May 16, 2014

By Michael Kramer

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Toronto mayor Rob Ford has made an unscheduled appearance in cottage country.

An employee at a dry-cleaner in Gravenhurst says Ford stopped in to get a suit cleaned today.

And in Bracebridge a resident says he chatted with Ford outside of a local bank – about his experiences in rehab.

The Rob Ford phenomenon came under the microscope today at a Washington think-tank. A symposium explored the factors that lead to Ford’s election – and enduring core of support.

The topic: “The Rob Ford Phenomenon:What’s Going On In Toronto?”

Canadian university professor Anne Golden explained the history of amalgamation and the Toronto mega-city and how voters were frustrated with a long garbage strike, biting taxes and a perception of waste at City Hall — and how Ford’s promise to “stop the gravy train.” struck a chord.

One Washington academic suggested that the parallels between Ford and ex-Washington mayor Marion Barry went beyond smoking crack cocaine and that they both drew political strength from segments of society that have a fear of being ignored by the urban elite.

The symposium was conducted exactly one year to the day after news broke of Ford’s alleged crack smoking video.

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