The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale:
Council speaker Frances Nunziata read Ford’s proclamation of Pride Week in place of the mayor, whom she later said had “other commitments” she could not identify. Her speech was interrupted by Dan Fraser, a 48-year-old corrections officer who is gay, and his friend Richard Warner, a gay 55-year-old retail salesperson, who stood in a crowd of more than 200 in Nathan Phillips Square.
“Where’s the mayor?” Fraser shouted. “We want Ford. Forget it, Frances. It’s a disgrace. It’s an absolute sham.”
After the backlash Ford received last week when he announced he would be going to his cottage instead of attending the Pride parade, breaking a thirteen year tradition, I half-expected that he would make a half-hearted appearance at City Hall today, reading the proclamation for Pride Week and raising the rainbow flag.
It would have been a redemptive move. Some would have criticized him for only attending due to political pressure, but it would have been better than nothing. An indication, at the very least, that the mayor does rebuke those who would call him homophobic.
Instead, the mayor doubled down on his snub, coming up only with the feeble excuse that he was not able to attend this morning’s festivities because he was taking part in a walkthrough of the Air Canada Centre with Leafs GM Brian Burke:
The association with Burke is, I guess, supposed to suggest a kind of solidarity, given that the Leafs GM is a major supporter of PFLAG. But that line of thinking is so ridiculously idiotic that it’s hard to comprehend. A tour of the Air Canada Centre — a building the mayor has been in probably hundreds of times, including one time in 2006, when he told a sports fan in attendance that she could go get raped and shot in Iran — is exactly the opposite of the kind of event that should preclude the Mayor of Toronto from attending the kick-off to one of the most important cultural events the city holds.
UPDATE: After I published this story, the Toronto Star updated their article to include comments from Ford, who wore a Leafs jersey upon emerging from his office after being MIA all morning. He told reporters that he would take things “one day at a time” when considering whether to attend other Pride events or the Pride parade itself. I still hope he does.