The Toronto Catholic District School Board is ditching Rob Ford as the volunteer coach of the Don Bosco Eagles. The news—which broke on Twitter this afternoon—will likely be a significant emotional blow to the football-loving mayor, who started the Don Bosco program in 2001 and has been known to sneak out of the office early to coach. The TCDSB has been reviewing Ford’s involvement since March for comments he made to the Toronto Sun implying that many of the school’s students are gang members and come from broken homes—something the board called a “completely inaccurate portrayal of our students, our school and the community.” Though the decision is apparently unrelated to the crack cocaine ruckus dogging Ford since Friday, we’re sure the negative attention didn’t exactly help his cause. Read the TCDSB’s press release [Torontoist] »
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Rob Ford has studiously avoided addressing his alleged proclivity for smoking crack for four days, though pundits, councillors and premier Kathleen Wynne (plus ex-jailbird Conrad Black) are all still asking for a more thorough response than the one he gave Friday. However, Ford’s refusal to speak didn’t seem to bother late-night hosts Jon Stewart, Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel, all of whom riffed on the story—Kimmel even found a creative way to get an interview with the mayor. See the rest of the videos below.
We expected a bumpy ride with Ford as mayor, but we weren’t prepared for a self-sabotaging Lindsay Lohan of politics. With a new scandal every week, it’s easy to lose track. Hence, we present a scrapbook of two very long years in Fordlandia.
The troubled relationship between Rob Ford and premier Kathleen Wynne took another southward turn yesterday when the mayor urged the NDP party to bring down the Liberal government. Wynne’s Liberals tabled a $127.6-billion budget on Thursday that the Progressive Conservatives have already vowed to vote against. During his weekly radio show on Sunday, Ford called on the NDP to do the same and trigger a provincial election. “The leader of the NDP party, Andrea Horwath, should just say no,” he advised, explaining that the Liberal gas plant scandal has the public clamouring for an election. Funny how Ford’s latte-sipping, bicycle-riding, gravy-train-riding vitriol conveniently disappeared the second he wanted something from the NDP. [Globe and Mail]
Olivia Chow, who has been toying with reporters about a possible mayoral run for months, is penning a memoir that’s supposed to come out in early 2014, right around the time campaigns kick off. The book will cover most of Chow’s life, including her move from Hong Kong to Toronto at age 13, her political career and—for lovers of the trustache disappointed by CBC’s lackluster biopic Jack—plenty of details about her relationship with Jack Layton. Her literary agent says the book is also going to touch on Chow’s decision to run for mayor—provided that’s what she decides to do. Either way, she’s figured out how to convert election speculation into book sales.
Rob Ford and Dalton McGuinty had trouble playing nice sometimes, and Kathleen Wynne’s arrival seemed like an opportunity to improve relations between Queen’s Park and city hall. Then Wynne embarked on an ambitious campaign to find new revenue sources (like taxes and tolls) to pay for transit expansion, a notion Ford has made very clear he doesn’t support. Things quickly devolved from there. Here, a timeline chronicling Ford and Wynne’s steadily souring relationship.
Michael Cooke, the Toronto Star’s tabloid-minded editor, is on a mission to expose the corruption and crookedness of the city’s secretive establishment. Every week brings a new target: the premier’s office, Marineland, the College of Physicians, and always Ford, Ford, Ford
It was early December of 2011, and Kevin Donovan was hellbent on publishing an exposé of Ornge, Ontario’s $150-million-a-year air ambulance service. Donovan, who runs the Toronto Star’s investigative team, had already spent two years sniffing around the company. Though he didn’t yet have the facts to back up his hunch, he was convinced something was amiss. He decided to take a chance and write a story about precisely what he didn’t know: how much Chris Mazza, the doctor who created and ran the publicly funded agency, and his vice-presidents were being paid. It was a Sunday, typically a slow news day, so Donovan figured the piece was a shoo-in for a front-page placement the next day.
Rob Ford has many fans. According to a poll conducted by Forum Research a couple of days after Sarah Thomson accused Ford of groping her, 43 per cent of Torontonians said they approved of the job he is doing as mayor. The pollster tried to explain Ford’s popularity to a Toronto Sun reporter. No bad press ever sticks to Ford, he said. “He’s made of Teflon.” I don’t think that’s exactly right. I suspect that Ford’s gaffes, his brushes with the law, his peculiar malapropisms and hysterical outbursts endear him to much of Toronto.
He’s unpolished and sincere—rare qualities in a politician. We live in an image-conscious age when even low-level public figures have press advisors. And yet Ford never seems fake. During the speech he gave after he won his conflict of interest appeal (the one in which he said the experience of being almost ousted was “very, very humbling”) he looked beaten down, sad and vulnerable. I wondered if he was perhaps a little disappointed that he still had a job. We know that he often sneaks away from the office to coach football. If he were unemployed he could coach full time, without fear of rebuke.
Rob Ford had yet another bizarre run-in at city hall on Monday, when, rushing out of an executive committee meeting, he was smoked in the face by a CityTV camera. (The mayor’s response: “Ah f— man. Holy Christ.”) The incident was sufficiently ridiculous to make international headlines, and even got the slow-mo play-by-play treatment on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Sigh.
Yesterday saw the birth of two new GIFs that are sure to take their places in the Toronto GIF Hall of Fame next to classics like Rob Ford playing football (he fell) and the Raptors’ mascot rollerblading (he also fell). First, Ford displayed his well-honed sense of mayoral decorum by pretending to puke in response to Metrolinx’s shortlist of proposed taxes and fees to pay for transit expansion:
Each year, Queen’s Park releases the sunshine list, a catalogue of all the Ontario public servants who made $100,000 or more—and, because the $100,000 threshold hasn’t changed since the list’s inception in 1996, that exalted group now contains nearly 88,412 members. (Were the benchmark tied to inflation, it would now be over $139,000, cutting the list to about 18,000 people.) Since most people have better things to do this long weekend than sift through tens of thousands of names, we put together this cheat sheet of 2012’s most high-profile recipients of public largesse.
I consider myself a good politician so if we had term limits, I would not be in politics anymore—at least down at this level. I’d have to go into provincial or federal.
–Mayor Rob Ford, who served three terms as councillor for Etobicoke’s Ward 2, on one of the reasons he thinks voters, rather than a three-term limit, should end councillors’ time in office. We bet the scenario Ford describes is as alarming to the mayor’s opponents as it is to his supporters, only for very different reasons. [Toronto Sun]
Are we supposed to just let it go? Well, we cannot let it go.
–Clayton Ruby, the high-profile lawyer who nearly got Rob Ford booted from office, on why he’s asking the Supreme Court of Canada to hear a final appeal in the mayor’s conflict-of-interest case. Ruby says he’s not being a sore loser; rather, he argues that “holding politicians to account is a matter of importance to all Canadians” and that the case raises interesting legal questions about the powers of municipalities. Still, even if Ruby manages to convince the Supreme Court to hear the case (the court accepts less than 70 of the 1,000-plus appeal applications it receives each year), the appeal would likely wrap up shortly before the 2014 election, meaning an ousted Ford could potentially win his job right back. [Globe and Mail]