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Rob Ford: It's safe to come back to Toronto now

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Rob Ford has nothing to fear. Pride 2011 is history. He can slink back to his office at City Hall.

I can report to the mayor that nothing untoward happened at the great Pride Parade. A million-plus people packed the streets on a brilliant day to celebrate humanity, and diversity. So much more than tolerance -- it was a celebration, a proclamation of love and respect.

I spent most the time calling out for the marchers and those on the floats to spray us with much needed water, which they happily did.

At a time like this, when the narrow-minded and the dividers rule in Ottawa and at Nathan Phillips Square -- soon to come to Queen's Park I guess -- we got a chance to see the true face of this civilized city. I was among those who received a stirring short lecture from a postal worker on the need to protect social services.

It was wonderful to bask in the energy of all the people who came out to represent a very broad range of organizations, from gay hockey players to Catholic high school kids, to the magnificently attired in all their finery.

But I'm sure Rob Ford will get a briefing from City Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti and his camcorder. The councillor skulked around the Dike March on Saturday with his camera seeking evidence on which to base his conviction that Pride Week should receive no city funding next year. He found a few marchers who proclaimed that Israel is an apartheid state. If he'd come back on Sunday, he would have found a happy, celebratory contingent of gay Jews, who carried Israeli flags and touted the benefits of Israelis and Palestinians enjoying cafes together.

Gotcha Mammoliti is like one of the censors in Elizabethan England who checked out the London theatres to prove that the women characters on stage were being played by actual women. And when they got the proof on their camcorders, they shut down the shows.

Rob Ford should be warned that Toronto has changed since he took off for his cottage last week. He provided the punctuation at the celebration on Sunday. His face leered out from every body part.

In the months to come, he'll have to face up to the fact that we know what he did last summer.

This article was first posted on on James Laxer's blog.

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