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The Beaches Easter Parade bans politicians

(Image: Bunny: daveynin; Ford: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Bunny: daveynin; Ford: Christopher Drost)

The Beaches Easter Parade has occasionally, weirdly, been a magnet for political trouble. Former councillor Sandra Bussin was pilloried in the press for using part of her office budget to buy a bunny suit for use in the parade, and in 2012 Rob Ford is believed to have injured his back while performing his annual photo-op ritual: tossing candy to kids on the sidelines.

This year, according to the Sun, the parade’s organizer, the Toronto Beaches Lions Club, is taking preemptive action: with the 2014 mayoral election in full swing, all politicians are banned from marching.

“We’ve just found it too hard to manage because they don’t adhere to our rules,” parade director Keith Begley told the Sun. Politicians will still be allowed to work the crowd if they wish, but they won’t be permitted to participate in the actual festivities. Begley denies that the decision was made specifically to avoid an awkward encounter with the mayor (who has shown up for the past four years), but the timing suggests Ford was a major factor. This is the first post-crack-scandal Easter.

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VIDEO: Jimmy Kimmel’s latest Rob Ford bit imagines the mayor’s life as a nature documentary

Is Jimmy Kimmel under some kind of secret, CRTC-style obligation to include a certain amount of Canadian content in his show every week? Because he seems to be devoting more time to Rob Ford these days than is strictly necessary for comedy purposes. Last night’s bit felt a little warmed-over, but here it is, embedded above.

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The downtown relief line could be delayed for a year if council doesn’t approve spending this summer

One of several proposed shapes for the downtown relief line. (Image: Courtesy of the TTC)

One of several proposed shapes for the downtown relief line. (Image: Courtesy of the TTC)

Here’s a funny thing about the downtown relief line: even though every mayoral candidate acknowledges it, with varying degrees of rabidity, as a priority (although Rob Ford says he’ll build it only after bringing subways to Sheppard and Finch, which will probably never happen) nobody has advanced a clear plan for paying the eight-or-so billion dollars it would take to complete the thing. And now the Globe reports that the much-dreamed-of new subway line has an even more immediate hurdle to clear: if city council doesn’t approve funding for an environmental assessment in June, the whole project could be delayed by another year.

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QUOTED: Rob Ford, on whether he still does drugs

(Image: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Christopher Drost)

“You know what, you guys ask stupid questions.”

Rob Ford at city hall earlier today, in response to a reporter’s question about whether he still does drugs. At the same press conference, Ford denied having been under the influence of drugs or alcohol during Saturday night’s weird escapades. When asked what he was doing in his office with “two guests” until around midnight that night, he said, “I come back to city hall all the time. I can do whatever I want. It’s my office.”

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Rob Ford’s wild night at the ACC: a four-point recap

Rob Ford meets Toronto Batman outside the ACC on Saturday. (Image: pfunk36/Instagram)

Rob Ford meets Toronto Batman outside the ACC on Saturday. (Image: pfunk36/Instagram)

Anyone fortunate enough to have ignored the news over the weekend missed a sad—albeit unsurprising—story on Sunday. No, not Mickey Rooney. Rob Ford. The mayor made an appearance at Saturday night’s Leafs game, and things, as they have tended to do lately, got out of hand.

Here’s the short version, for your Monday catch-up edification.

1) He was denied special treatment

According to the Star, Ford’s companion during the game, councillor Frank DiGiorgio, says the trouble started when the mayor was denied access to the ACC’s Directors’ Lounge, an exclusive party room he and his friend Sandro Lisi, who has since been charged with drug dealing and extortion, had been admitted to at least once before.

The mayor didn’t take the slight gracefully. Observers say he became irate, because he believed he was being punished for voting against a $10 million city loan to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment for the expansion of BMO field.

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Rob Ford was approached about starring in a reality TV show

(Image: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Christopher Drost)

Isn’t Rob Ford already essentially already a one-man reality show? Regardless, the Globe reports that Pilgrim Studios, the production company behind quality documentary-ish television shows like Swamp Pawn, Dirty Jobs and this Lindsay Lohan miniseries would like to add the mayor of Toronto to its stable of fame-seeking weirdos.

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Toronto Election 2014 Power Ratings: the week everybody got a little meaner

This was a relatively quiet week on the election front, with no major debates and only a few policy announcements, none of them particularly surprising. Rob Ford continues to dominate the headlines, and although the news is rarely good for him, it does, at least, prevent his challengers from getting as much ink as they otherwise might.

Here’s how the candidates stack up this week.


john-tory-election-power-rankings-week-2

John Tory ramped up his assault on Rob Ford’s record this week, and even managed to advance some substantial policy ideas on things like lobbyist registration and food trucks.

Highlight: After promising not to attack Rob Ford on the basis of “personal issues,” Tory nevertheless took a very assertive stance against the mayor on Thursday. At a press conference, Tory unveiled a mayoral “code of conduct” to which he promises to adhere if elected. Item number one: “I will respect and defend our laws, not break them.” The idea of going after Ford as a law-breaker, rather than as a plain-old degenerate, is an interesting one. It’s a neat way of avoiding the appearance of condemning the mayor for having a messy private life—though of course, until Ford has actually been charged he’ll always be able wave aside any accusations of criminal wrongdoing.

Lowlight: During the launch of his code of conduct, Tory’s campaign staffers distributed a press release that contained a quote attributed to someone named “XXXXX”—presumably a placeholder for the name of some prominent citizen who hadn’t yet agreed to attach his or her name to Tory’s words. It’s no secret that press-release quotes are bullshit, but it’s sloppy for a politician to call attention to the fact. A spokesperson for Tory later said the quote was from former Ontario attorney general David Young. Also, during a food-truck rally, Tory ordered a grilled cheese from Caplansky’s instead of smoked meat, which was obviously the wrong move. In fairness, he’s watching his weight.

Power Rating: Three

Ice Cream Flavour: Vanilla: no fudge, no cherry, kiddie-sized.

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VIDEO: Doug Ford explains to the mayor why some people move away from home

Rob and Doug Ford released their fifth batch of Ford Nation YouTube videos today. This time, rather than tackle topical issues like whether or not Kevin Spacey is an SOB, the bros respond to some viewer mail.

At one point they read a letter from someone named Anthony, who says he’s originally from Michigan, but now resides in San Francisco. And that’s when Rob gets confused. As a lifelong Toronto resident, except for a brief stint at Carelton University—and, we’d add, as a child of wealth and a guy whose friends and siblings tend to live with their parents—he’s convinced all this “moving away from home” business is an American thing. Doug takes it upon himself to explain, and the whole exchange develops into a sort of closet drama of unexamined privilege. Depending upon where you come down on Ford, it will either charm or terrify you. Here’s a transcript (and the video is above).

Rob: So, maybe you can explain this, Doug. You’ve spent a lot of time in the States. It seems like, I was born in Toronto, I went to school in Toronto, and I live in Toronto. But it seems like it’s different in the States. They’re born here, but they end up living somewhere else. Or, they go to university somewhere else.

Doug: That’s traditionally the situation, because the country’s so massive. And there’s job opportunities everywhere. They’re born in one area, live maybe in a couple places. Some people live in the same city, then they go to college in another town, then they get a job and they move throughout the country. That’s just the makeup of the country.

Rob: Is that how the economy works? That’s interesting.

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New food-truck rules are a go! Kind of

(Image: Metro/Google Maps)

A map showing all the curbs where food trucks can’t park. (Image: Metro/Google Maps)

Thanks to the valiant efforts of Toronto restaurant-industry lobbyists and skittish city councilors, Toronto will not become a lawless frontier town, ruled by roving bands of sandwich artisans.

This morning, Toronto awoke to a new world of slightly improved mobile-vending possibilities—“slightly” being the key word. After two days’ worth of hemming and hawing over the fate of Toronto food trucks, city council finally cast their votes. On the plus side, they agreed to adopt a set of new rules designed to make the city more hospitable to roving food vendors. That said, they also voted to nix a batch of truck-friendly reforms to the proposed policy, which were recommended last month by the city’s licensing and standards committee.

That means that trucks will be allowed to park in pay-and-display parking spaces downtown, but will have to abide a three-hour time limit and stay at least 50 metres away from operating restaurants—a restriction that, judging by Metro’s quick-and-dirty analysis in the map above, makes much of downtown core off-limits. (The 50 metre rule doesn’t apply to private lots, where trucks will be able to operate more freely.) BIA management boards will also be able to apply to have food trucks banned from their territories.

According to the Globe, councilors who voted against the reforms were worried that too many food trucks on the roads may lead to literal fistfights. It’s always a little alarming when Rob Ford’s opinion stands out as the sole voice of reason. “Let ‘em sell what they want and let the customer decide,” he said. We have to agree.

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Rob Ford may not be charged, but he could still be forced to testify

(Image: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Christopher Drost)

The CBC points out an interesting footnote to yesterday’s news that the police investigation into Rob Ford has stalled: even though it’s looking increasingly unlikely that the mayor will be charged with any crimes (though it’s worth noting that Toronto Police say they’re still on the case), he could be forced to testify under oath when his friend Sandro Lisi goes to court in late 2014.

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John Tory issues a mayoral “code of conduct” that’s really an elaborate burn on Rob Ford

(Image: Tory: Ontario Chamber of Commerce; Ford: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Tory: Ontario Chamber of Commerce; Ford: Christopher Drost)

In one of the weirder moments of the 2014 mayoral campaign so far, John Tory gathered reporters this morning to announce the release of his personal “code of conduct.” It’s a literal ten commandments of mayoral “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots,” all seemingly reverse engineered from Rob Ford’s worst blunders.

Here’s commandment number two:

I will show up for work each day to get things done, and I will do this in a transparent manner. This includes keeping a weekly schedule that is public and easily accessible.

And so John Tory’s guarantee to you, the taxpayer, is that he’ll do his job in a way that makes it obvious he’s actually working, and not off, say, inspecting piles of dirt somewhere.

And then there’s number seven:

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QUOTED: Elena Basso, on the unwanted attention that came with Rob Ford’s crack video

15 Windsor Road. (Image: Google StreetView)

15 Windsor Road. (Image: Google StreetView)

“The fucking goof did it at my house.”

-Elena Basso, whose house at 15 Windsor Road in Etobicoke is believed to be the location where the infamous Rob Ford crack video was filmed. According to the Star, a newly released batch of police documents contains transcripts of conversations recorded just a few days after Gawker broke the news of the video’s existence. In one of those recordings, Basso says the above. She also describes the “heat” that was coming down on the neighbourhood drug trade, telling Mohammed Siad Liban Siyad, the man who tried to sell the video to Gawker and the Star, that she has “Rob’s people and cops coming every day” to her house. But forget all that: how perfect (and adorably old-timey) is it that Basso describes the mayor Mohammad Siad, the man who shot the alleged video of Ford smoking alleged crack, as a “fucking goof”?

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that Basso was speaking with Mohammed Siad about Rob Ford. Recent developments clarify that Basso was speaking to another associate, calling Siad a “fucking goof.”

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VIDEO: here’s what Bill Clinton thinks of Rob Ford

Even Bill Clinton, no stranger to personal problems blowing up into political scandals, is floored by Rob Ford. We know this thanks to Jimmy Kimmel, who quizzed the former president about our mayor on last night’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!. The video is embedded above.

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The Toronto Police investigation into Rob Ford hits a snag, as the OPP steps back

(Image: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Christopher Drost)

Last week, rumours began circulating that Rob Ford’s arrest was imminent. The front page of today’s Star describes one reason that was never true: the Ontario Provincial Police, who were called in to oversee the Toronto Police investigation into the mayor’s activities last month, have reduced their role in the case after a disagreement with Toronto detectives.

And disagreements don’t get more fundamental than this. According to the Star, the OPP takes issue with a central assumption of entire Toronto Police investigation: that the mayor or his associates used extortion in an attempt to recover the crack video. The Star’s sources say OPP detective Chris Nicholas, who was assigned to oversee the probe, believes Ford was actually a victim of extortion, not the perpetrator.

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VIDEO: watch a small child do Rob Ford’s crack denial

The video above, in which a nine-year-old uses the now-classic “I cannot comment on a video I have never seen or does not exist” excuse to avoid responsibility for a crack-related misdeed (the crack, in this case, being a literal crack in a glass pane), is equal parts adorable and disturbing. It’s the work of Ron Murphy, a director whose current projects include TV shows like Trailer Park Boys and Lost Girl. This particular piece, he says, was done pro bono, to call attention to Rob Ford’s not-so-family-friendly ways—and not on behalf of anyone’s mayoral campaign.

The actor in the clip is Tony Nappo, and the girl is his actual daughter, Ella. “The most disturbing thing is that Ford’s words and logic fit in her mouth way too well,” Murphy told us.

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