Recent headlines have highlighted the mayor of Canada’s largest city, Rob Ford’s, crack cocaine addiction. After coming out with the addiction he has been faced with intense pressure to resign and in more recent weeks he has admitted to buying illegal drugs while serving as mayor. Negative publicity and the lack of support from Toronto citizens have caused the Toronto city council to vote and strip Mayor Ford of most of his authority. Controversial times like this calls for an increase in communication between Mayor Ford and the citizens of Toronto. Rational communication is a goal orientated interactive theory that has three aspects:
- The discussion is unrestrained, which means that all participants are allowed to speak freely and be able to present positions without fear of being restricted.
Citizens of Toronto want answers from the man they elected to represent their city. Questions are arising left and right, and rightfully so. The smartest PR tactic for the mayor during this time would be to answer these questions himself. Having someone speak on his behalf or even worse, not responding at all, only opens a window for unreliable sources to answer in his behalf.
- All advocates must have a right to self-representation or the freedom to speak for themselves.
With that being said, although Mayor Ford should have professional representation to help him handle the negative slander, he is entitled to speaking freely about his addiction and the steps he is taking to recover. Mayor Ford was quoted by BBC News saying, “I’ve admitted my mistakes, I’m not going to sit here and go on and on and on.” The citizens of Toronto also have the right to speak freely about their opinion of his actions as well as the reasoning why he should still be in public office.
- A full complement of norms and expectations must be in place under the conditions of rational discourse.
The people of Toronto have norms and expectations for the mayor they elect for their city. Mayor Ford has violated these expectations by his recent illegal activity. Not only has he infringed the expectations of the city’s people but of his staff as well. Fox News reported that he is losing 11 staffers, including Chief of Staff Earl Provost. Mayor Ford and the Toronto’s city council should be communicating on equal grounds and maintaining certain expectations from one another.
If Mayor Ford followed the rules of rational communication he would not be in the predicament he currently is faced with. Even with all the negative publicity he is currently facing, Ford is still determined to run for Prime Minister. He is hoping that the people of Toronto and the citizens of Canada will be able to overlook his past mistakes and instead, focus on his goals for the future.
-Alex Corrigan, Kaitlin Batson, Parker Farfour & Caitlin Ford