Our Ford, the (Lord) Mayor of Toronto is rabidly right-wing. No doubt about that. After all, he recently proposed exiling Toronto’s convicted criminals, most of whom tend to be persons of color. Fellow Conservative and immigrant-bashing minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, endorsed the idea. Still, I would never have imagined the Mayor of Canada’s most racially-diverse city with his beefy arm wrapped a white supremacist. Until now. Yep, that’s Our Ford in the photo above, with Jon Latvis, a member of the neo-Nazi band RAHOWA (Racial Holy War).
The photo is also available on Latvis’ Facebook profile, with the caption, “Me meeting with Toronto’s Mayor, Rob Ford to get an endorsement for the Latvian Homeguard — at Toronto City Hall.” Former Liberal spin doctor and punk rocker, Warren Kinsella, unearthed the photo, taken during the 2012 New Year’s Levee, and posted it on his blog. Ford met with Latvis again in March.
Ford’s press secretary, George Christopoulos, does a pretty clumsy job of explaining the situation. For example, what in the world is an “online blog”? Any ways, here’s what he’s to say via:
Statement from the Mayor’s Office
An online blog today posted a picture of Mayor Rob Ford meeting a citizen during the 2012 New Year’s Levee at Toronto City Hall. The blog alleges the man posing with the Mayor is a member of a hate group and has a history of making racist, hateful and offensive comments.
The Mayor of Toronto meets, and poses for photos, with thousands of residents each year. Over the past two years, the Mayor has hosted two New Year’s Levees. These events welcomed over 800 visitors to City Hall, and 700 to 750 of them were personally greeted by the Mayor who posed with them for photographs.
While having his photo taken with the Mayor, the gentleman in the photo requested a meeting with the Mayor to discuss issues of concern to him as a constituent. The Mayor routinely receives these requests from members of the public and makes every effort to accommodate them whenever possible. In March 2012, the gentleman met briefly with the Mayor to discuss his concerns which primarily focussed on transit issues.
During both the Levee and the March meeting, the gentleman identified himself using a name different from the one attributed to him in the recent blog article. Once the photograph was posted online today, Mayor’s Office staff recognized the individual as someone who had met with the Mayor at the Levee and again in March.
At no time was the Mayor aware of allegations that this individual had made racist, hateful or otherwise offensive comments, nor were any such comments made during his meeting with the Mayor. Mayor Ford is a strong supporter of Toronto’s Jewish community and strongly deplores anti-Semitism in any form.
Press Secretary, Office of the Mayor, City of Toronto
Not to worry, though. The right-loving corporate media is doing a splendid job of apologizing for Ford. And re-framing the issue. Consider these headlines:
- Ottawa Citizen: Jewish group satisfied about Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s explanation of controversial photo
- National Post: Mayor Rob Ford poses with neo-Nazi musician (who is in uniform), says he wasn’t aware of his views
- Globe & Mail: Mayor Ford denies knowledge of former neo-Nazi musician’s identity
My nervous glimpses into the online resources Latvis and other Canadian neo-Nazis are associated with turned up a lot of prejudice against blacks and other races in Canada and elsewhere. The point is: this isn’t just about the Jews and past crimes.
And, where are the tough questions?
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