A caveat to this video: I am not posting it for any sort of politically partisan reasons whatsoever. As a visiting journalist in Canada, I have no pony in the Toronto mayoral race. I am simply posting it to further debunk the long held myth, among my country-folk, that Canadians are categorically demure and retiring — “Sweet” was the word Tucker Carlson used once. (He also used the words “retarded cousin” but that’s another matter.) Carlson, of course, is perfectly situated to perpetuate myths. His opinions reach millions of living rooms through the magic of television. At the advent of television news, Edward R. Murrow described the technology as a powerful instrument for truth. These days it’s more often a powerful instrument for broadly disseminating whatever pops into your head.
For example, at the end of an interview with then-candidate Barack Obama’s foreign policy adviser, Susan Rice, Tucker asked her about “Canada-gate.” This was the micro-scandal in which the campaign allegedly told Stephen Harper’s administration something like, “I mean we said we were gonna maybe take another look at NAFTA and maybe dismantle it but but we’re not, I mean not really. Don’t worry.” Rice played down the incident — saying it was a low-level staffer in the campaign talking to a low-level staffer in the Harper camp. The Canadian government is investigating the matter, she said.
“Yeah,” said Tucker, “And when Canadians investigate… look out!”
They both laughed.
If there’s no other point of agreement for partisan foes in America, at least they can mock Canada together.
Anyhow, the clip below was not, to my knowledge, broadcast widely in America. It’s from a documentary by Min Sook Lee called “Hogtown: The Politics of Policing.” (Hogtown is just a nickname for Toronto.) The “fat fuck” in question is Rob Ford. He’s the big, blond one standing in the distance as the clip begins. Ford is a long-time city councilor here in Toronto and, currently, a very viable and controversial candidate for mayor. He’s famously anti-bicycle, or at least anti-bike-lane. He’s spoken out against having homeless shelters in his ward, which is in the western suburb of Etobicoke. So his constituency as a candidate is largely suburban as well.
The speaker of the words “fat fuck” (or… “mouther” of the words, I guess, because he never actually says them out loud) is John Barber, a stalwart political columnist for the Globe and Mail who now writes for the books section of the paper — though I don’t think this incident had anything to do with the reassignment.
I should also say this was shot after a particularly late council meeting, and long before the current mayoral race. The documentary came out in 2005. But lots of folks up here have been forwarding it around as election day gets closer, posting it to their Facebook pages, etc., (and yes for very partisan reasons).