I was happy to appear on Right Now with Caryn Lieberman on the Sun News Network to discuss Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s handling of the current crisis he is facing. Below is the video of the segment and includes the advice I would provide anyone in this situation.
The reality when a story demonstrates the strength of interest as this one has is that silence is not an option.
Being silent gives your opponents an open mic and does not give you the opportunity to correct the result of any untrue or inaccurate statements that have been made.
Silence has hurt Rob Ford and there is no doubt the only way he is going to be able to remain Mayor is if he begins engaging residents of this city, his peers on Council and other levels of government.
The Mayor needs to be prepared to provide a far deeper statement than the one he has already. He needs to humanize himself, while ratcheting down his own rhetoric and name calling to invoke some sympathy from members of the public who should recognize that no one deserves the degree of attention he is currently experiencing. From a human perspective, regardless of your politics, imagine having to explain the latest allegations about Dad to your children every morning before they go to school and hear about it on the playground at recess? Families feel this stuff more than the elected officials do themselves.
Honesty is critical as is being candid. The mayor communicates best when he is sticking to a narrative, not a speech and his staff need to work with him to provide a full picture response to this. He has to in one clear moment say everything he needs to say, be candid about past drug use and answer the questions he is asked openly and honestly.
Naturally, whether there is or isn’t a video is a significant aspect of all of this, and assuming the Mayor honestly believes there isn’t one and that he actually did not smoke crack cocaine in the last six months, his determination to remain in office and seek re-election can only take him so far, if it is not matched with a good communications plan that begins immediately to address these claims.