On Monday, November 11, veterans, members of the community, and politicians gathered in front of Old City Hall to pay respect to those who fought in the Canadian military in the wars and missions that have taken place since the beginning of the twentieth century. However, based on the reaction of some who attended the ceremony, attention was not fully devoted to honouring the country’s war veterans — Rob Ford’s presence was seen by many as the event’s main spectacle.
In order to continue a long-standing tradition, the mayor attended the ceremony and gave a brief speech to honour veterans on behalf of Torontonians. Despite the content of his speech, some in the crowd decided to take this time to express their disapproval of the mayor: he was greeted with boos upon arrival.
Whether or not the mayor should have attended the ceremony wearing the Mayor’s Chain is another question. In the end, Ford decided that he would put his embarrassing issues aside and take part in the Remembrance Day ceremonies, just as mayors before him have done for decades. His presence or absence at the ceremony was up to him alone.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, reporters flocked to Ford looking for answers to their questions about his personal life and his intentions for the future, in light of the confirmation of his drug use and the release of a video of him yelling vulgar and threatening slurs.
Those who attended the ceremony and decided that it was an appropriate time for them to vocalize their disapproval for the mayor were mistaken. Remembrance Day is the one day of the year where the community gathers together to honour those who have fought and fallen for the well-being of the country.
To erase the boundary between this day of honouring, remembering, and mourning and current news concerning the mayor’s personal habits blurs the meaning of the day and, puts veterans in a subordinate place to the highly-entertaining, disappointing, and controversial life of a man who unfortunately holds the position of mayor. This Remembrance Day, those who spent a solemn ceremony focusing on Ford’s behaviour disrespected veterans in an unforgivable way.
Elizabeth Benn is The Varsity‘s Sports Editor.