Oh, Canada. We used to be quiet, so nice; dare I say understated. We followed rules and on the rare chance they were broken, we apologized profusely. We withstood the coldest of winters, we brewed good beer and our unique sense of humour saw us through the hard times. We didn't go on drunken Miami joy rides in yellow Lamborghinis. We didn't consort with violent criminals or smoke crack. That was as laughable to a Canadian as not using snow tires. Because we are responsible. But with Justin Bieber’s Miami DUI and assault charges andMayor Rob Ford’s um...adventures, we’re seeing a shift in how the world sees us and how we even perceive ourselves! And we’re not happy.
So, Canada, we’re inviting you to lunch -- but surprise! -- instead of going to your favourite chain restaurant all of a sudden you’re in a hotel banquet hall with stained carpet and dusty drapes and look! There’s Usher and he’s here to lead your intervention, and not a second too soon.
When Bieber took refuge at a Panama resort following his arrest for DUI earlier this month, his long-time pal and mentor, Usher, flew in and reportedly gave him a good what-for. We don’t expect much self-restraint from celebs and certainly not teenagers. Imagine convincing a near-billionaire teenager he needs to “settle down?” Good luck with that; I’ll be over here in the “Vintages” section of the liquor store waiting to see how you make out.
But an intervention from someone he respected prompted Bieber to do “the right thing”. The singer turned himself into Toronto police Wednesday night to face assault charges involving a limousine driver last December. He still has legal battle to face in California over hurtling eggs at his neighbour, but he seems pointed in a sane direction.
Can we say the same about Rob Ford? Sadly, the Mayor of Canada’s largest city could learn a thing or two from the teen idol. While both are known to act like petulant children with power and a remarkable lack of impulse control, only one of them is actually close to being a “child.” And oddly, he is the only one owning up to his behaviour (and increasingly scary allegations!)
While Bieber operates in the fantasy-entertainment world, Ford, sadly, affects our real life and the viability of a city. It’s a mistake to dismiss him as a punch line or fodder for a gossip column. I’ve listened to several Justin Bieber albums and sat through two of his movies. Were they life-changing for me? Nothing that a few Advil didn’t solve. But a municipal leader can enact changes that directly affect your ability to be mobile, seek childcare, receive assistance, and forge our identity as citizens. It’s time we took this more seriously.
Mayor Rob Ford still has time to take a cue (gasp!) from Justin Bieber by directly acknowledging his shortcomings and doing something about them. So how long do have that banquet hall rented? If we can get Usher on board, I know someone who could use it.