Neither was this one...

Mel Lastman’s mouth has landed him in hot water. Again.

The Toronto mayor’s comments about cannibalistic “natives” in Mombassa, Kenya “dancing around” while boiling him in a pot is a blunder of monumental consequence.

It was also an ignorant, harmful and racist act.

With the “off the cuff” remarks he uttered before a trip to Mombassa now plastered on newspapers all over the world, a lot of people are demanding that the former furniture salesman resign his post as mayor.

Considering how his so-called joke could ruin the Toronto 2008 Olympic bid, the number of political head-hunters calling for the Lastman’s dismissal is really no surprise. He had gone to Mombossa expressly as the chief political representative of Toronto; to promote Toronto as the ideal host for the Games.

Unfortunately his insensitivity has cast not just himself but the whole city—whose image of multiculturalism and racial tolerance has been tarnished by the insult—in such negative light that some IOC delegates could very well reject Toronto in favour of one of the other bids. All because of this one little “joke.” Paris and Beijing have had their own scandals, but Lastman’s tactless remark comes at crucial time, just weeks before the winning bid is to be announced. If Toronto loses out, Lastman will feel the heat, not just from bid organizers and the media, but also from citizens all over Canada whose hopes of hosting the world in 2008 will have been dashed.

But the Olympic hub-bub only obscures a more repulsive reality: what Lastman said was, simply put, shocking and offensive.

Lastman has apologized, but it may be too late to reverse the damage. The African nations he offended may not retract their anger as eagerly as Lastman has retracted his insult.

That the mayor of one of Canada’s most ‘progressive’ cities could be so unaware of the potential harm of his backward comments will not be soon forgotten.

Ham-fisted buffoonery has long been a Lastman trademark—some would go so far as to call it part of his charm. For sheer idiocy, however, this harmful indiscretion tops any other Lastman screw-up.

The sad truth must be apparent to the entire world—the mayor of Toronto is a moronic moosehead.

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