For a week or so I have been reading articles like this one where Rob Ford says that the Occupation at St. James Park is illegal and at some point the law will be enforced. When asked at what point the law will be enforced he says that it will be soon. Then he claims that they will likely go away by themselves anyway.
I understand Mr. Ford’s dilemma. It is the same problem facing every municipal leader that is unfortunate enough to have to deal with one of these Occupation protests. They are clearly committing a crime by squatting on public land, but if police are sent in to enforce the law the situation will be uncontrollable by the elected officials. Regardless of how much blame the mayor actually deserves, it is guaranteed that if violence ensues the mayor will be blamed.
The problem is that by saying the police will eventually be sent in but not saying when, Rob Ford is likely breathing life into the protesters.
Many of the protesters already despise Rob Ford (if their signs are any indication), so by being critical of the protest Rob Ford is setting him up to be the perfect vocal point of the Occupiers. Rob Ford is providing an enemy that is not abstract. He could become the embodiment of the great evil power that must be defied.
At the same time by not actually doing anything about it, Rob Ford is making it appear that defiance is not just possible, it is easy.
“I can have all the fun of standing up to the man (i.e. Rob Ford),” thinks one inclined to join the protest, “but without actually having to risk a baton to the head or a night in jail.”
Rob Ford needs to stop pussyfooting around and either be the man of action we all thought he was, or stop saying anything on the issue at all.