09.17.2014 07:15 AM

When your opponent has cancer, do you attack him?

Now, I don’t know if Rob Ford has cancer. But, based on the stories that are emerging, based upon what political people are hearing, few will be surprised if the Mayor’s doctors reveal – later today – that his tumours are cancerous.

So, if you are in the middle of an election campaign, how do you handle that kind of news? Here’s how Doug Ford says Olivia Chow handled it:

“Doug Ford said one of the things buoying the family is all of the outpouring of support from the public.

“We appreciate it so much,” he said, adding the mayor is aware many people are praying for him.

One of the biggest supporters behind the scenes, said Doug, is mayoral candidate Olivia Chow, who has been “amazing.” Mayor Ford, said Doug, thinks highly of her.

“She has been so kind,” said Doug. “She is a great lady.”

Chow told me that she and her late husband, Jack Layton, always had great affection for the mayor — perhaps not in political philosophy but in approach and personality.

“I will never forget when Jack died, Rob cried like a baby. He was really hurting about it,” Chow said. “I also appreciated all of his work behind the scenes on the memorial for Jack. Rob told me at that time, anything we needed, he would do.”

She said he came through on it.

Chow said she is hopeful the mayor can make it through this rough patch and get well.”

John Tory, meanwhile, has taken a different approach. He has decided to attack someone who is in a hospital bed, and who he knows – he knows! – is facing a serious cancer diagnosis. As he did with Jean Chretien’s disability, Tory hasn’t hesitated to attack someone when they’re down.

Knowing John Tory a little bit, I know that he isn’t the nice guy he professes to be. He is, instead, an old-fashioned politician who is prepared to go low – really low – to win. He is prepared to attack a man who, by some accounts, is fighting cancer.

Anyone who has read this web site, over the past 14 years or so, knows my cardinal rules:

  • Don’t attack an opponent’s family.
  • Don’t attack the way an opponent looks.
  • Don’t attack an opponent’s personal life.
  • Don’t attack someone who is sick or disabled.

John Tory has – more than once – attacked an opponent who is sick or disabled.  For that, alone, he does not deserve your vote.

Oh, and this: I fully expect Doug Ford to remind fair-minded folks, over and over, about what John Tory has done.

John Tory may not like the results.


  1. BrianK says:

    Don’t attack someone who’s sick or disabled – someone should have told that to Doug before he told the father of an autistic child to “go to hell”. The situation with Rob is tragic, but lets not allow that to whitewash some of the pretty terrible things that Doug has said and done at city hall. He is, after all, a declared candidate for mayor.

  2. Derek Pearce says:

    WK, your point is valid in general but I don’t see what Tory said (at least from that linked article) that is an attack on Rob Ford. He’s attacking the way Doug has treated fellow councillors, yes? Also, it can’t be emphasized enough what BrianK above reminds us, that Doug is a POS who attacks autistic kids for votes. That makes him *worse* than Tory for his (totally sickening) Chretien ad, actually. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but Doug’s wrongs are in fact worse.

    I’ve accepted the fact that Tory will likely win, and since he’s far enough ahead of Doug that there’s no chance of any RoFo/DoFo victory, I will not vote strategically, so will vote for Olivia as my preferred candidate. But I doubt there are enough like me now to save her.

  3. Matt says:

    Despite past comments and photo’s, don’t underestimate the hate Doug Ford currently has for Tory.

    I think he’d rather see Ms. Chow win than Tory.

  4. bazie says:

    From what I can tell in your link, Tory attacked DOUG Ford. Doug Ford is running for election. It is entirely appropriate that others can attack him. You don’t go “haha your brother has cancer” but pointing out why he is a bad candidate for the position he is running in is entirely fair game. Heck, it is entirely fine to connect Doug to Rob and Rob’s failings.

    Having sympathy for Rob Ford and not mocking his illness (things like “thank god that guy got cancer!) are totally unacceptable. But that doesn’t mean one just completely whitewashes either Rob and certainly not Doug from now until election day.

    • Warren says:

      Bullshit. Said they’re attached at the hip (which is tasteless, given how he knew, at that moment, where the main tumour was located). And have the guts to use your real name, Tory Team troll, or we’ll expose you.

      • Bazie says:

        Expose me all you want, my (left wing) blog is right there in the link. I’m a teacher so I use a pseudonym, but that doesn’t make me a right wing troll.

        I just disagree with the view that because someone has cancer you can’t attack them for their political record. Wish them well for the cancer, of course, but explaining why they (or their brother) are unfit for the offices they are running for is fair game in my book. Attached at the hip is a common phrase, obviously not meaning to have implication about the cancer, stop reaching.

        Btw, I say this as someone who has cancer myself.

        • Just Askin' says:

          Your sociopathic defense of John Tory combined with your penchant for needlessly lying reminds me of John Tory’s buddy who wears an unfashionable Kangol hat all the time.

          • bazie says:

            Thus far I have been accused of lying (about what? that I have cancer?), being a sociopath (really?) and being a Team Tory troll (despite linking to my blog whose top post is pro Olivia). Man, this topic really seems to flame the passions, which I sort of expected from random commenters but was surprised from Warren. I’m sorry, but I think it is not unreasonable to claim that attacking someone’s political record is still fair game even if ill, even if making fun of the illness clearly is not. You can disagree, but settle down on the responses!

            Incidentally, I said the same thing from Layton when he died. One should speak about his record as it was, not merely deify him.

  5. !o! says:

    slightly off topic… but Tory: ‘therell be hell to pay’? seriously?
    There’ll be hell to pay if other people who I have no control over don’t jump in to help keep the promises I made and were criticized for not being able to pay for?

  6. Paul Terant says:

    Advocatus Diaboli

    Message discipline = message consistency e.g:

    Red-hot Liberal Jodie Emery posts on freemarc.ca: “My Inquisitor (Stephen Harper) has pale blue eyes. Karla Homolka eyes. A disturbing, dead watery blue. Pale and pasty skinned, it occurs to me, in need of blood, vampire-like.”

    Indeed, the narrative of the Liberal Party is to portray the Prime Minister as a sociopathic criminal. This is arguably libel. Stephen Harper has never been arrested, never been charged with any crime.

    Worse, the Liberal narrative constantly references Stephen Harper’s sometimes lack of ruddiness which is the result of his asthma (it is difficult for those afflicted with asthma to oxygenate the blood adequately.) Stephen Harper is an asthma sufferer and as such, he is not a super-jock like Justin Trudeau who enjoys shirtless photo-ops like Vladimir Putin.

    This ableism seems to cut to the very core of the Liberal narrative of being the party of sensitivity and caring. It speaks to the inherently vicious character of this party that will look for any weakness – even physical disability – to exploit in the pursuit of power at any cost. Is it any wonder Canadians circle the wagons to defend themselves against these ravenous jackals?

  7. Todd Robsson says:

    Call me crazy … but Doug’s outpouring of love towards Chow … might take soft votes for Tory back over to Chow … ultimately helping Doug?

    Not that he is not grateful for her comments and support, but Doug Ford is also a very shrewd campaigner.

    Or maybe I need to be less cynical when it comes to anyone in Toronto actually having a heart?

    • Just Askin' says:

      John Tory used to be their friend, but turned his back on them when it was politically expedient for him. Tory then proceeded to kick a man when he was down. Rob Ford, for all his foibles, stood by Sandro Lisi when the going got tough. I’d rather have a Ford or a Chow in my corner than a ditherer like Tory, who would be gone as soon as the going got tough.

      This recent incident has solidified things for me that Tory would be a terrible Mayor.

  8. Matt says:

    The doctor did seem optimistic about the treatment plan, but a part of me believes there is something more we don’t know.

    The doctor only gave the information Rob cleared him to give.

    Maybe I’m wrong and it’s just my natural skepticism, but I know someone with knowledge of the case and he was told Rob has received radiation treatments already in the past few days.

    The doctor said nothing about that.

    • Matt says:

      having said that, Rob can allow as much or as little information about his condition to be released as he wants.

      Personally, I think he’s released enough for voters in Ward 2 to make an informed decision on October 27th.

  9. Steve T says:

    While I agree that you should not attack someone who is sick or disabled, for their sickness or disability, there shouldn’t be a moratorium on attacking them politically, if they are a politician.

    I’m not saying that’s the case in the Ford situation – I’m just addressing your list. It concerns me when someone who is disabled thinks they can make an unchallenged run for political office, since any criticism of them is seen as cruel. If they are putting their hat in the ring, then all critiques of their political views should be fair game.

  10. patrick says:

    I think you can attack Ford for being Ford and stigmatize Doug as being the same. Misfortune deserves sympathy, actions demand criticism. The Fords should be criticized until they are run out of politics forever.

  11. Corey says:

    Give the voters some credit. There’s a difference between campaign tactics & who actually would be the best Mayor.

    Attacking the Fords on the basis of the illness of Rob is probably not wise politically (Warren is right there), but sometimes there’s a difference between what political operators think a candidate should do/not do and what the people are actually looking for when they vote.

    A year ago Toronto voters thought they wanted Chow, then realized she is not what they were looking for, is not particularly articulate nor able to answer questions without a script. Her plans aren’t popular (i.e. tearing up subway construction contracts). In short, she doesn’t behave like a Mayor. The Fords have no chance after the past 4 years. To suggest Doug Ford could win this election assumes a terrific ignorance or amnesia on the part of voters. So where all of this leaves us at this point John Tory will be the next mayor of Toronto, and talking about Rob Ford’s illness won’t change that. He’s the only one who looks like a Mayor, although I will concede that discussing Rob’s illness is not really helping there. Voters want to choose the best leader, and Tory has won that argument.

    • Corey says:

      One addition to my comment: Having read the article that you linked Warren, I’m more convinced of what I said above. Tory is attacking Doug as a politician, questioning his bona fides to be Mayor and implying his policies are no different than his brother’s. I see no risk to that, there’s nothing personal about that.

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