By Brad Whitehouse
Associate News Editor
Loud, red-faced and brash, Rob Ford is the mayoral candidate many Torontonians love to hate. He’s been criticized for opposing bike lanes and streetcars and some just find him downright crass. Yet, he lead the polls in recent weeks, and for some Ryerson students he’s the candidate that they plan to vote for not in spite of, but because of his roughneck persona.
“He’s a pretty edgy guy. He speaks his mind. I think it’s about time the city had something like that,” said Solomon Gill, a second-year nursing student.
He admitted that a vote for Ford is a dicey decision, but said he would put his check next to the conservative’s name on his ballot next week.
“I think I’d go with the risk of voting for him,” he said. “It would be a cool change. He seems like a cool guy.”
Carol-Anne Fraser, another second-year nursing student, said she agrees with Ford’s ideas, but couldn’t think of any of his policies as an example.
“I haven’t really taken responsibility to look into stuff myself,” she said.
What she does know is that he’s bold, and regardless of her knowledge on his political platform, she said that’s something she can get behind.
“He’s willing to not care what people say,” she said.
But for some students, Ford’s brazen comments are just a lot of hot air.
“I personally don’t understand why he’s receiving all the support,” said Rabeea Siddique, a second-year psychology student. As a commuter, she says she can’t support a candidate who wants to cut back the public transit that gets her to class everyday.
The Ryerson Students’ Union used Ford’s controversial quote, “Multiculturalism is not my priority”, on posters for a panel discussion hosted by Students Against Racism.
But while some voters see Ford as a political bully, his supporters say that he is the one getting picked on by media.
“It’s an easy target for them. It’s easy to make fun of someone because they’re fat,” said Stefano Agostini, a third-year business student.
“At the same time, Smitherman has his own problems. He had a five-year drug addiction. I don’t hear people talking about that.”
And Agostini said he doesn’t care if Ford is likable or not. He likes the that Ford is blunt and doesn’t mince words
“I don’t care about his personality as long as he’s saving money for the city.”