‘He’s the mayor of heaven now’

Rob Ford eu­lo­gized as man of the peo­ple

Cape Breton Post - - PROVINCE -

Rob Ford, Canada’s best­known for­mer mayor, was eu­lo­gized Wed­nes­day as a con­sum­mate politi­cian and lov­ing fa­ther whose se­ri­ous per­sonal fail­ings gar­nered in­ter­na­tional no­to­ri­ety but only pass­ing men­tion on a day de­voted to say­ing a fi­nal good­bye to him.

In a packed down­town cathe­dral, fam­ily, dig­ni­taries and mem­bers of the pub­lic paid their re­spects to the leader of “Ford Na­tion,” who cap­tured as much at­ten­tion in death as he did in life.

“He’s the mayor of heaven now,” Ford’s daugh­ter Stephanie, 10, told the ser­vice as her younger brother Dougie stood by her side. “He helped a lot of peo­ple. He was also an amaz­ing dad.”

Ford, a loved-or-loathed larger-than-life politi­cian, be­came a cer­ti­fied celebrity in light of his ad­mit­ted crack co­caine use, al­co­hol abuse, lewd com­ments and at times out­ra­geous be­hav­iour that trans­formed his may­oral of­fice into an un­prece­dented spec­ta­cle.

It was left to Rev. Andrew As­bil, rec­tor of St. James cathe­dral, to note the im­prob­a­ble heights of both adu­la­tion and in­famy that Ford scaled as mayor.

“You and I, no mat­ter how hard we try, will never have the same no­to­ri­ety nor pop­u­lar­ity nor house­hold fame as Rob Ford,” As­bil said in his homily.

“Very few of us in this room know what it’s like to carry the bur­den of liv­ing your fail­ings and your weak­nesses in such a pub­lic way as Rob Ford. And — this is im­por­tant — very few of us will know what it’s like to ex­pe­ri­ence the love and ad­mi­ra­tion of so many for the work that we do in the same way as Rob did.”

Ford, whose clar­ion call was “time to stop the gravy train,” died last week at age 46, 18 months af­ter a cancer di­ag­no­sis scut­tled his bid for a sec­ond term as mayor, al­though he eas­ily won elec­tion as a coun­cil­lor in his west-end ward.

For two days this week, he was granted the rare hon­our of ly­ing in re­pose at city hall, where thou­sands filed past his Toronto-flag-draped cas­ket.

On Wed­nes­day, a pro­ces­sion saw him leave city hall one last time for St. James, where scores who were un­able to get inside waited pa­tiently on the lawns.

Eve­lyn Cappelli, among those who made it into the ser­vice, called Ford “a man for the peo­ple.”

CP PHOTO

Rob Ford’s son Dougie cries into his mother Re­nata’s coat as he watches his fa­ther’s cas­ket be­ing placed in the hearse fol­low­ing a fu­neral ser­vice at Toronto’s St. James Cathe­dral on Wed­nes­day.

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