Toronto Mayor Rob Ford had another busy weekend. He didn’t let a little negative publicity around an unscripted appearance at the Taste of the Danforth the previous weekend stop him from enjoying another one of Toronto’s big outdoor celebrations: The CNE.
Ford kicked off the CNE — for those not from Toronto, a fair with a midway and a lot of deep-fried things — on Friday with a speech. He and his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, also hosted their weekly talk radio program from the exhibition grounds Sunday.
But, Ford’s appearances at the CNE couldn’t be all about rides on the Polar Express and cronut burgers. He was pursued by nosy reporters over the weekend, who asked questions about the latest report from the Toronto Star, which says that two of Ford’s associates — director of logistics David Price and his sometimes-driver Alexander “Sandro” Lisi — are being investigated by police for allegedly trying to track down a video of the mayor smoking crack cocaine. Their efforts to track down the video, the Star reports, came as Ford publicly denied that the video exists. The report goes on to say that Lisi has a fairly long criminal record already, which includes convictions for threatening death, assault and threatening bodily harm. It also says the men went to the home of Fabio and Elena Basso, the one outside which a photo of Ford with three members of a Toronto gang was taken, in order to find the video.
Alas, the weekend must come to an end. It can’t be all fun, games and talking with citizens at the CNE for Ford.
— Mayor Rob Ford (@TOMayorFord) August 18, 2013
The mayor has one big item on the agenda now that it’s Monday. Ford has called council back early for a special meeting on Aug. 26 to discuss what to do about Ward 3. The outgoing councillor for that ward, deputy mayor Doug Holyday, won a provincial byelection for the Progressive Conservatives on Aug. 1 and will be sworn in as an MPP on Aug. 22, leaving his municipal seat empty. Holyday’s jump to provincial politics leaves Ford without one of his most loyal allies, a smart fiscal conservative who was often sent before journalists to explain Ford’s behaviour when Ford himself was slipping in through the back door.
It also leaves the ward short a councillor. Ford is in favour of a byelection, which would cost taxpayers as much as $225,000. However, other councillors — including Holyday — think council should appoint someone to serve in the interim until the next scheduled municipal election in 2014. Ford is also holding a meeting with constituents in Ward 3 to ask them what they want on Aug. 21. It’s a meeting where the official topic is the next councillor in Ward 3, but where those nosy reporters will undoubtedly asked the mayor a few more questions worthy of the “no comment” response.