympics was about going beyond “your country” to international amity and friendly competition. Yes there’s a tension there; yes the nationalism often drowns out the internationalism; but I didn’t think patriotism was supposed to be the official point of the whole thing.

And the rainbow flag doesn’t reduce to just “someone’s sexual preference.” Way to miss the point, Rob Ford.

But it’s not his decision to have the flag taken down. The city’s protocol officer is the only one who decides what flags fly from the city hall`s “courtesy” pole. That pole hosts all sorts of flags during the year — for autism week, fair trade, and to honour the national days of dozens of countries, from Azerbaijan to Israel. The Canadian flag is always flying on several other poles around city hall.

City Manager Joe Pennachetti sent a letter to the mayor and councillors reminding them of flag protocol on Friday afternoon.

Pennachetti noted the rainbow flag is flying at the request of the 519 Church Street Community Centre, the heart of Toronto’s LGBT community, and will remain flying for the duration of the Olympics.

So there, yabooSUCKS, Rob Ford.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said he supports keeping the rainbow flag up, saying it sends a message to the host country, which has been under fire for its anti-gay laws.

“There’s no antagonism between the two flags,” said Kelly. “Cities right across the country are doing this. This is an expression of Canadianism.”

In protest, Ford placed a Canadian flag in his office window. Upon leaving city hall Friday evening, he said he still wants the rainbow flag removed.

What a crap. Fun-loving Rob Ford is a crap.




  1. AsqJames says

    The Olympics, ”is about being patriotic to your country, this is not about someone’s sexual preference,” he told reporters.

    Maybe the city’s protocol officer felt that because of Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, flying the rainbow flag meant he *was* being patriotic.

    In fact Mayor Ford’s attitude seems the unpatriotic one to me – why wouldn’t he want to proclaim and endorse Canadian values? Doesn’t he love his country?

  2. Al Dente says

    Despite what Ford’s brother may claim, it seems obvious to me that Rob Ford is homophobic. He makes a point of never attending Toronto’s Gay Pride Parades and the raison du jour keeps changing. So I’m not surprised he objects to the rainbow flag flying over city hall.

  3. says

    Yes. Rob Ford, not just a total buffoon, but a total shit.

    Anyway, on a more positive note, it was heartwarming to see how that whole thing went down. At a request from a gay rights activist, the city council of St. John’s, Newfoundland voted unanimously to raise the pride flag at their city hall. The mayor and council of Montreal were inspired and they did it too (including putting up rainbow coloured lights at the Olympic Stadium). By the afternoon, nearly all the major cities in Canada had a pride flag flying.

  4. Doubting Thomas says

    Not that I pay much attention to who the mayor of Toronto is but really, why is he still the mayor? Is this some sort of ‘Canadians are to nice to flush this turd’ thing?

  5. says

    @6 He won’t resign and the next election isn’t until October (which he’s running in). The city council did the only thing they could and stripped him of most of his powers. Because they did this, the provincial government sees the situation as handled adequately by the municipality and won’t intervene. There is no option of a recall vote or anything of that sort. The police are still investigating and may still charge him with something. He’s got a pocket of about 25% die hard support because they like his fiscal policies (low taxes while whining at the province and feds for more money to pay for stuff the city can no longer afford) and down-to-earth persona (answering constituent calls and holding barbecues), and see his outrageous behaviour and drug/alcohol abuse as purely personal problems that have no effect on his job.

  6. rnilsson says

    Aw cm’on, the Mayor only wants to hide his flagging pole behind a fig leaf. Except all he needs to cover is a leaf of Maple.
    So sweet, if you thing about it. (Grapes being sour, etc.)

  7. Glendon Mellow says

    As this tweet points out, his protests are probably not meant to actually cause the flag to come down. It’s a signal to the conservative and often religious voter base that won him the last election. If the flag comes down, he wins. If it doesn’t come down over his protests, he also wins by playing the victim card.

    Our city was amalgamated with the surrounding suburbs years ago, and in the case of Ford’s 2010 win, the downtown core largely rejected him. (Handy map on Wikipedia here.)

    To add to Ibis3’s comment, the other reason the province will not likely step in to remove him (they have the power to do so) is that for a Liberal (slightly left of centre) premier to step in an remove a right-wing city mayor is seen as setting a bad precedent.

  8. says

  9. Jenora Feuer says

    @Your Name’s Not Bruce:

    Well, the ‘it overlaps with my family vacation’ excuse was already wearing thin back in 2011 when NOW magazine offered to pick up the tab to fly Rob Ford directly from his cottage in Huntsville to the island airport in Toronto and back, only taking half an hour each way.

    I don’t think they thought they were risking any money by offering.

    I agree with Glendon Mellow’s comment above. This isn’t about getting the flag to come down, it’s about playing to the base for the next election. He’s been playing to the politics of resentment for as long as he’s been in politics. It’s to the point where the group studying the ‘Downtown Relief Line’ subway proposal won’t call it that in public, because the word ‘downtown’ will automatically lead to a backlash from the people of East York and Scarborough, even though they’re the ones who will actually benefit the most from that line. (Mostly by giving people from the Don Valley area a way to get to the core of downtown that doesn’t involve going down the already-crowded Yonge line.)

  10. says

    @14: It’s to the point where the group studying the ‘Downtown Relief Line’ subway [etc]

    Which is so utterly bloody stupid. When I was growing up in TO, I thought it was great that I could get damn near anywhere (but particularly: downtown) on the subway. Ottawa’s transit system — for a much smaller city — sucked by comparison. Seriously, no one in North Scarberia ever wants to go downtown?

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