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A play-by-play of the escalating Ford-family feud with police chief Bill Blair

(Images: Blair: Courtesy of the Toronto Police Service; Fords: Christopher Drost)

(Images: Blair: Courtesy of the Toronto Police Service; Fords: Christopher Drost)

While it’s somewhat understandable that Doug and Rob Ford would be unhappy with the Toronto Police Service’s ongoing investigation into the mayor’s activities, this week’s escalating hostilities between the brothers and police chief Bill Blair are completely baffling. Demonizing enemies is chapter one in the Ford-family crisis-management playbook, but fighting with Blair gives the appearance of an effort to undermine the rule of law, which is something most politicians would avoid.

How bad is it? This is a direct quote from a press conference Rob Ford held earlier this afternoon:

If he’s going to arrest me, arrest me. I have done nothing wrong. And he’s wasted millions of dollars. I want him to come clean and say, how much money did it cost the taxpayers? For surveillance on me and planes that he had to rent. That is absolutely game-playing, it’s politics. And I am not apologizing.

Here’s how things got to this point.

1. The press conference
The beginning of open hostilities between Blair and the Fords was October 31st, when, at a news conference convened just for the purpose, the chief made an explosive declaration. Police have the crack video, he told reporters, and it’s all it’s cracked up to be. At the same press conference, when questioned about whether the video had shocked him, Blair said, “I’m disappointed.”

2. Doug Ford fires back
On November 5th, in a series of media appearances, Doug Ford went on the attack. “This is the most political police chief this city’s ever seen,” Ford told Breakfast Television’s Kevin Frankish. “He went out believing he was the judge, jury and executioner, he’s created a bias towards the mayor, he’s also compromised himself and jeopardized the case.” On the same day, Ford said he’d be filing a complaint about Blair with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.

3. Rob Ford invents an ulterior motive
In a December 9th interview with Conrad Black on VisionTV, Rob Ford claimed that the ongoing police investigation into his activities was politically motivated. “I want to save money, and I guess [Blair] disagrees with that,” Ford told Black.

4. The Steak Queen video
On January 21st, the press discovered a cellphone video of an extremely inebriated Rob Ford delivering a slurred, Jamaican-accented rant about Blair to fellow customers at Etobicoke’s Steak Queen restaurant. In the video, Ford calls Blair a “cocksucker,” among other things.

5. The official complaint
Earlier this week, it emerged that Doug Ford had actually made good on his threat to lodge an official complaint about Blair, and that the Office of the Independent Police Review Director was investigating. Although the substance of the investigation was initially unclear (Ford had told some reporters, apparently incorrectly, that his complaint had to do with a fishing trip Blair took with a police board member) we now know that Blair is being probed specifically as a result of his “I’m disappointed” comment in November, because of Doug’s belief that the chief’s disapproval could prejudice the justice system against the mayor.

6. Blair responds
During an interview on Wednesday, the Star asked Blair about his reaction to the mayor’s “cocksucker” comment in the Steak Queen video. “It’s a filthy obscenity. It was a disgraceful thing to do. And I found it disgusting,” Blair said.

7. Doug Ford, again
This morning on AM640’s John Oakley Show, Doug Ford lashed out at Blair once again, this time suggesting that the chief’s criticism of the mayor was part of an effort to ensure John Tory’s victory in the 2014 mayoral campaign. “[Blair] might as well just stick a John Tory button on his chest and go around there and start campaigning, in my opinion,” Ford said.

Which brings us to the present. Blair is usually reluctant to wade into controversy, and so his willingness to comment on the Fords is a little odd. The police investigation into the mayor’s activities is still active, so we can only wonder what the chief isn’t saying at this point in time.

  • Steven Eaton

    It is a clear conflict of interest for Rob Ford to attack the Chief and the police department by declaring it a waste of money to investigate Ford. He should be impeached for this if you ask me. Its entirely inappropriate to declare the investigation into his illegal a waste of money and attempt to politicize the investigation.

    Rob and Doug are pathetic disgusting individuals who attack everyone and never take responsibility for their actions. I actually believe they are trying to provoke the Police and Chief in the hope that they make an error and derail the current investigation. They are hoping to set up grounds to fight future charges that they worry will soon be laid against Ford. They will argue that Ford can’t get a fair trial and that the police have conspired against him. OJ style…

  • dannyR

    The shame has passed from Rob Ford to the city council itself for failing to take the matter to the province for legislative action.

    At this point, for the sake of the whole country and for an example for all provinces, laws must be enacted so that such socially deranged mayoral candidates have no chance of even appearing on a ballot. Nor has this anything to do with charges or convictions. I would be more likely to elect someone like Rob Ford if he were years out of prison with a completely clean and reformed life than someone acting out like a post-pubescent buffoon in arrested teenage development.

    In short, he’s not socially old enough to be voted for. It’s up to council to do the right thing. Get the province to act, and act now.

  • dannyR

    Impeachment wouldn’t go far enough. What is needed is a general, legislative, action to remove such problem-individuals from the ballots before they even get in a position do more damage.

  • Justin Flontek

    The longer this goes on the more the Fords come across as gangsta wannabes.

  • candolf

    All I can say, all I’ve got left is … I am so incredibly sick of these 2 knuckle dragging, goons.

  • vera

    It’s the same resources they spend on all criminals they investigate!! These 2 criminals want to bully the city and deter the spotlight from their shenanigans. #standuptothemblair!

  • SusanWasHere

    There is no impeachment mechanism in the governing legislation, otherwise he’d have been gone months ago.

  • Steven Eaton

    They can be impeached for a conflict of interest. Thats what some were attempting to do when they investigated the football charity conflict. Likely no one wants to bother with this conflict due to the time and expense. I think everyone who thinks the Fords should go will be gearing up to campaign against them deliver them a resounding defeat in Oct. Record vote turn out. Complete collapse of support. These two will be ranting and screaming like the spoiled ignorant brats they are as Rob slips in the polls… The more they pull stunts like yesterday the more they will collapse. They are too uninformed to realize an attack campaign will back fire if waged over 10 months. The public will soon associate them only with negativity and nastiness. The horrible vibes the Fords give off is repulsive and they will only lose popularity. They will never win another voter…they will only lose supporters as more people learn the truth about them and come to know them better.

  • SusanWasHere

    The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act doesn’t cover any of this, and was not intended to. It is a very narrow statute that really only addresses pecuniary interests and voting practices. Ontario has no general statutory impeachment mechanism for municipal officials.

  • Steven Eaton

    Shame if thats correct. Clearly we need to have these rules put into place. The Mayor should not be allowed to critique an investigation launched on himself. If he wants to attack the investigation he should resign from his position first.