In response to last week's email, we were copied in on a discussion between senior Rotarians on the subject. They weren't speaking on the record so we won't quote them directly, but suffice it to say that they were far to polite to make a public issue out of Ford's aggrandizement. They did add a few useful comments:
- "Just for the record... the Paul Harris Fellowship Award is really the only recognition award that most clubs have to honour someone within a club or the community. It is very common to refer to it as the 'highest' honour. So likely when Doug Ford was presented with his - he was told that."
- "The true purpose (of the Paul Harris Fellow) was and is to recognize the contribution of $ 1k USD to our Rotary Foundation."
- Some clubs do try to link actual community service to the Fellowship. The Toronto chapter, for example, will only award it to a club member who has been with the club for 10 years.
The Rotarians were careful to distinguish between club-level and foundation-level recognitions. Of course, that's not how Ford described it at all. Once again Ford has co-opted the good faith of people actually working to make a difference in their communities and turns it into cheap political points.