“It was the obvious choice.” Was the consensus among city councillors as they exited the chambers Friday afternoon, many of their eyes red-rimmed following what was described as an emotional session trying to decide how to honour the former mayor, who passed away last week after battling cancer for the past 18 months, and public opinion, scandal, substance abuse, other councillors, and (perhaps most of all) himself, for a great deal longer than that.
“There were motions to name a park after him, or a football field, or the Gardiner expressway, or even a new platform at Union station with a 24-hour bar and relaxed security guards. But none of those seemed as good a fit as christening one of the safe injection sites after a man who himself battled with substance abuse.” Said a council member who declined to be named, citing the current ban on saying anything about Ford other than: “He was a man of the people.”
“He was a man of the people.” Said Jim McGreaves, founder of the FordMoreYears Instagram account when reached for comment on the development. “And that includes those who struggle with drug addiction. Obviously.” Though he did go on to express disappointment that his petition to change the district of Etobicoke’s name to ‘Ford Nation’ had yet to gain significant traction.
Another anonymous council member, who also referenced Ford’s gender and its relationship to the people, albeit somewhat perfunctorily, noted that while it was unlikely Ford would have voted for safe injection sites in Toronto while he was in office, “I think that now would be a different story. Safe injection sites represent a last chance for people who have struggled through extended battles with addiction and related challenges. So yes, I think given the recent passing of Mr. Ford he would be in favour. Generally speaking, I believe the deceased are for anything that involves another chance.”