How much longer can Rob Ford go on?

The question is part legal, but mostly political


Did he lie?

Misled, dissembled, prevaricated — pick your label for Rob Ford’s response to last spring’s crack video story. But “lie” is an elastic word in this legalistic age. Go back to the garbled comments issued last May by Toronto’s large, imperfect mayor and his brother Doug, you’ll notice a confounding arrangement of verb tenses and conjunctions that left open the possibility that some day some video might surface, at which point they’d be forced to watch it and consider whether it indeed showed His Honour huffing on a crack pipe and applying homophobic epithets to Justin Trudeau.

Even the mayor’s most unequivocal denial—”There’s no video … you can’t comment on something that doesn’t exist,” he told his radio audience May 26—leaves room for Clinton-esque parsing. Yes, the police say they have a video answering the description of the one detailed in the Toronto Star. But it had been deleted from the computer hard drive and had to be recovered by a team of experts. Can a batch of digital files from which police techies re-assembled footage be described as a “video?”

Shouldn’t matter, of course. Most politicians would by now have bowed to convention and stepped down—as several councillors urged Ford to do. Even the most die-hard Ford supporter must accept the truth Coun. Joe Mihevc’s assessment: “The mayor’s been caught delivering falsehoods, delivering a lie to the people of Toronto.”

Yet Ford has vowed to soldier on, emerging from his office Thursday just long enough to say he sees “no reason to resign,” and to claim the involvement of the courts in the affair prevents him from publicly defending himself.

How much longer can this go on?

The question is part legal, but mostly political. Surely danger lies ahead for the mayor, given the surfeit of court evidence released that suggests his dealings with dubious characters runs deeper than those of a buddy who doesn’t throw his friends under the bus. The most important is Alessandro Lisi, who has been described as a part-time driver for the mayor and stood accused of drug-trafficking crimes before the police announced the rediscovery of the footage.

Lisi is now facing an extortion charge in relation to the video and, while police have not identified his alleged target, it has been reported that he and another man paid a visit on May 20 to 15 Windsor Rd., the home of Ford friend Fabio Basso and the address where the video was reportedly filmed. The Star has reported that Lisi was looking for the video, and that one day later, a man turned up at the home and beat Fabio Basso with an extendable baton (police confirmed an assault took place).

Who, if anyone, asked Lisi to go looking for the video is surely a question at the heart of the extortion case. So too is how far Lisi went in any effort to obtain it.

What, if anything, Lisi is willing to tell police about this episode may be a question of enormous importance to Ford.

Meantime, court documents released Thursday have raised questions about Lisi’s alleged role as a facilitator of Ford’s drug and alcohol use. Surveillance teams following him this summer said they watched repeatedly as he and Ford passed like ships in the night at an Esso station near Ford’s house in Etobicoke, Ont.

On several occasions, the officers said, Lisi placed a package in Ford’s Cadillac Escalade truck while the mayor was inside the gas station store.

Investigators also reported watching Lisi and Ford meet to drink. On July 28, the documents say, Ford stopped at a McDonald’s drive-thru, then met up with Lisi at a nearly school yard, where they sat in Ford’s truck. After Lisi drove away, the watchers said, Ford put the McDonald’s bag in a trash can; investigators later found it contained two empty vodka bottles.

On another occasion, a Tuesday, they waited as Ford and Lisi met for an hour in woods at an Etobicoke park; officers later went to the scene and recovered bottles suggesting the men had been mixing Iceberg vodka and Tropicana grape juice—a drink commonly known as a Purple Jesus.

Lying; sneaking off to drink; quite possibly driving drunk: It’s behaviour you’d associate with a wayward teenager, not a mayor. And this time Ford can’t wave it away as fable spun by the Star, a paper he and his brother have portrayed as a crew of journalistic knee-cappers who’d gladly run a “made-up story” to stop their agenda. This time the authors are police officers. Some of them are respected senior investigators whose work Ford in no position to disparage.

Which brings us to the political.

Even if it’s all true, one wonders if this is enough to sour members of the Ford Nation on their plus-sized idol. They’ve had six months, after all, to digest a steady flow of damaging reports about the mayor’s drinking, company and behaviour. A few remained in denial, chalking the stories up to hostile media. But most seemed to accept Ford as a flawed man who might well be substance-dependent; as long as he stood against taxes and scolded the lefties on council, they were okay with it. In a recent poll, 39 per cent of respondents voiced approval of the mayor’s performance.

Still, there are visible cracks in the dam. Perhaps the only surprise bigger than Ford’s defiant refusal to address the existence of the video Thursday was the Toronto Sun joining the city’s other three daily newspapers in calling for him to step aside. To this point, the tabloid has been Ford’s staunchest media ally. Gloria Lindsay Luby, a right-leaning councillor who has backed the mayor in the past, echoed the advice adding: ” I think he’s been lying to a lot of people, for a lot of people.”

And the loyalty of Ford’s believers is about to be put to the ultimate test. While the video is currently part of evidence in Lisi’s extortion case, it’s a matter of days before media lawyers will ask the court that it be released for public viewing, arguing that its contents are irrelevant to Lisi’s legal fortunes. Would seeing their mayor puffing on crack pipe be too much even for his admirers?

Sometimes, even for resolute deniers, seeing is believing.

Nathan Denette/CP

Toronto police released a 300-page document that details evidence they collected in order to get a search warrant for Ford’s friend Alexander Lisi:

Rob Ford police document



How much longer can Rob Ford go on?

  1. He won’t be able to drag out his stay in office, beyond the next election. Ford’s political was double tapped today. First the arrest warrant and then the video.

  2. Well, the city is being run more competently than it has been in decades.

    • What’s the bottom line Rick? How low are you going to drop the bar? If an elected official was sexually abusing kids, would it be ok if they ran a tight ship?
      There is surely nothing wrong with being fiscally prudent, but this is beyond the pale. Hanging out with gangstas? Shady drug deals? Chugging vodka in cars? Home invasions? Murder? Conservatives should drop him like a bad habit and Ford should have enough sense to see the toll he’ll take on the brand by staying.

      • if it takes a crackhead to clean up city hall than it takes a crack. we had the ‘dad premier’ of ontario and he stole 1.1 billion to save one seat. ford is a competent public administrator and has done a great job. AND again with this liberal media defamation against conservatives. justin trudeau admitted to doing drugs while in office. do you hear the media crying for his resignation? NOPE!! they instead glorified it. and the fact that the argument is crack vs weed isnt valid. where does the buck stop? a drug is a drug plain and simple. if you argue ford should step down, than so should justin trudeau

        • Wrong on two counts there, though: Ford is not a competent public administrator and has not done a great job. To the contrary, his policies are foolish and incoherent, to the point where he had already become fairly irrelevant due to inability to get a majority of council to vote for his pet notions.
          But if he were, sure, I’d be right with you–that there Mussolini, people might have some beefs but he made the trains run on time* so it’s all good, right?

          *Actually, Mussolini didn’t make the trains run on time either.

          • It’s easy to see that the paid Liberal/NDP ghouls are out in full force the way the comments are being marked tonight.
            Even if every charge alleged to have been committed by Ford is eventually supported by hard evidence, which despite years of “Media Party” smears has yet to be proved. Ford’s record would be just a pale shadow of the waste and corruption which passes for business as usual at Queens park!

        • “we had the ‘dad premier’ of ontario and he stole 1.1 billion to save one seat.”

          Hey, what do you think of Tim Hudak promising to close the same power plants during the election? Or rather promising to “steal” the same 1.1 billion just to win one seat? Just curious.

          • The PCs argue that Hudak would somehow have done it for a lot less (to which I call BS).

          • Bubba, you got it all wrong. Who chose to put the power plants there in the first place? The Liberals. Who put their tail between their legs when the location proved impolitic? The Liberals. The issue wasn’t whether the Conservatives would also have closed the plants, the issue is whether the Conservatives would have put them there in the first place. The answer: no.

        • Poll Canadians on casual marajuana use vs. crack use and compare the numbers.
          Populists believe that if the majority of citizens rally behind a notion, it has merit as an expression of the people’s will.
          Fools get into bed with crackheads and drag their brand into the gutter. It’s a chump’s game to support crap like this.
          Do you think Harper will support Ford’s decision not to step down?

          • What Harper thinks in this situation is irrelevant. This is Rob Fords call. Like it or lump it.

        • “A drug is a drug plain and simple.”
          My hope is that an important person in your life becomes a crackhead — then come back here and explain to everyone how the effects of crack are no different than smoking marijuana.

          • That’s pretty much the hallmark of conservatism.

        • What happened to tough on crime? Can we have a list of when it is okay to be tough on crime (when the Liberals do it) and when crime is irrelevant? Because even though I know the good “when the Liberals do it” master, number one consideration, I’m still confused. For example, are Wright, Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau Liberals now?

      • Pickngrin, I just read your line about voters potentially supporting an elected official who has sexually abused kids so long as he is doing a good job as a politician. I just posted a comment that was similar to yours.
        The most important thing I look at is the ethics of a politician. I don’t care if that person is to the left, centre, or right. I want to support someone who has a good sense of ethics. The current mayor does not have that.

        • My main problem is not the mayor’s possible drug use, but the shady people with whom he associates. How can I have the confidence in a mayor who may make important decisions based on the potential influence of his shady associates?
          If the mayor has a drug problem, I hope that he can get help so that he can continue to live.

      • Dude! Seriously? Drop the bar? Farther than Miller did? Farther than Premier Dad? How much of your tax money are you willing to give to incompetent mis-managers (or in Wynne’s case, Ms Mis-managers) to spend on “green energy” (green, in terms of how much MORE $$$ you will have to pay for hydro if green energy isn’t repealed), smart (hydro) meters that don’t work, air ambulance that sits moth-balled, eHealth infrastructure that is unaccounted for in the billions, and live theatres downtown that are bought by the city to “preserve them” on your dime and mine? Is that the dropping bar to which you refer? The biggest differences between Ford and the lefties he despises (e.g. Miller and McG-Wynne-ty) are these two: 1) Ford is blue collar while the other two are white collar elites, and 2) Ford’s foibles are fully public and worn on his sleeve while the lefty elites do everything on the hush-hush. Which is better or worse? You decide. As for me, I’m glad to know the extent of the bad judgment of my leaders and prefer it not be hidden away from us until it’s too late to do anything about it. Ford is far less evil than those he replaced. Over and out.

      • You lefties have been trying to nail Ford’s ass to the wall for years. In spite of all the heat and BS coming out of the “Media Party” the fact remains Ford has not been charged with any of the offences that you rhymed off in your rant. Give it a rest, lets see who can put up hard evidence that will actually stand up in court.

    • You mean, because the mayor is too distracted by scandals to attempt to run it, so the professionals in the bureaucracy with decades of experience are handling things? Well, maybe, but I still believe in democracy.

    • Crack-smoking has been the answer all along! Conservatives are ahead of the curve, obviously.

    • Your invite to next year’s picnic is assured… think Steve will show up?

    • If the only politician The Right can put forward to implement their tax-cutting, government-shrinking agenda is an apparent crackhead with cross-addictions and a demonstrated habit of serial mendacity, a guy who hangs around with known felons and petty criminals and who rarely puts in a full day’s work, I’d say your talent base is pretty thin.

      • Yes He should be running for the Ontario Liberals. If you really want to hit the big leagues of theft, incompetence and fraud.
        They are the only game in town!!

        • So refresh my memory:

          Which Liberals are being tailed by the police and captured on video habitually consorting with petty criminals? Or hiring thugs to work for them that wouldn’t pass a criminal reference check in any other job? Or frequently turning up at civic events apparently sh!t-faced? Or routinely turning up for work around noon, if at all (on the public’s dime)?

          I must have missed those news stories.

    • @ Rick Omen; The process of municipal government and decisions it makes are the end result of votes by all council members. The Mayor may tip-the-scale (no pun intended) on tied issues but Mayor Ford is now of far more embarrassment to Toronto than of any real benefit and if council has collectively arrived at good decisions in recent times, the credit for those decisions goes to council as a whole. Mayor Ford is one person with one vote and if council has done well, it may very well be in spite of the Mayor, not because of him.

  3. As I’ve often said, a goodly chunk of our system of govt runs on tradition, precedent and gentlemen’s agreements….but that only works when there are gentlemen involved.

    When instead we elect buffoons, white trash and crooks….we get people like Harper and Ford…..and govt falls apart.

    • It’s hard to compare Ford to Harper.
      While both are antagonistic bullies with media relations problems and “truth” issues, Harper is way, way, way smarter than this.

      • Not noticeably.

      • not smarter; but I think not addicted to anything except power.

      • Harper may be smarter but he is much more cynical.

      • but rob is a more charming, abrasive affable buffoon. steve has all the charm of an iron lung.

      • Harper hangs out with white collar criminals, while Ford hangs out with gangsters.

    • Anybody knows if Giambrone wants the job?

      • LOL

    • You tell them pumpkin!! Come on over to Queens Park if your looking for advanced training on how to screw up an entire province/

  4. Silly Canadians, consequences are for Liberals.

    • That’s rich. What consequences were there for Chretien with AdScam? What consequences have we seen for McWynnty with the $1.1B gas plant scandal? No, I’m sorry, but you have to admit: Liberals skate on past consequences as if they consequences are only for serfs like you and me.

  5. Based on what CTV News had to say tonight describing the Police investigation, this man could easily be described as a coarse brash aggressive unrefined and undisciplined pig. Urinating in public, tossing empty vodka bottles on church property, smoking dope with seedy characters and now the Police have also recovered the “missing” video to prove it – and because of that in particular, Rob Ford has also shown himself to be a liar. If all of that was not astounding enough, there are other people on the web who are actually trying to defend this disgusting oaf as if he was fit to be Mayor of Toronto. Fire this clown out-of the nearest circus cannon!

    • Remember the illegal fundraising, the small fine that was imposed and his crazy piggish reluctance to pay it and inability to admit or understand he had done wrong, which came an appeal way from actually tossing him from office.

      • Illegal fund raising for under-privileged kids? Is THAT the fund-raising to which you refer? Putz. You left it intentionally vague to make it seem like it was to benefit Ford himself. Typical selfish lying scum Liberal tactics.

    • Well, we are hearing Ford did this… because he’s at heart a blue collar guy who hangs out with “commoners.” What we’re NOT hearing is what the white collar elite like David Miller were involved in, and what level of debauchery, destructiveness, and disregard for public property and the public purse he and his what collar bronies (oops, cronies) there was for them. Sure, if all that is recently reported is true, it’s embarrassing for Toronto and Ford himself, but his great grand children can hold their heads high 100 years from now when history recounts what Ford accomplished while in office (John A Macdonald-like scandals aside) versus the abuse of the public purse and years of stagnation at the hands of Miller and his ilk. Give me Ford over Miller, any day.

      • Which is better, a rotten Ford apple or a rotten Miller orange? I doubt that history will even mention any Municipal Mayor in the same context as Canada’s first National Leader because the two the positions are politically light-years apart. John A. was known to be a heavy drinker but he was not involved in illegal drug use and was not known for his association with seedy criminal characters. It could be argued that Rob Ford was elected as much in protest of the status quo than in any popular belief that he was the best person for the job. What has he personally accomplished at City Hall? I don’t know, because all decisions are voted-up or voted-down by the entire council and the Mayor has only one single vote among them. If credit is due, it should be shared by all those who collectively earned it. All the rest of us can do is hope that the next election will yield an honourable Mayor that could at least be respected.

  6. Ford saved the city some 3 billions dollars, while Harper lost some 3.1 billions dollars, on accounted for.

    • It’s up to $3 billion now is it? even Ford is only claiming $1 billion – still hard to explain since city spending has increased since he was elected.

      • Not unreasonable for some spending to go up over three years, just to offset the increase in population.

        • Except that’s not what Rob Ford has been telling people – spending increases have outpaced population increases (I know, somehow it’s Miller’s fault, or Chow’s). He also never mentions the $85 million he cost the city by cancelling the Scarborough LRT to buy votes (somehow not the same as the Liberal’s cancelling power plants) – and those costs are just for money already spent, not the increases in costs that the city is now on the hook for.

          • Man! from what you say, ford must be a closet Liberal pissing away money like that!!

    • Where, aside from Ford’s own fatuous claims, is the evidence that he saved the city a billion, let alone three billion dollars?

    • hahahaha, hahahahahahahahahahahaha, ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah…

    • You must be smoking the same stuff Ford is if you believe that :-)

  7. Well Lou Reed made it to 71, after cleaning himself up. Rob’s alcohol and drug intake seems to be on par with Lou in his prime, the difference is that there’s been no effort to go sober. But a bigger issue might be the morbid obesity. He’s at least 100kg overweight. There’s only so much a ticker can take before arteries start bursting from the pressure.

    • 200 kg overweight. Pig

      • How ironic that Liberals, who are so desirous of inclusive, non-exclusionary language and policies would label an overweight conservative a “pig.” Hmm… Methinks Anna is a hypocrite at best, and more likely to be deserving of the name she herself casts.

      • That’s 440 lbs overweight for us old timers. Just how much do you think Ford weighs, Get real people!!

    • Christie Blatchford is hardly the most credible arbiter of hypocrisy in this case. People with addictions typically need enablers and, among the media, she has been one of Ford’s staunchest.

      • Keep on sizing up that squirrel there dawg………..hahaha

        • C’mon, that’s a pretty condescending way to describe Blatchford. Even I have more civility than that.

          • Wasn’t referring to Blatchford dawg.

          • But I was. Ergo, in response you called her a squirrel.

          • Not to defend Blatchford, but calling her, “Blatchford dawg” is more than a little sexist.

  8. What’s the rush? Toronto should have no problem whatsoever tossing Rob Ford out come the next municipal election. After all, the voting public is the one judge whose verdict he has no choice but to respect.
    And, if by some act of God / as a result of left-leaning miscalculation, he actually manages to achieve the office again, well that’s fine too. A Toronto whose political elites are weeping and wailing in anguish at their impotence is far more entertaining for the rest of the nation that a TO whose elites are smug in the knowledge that they are the center of the universe.

    • Wow! Angry or what.

      • Nope, just telling you that what you downtown cityidiots think doesn’t fly to well out side the city.

    • you’ll have to include rob ford as an elite by virtue of his wealth.

    • Well, sure, if you hate toronto as if it were a real person, and one who had done terrible things to you, the thought of Rob Ford as mayor would be highly amusing to you.

      But for the citizens who must live there, who must actually bear the brunt of his “leadership”, I imagine it is a good deal less pleasant.

  9. the days of crack and booze: robs autobiography.

    • My nomination for the title is “The Mayor of Little Mogadishu”

  10. “Toronto’s large, imperfect mayor” “plus-sized idol” Please explain why you found it necessary to insert not one, but two slams re: his size? I’m no fan of Ford, but I’m also really, really fed up with people taking these kinds of shots at him. There are more than enough reasons to criticize him, but the topic of his weight should be off the table.

    • you’re right, but we’ve had to endure so many lies, and so much f******bs from this guy, you’ll have to forgive us for such comments.

      • No, you’re not forgiven. His bad behavior is not an excuse for “fat-shaming”.

        • why can’t you just focus on the topic at hand, beef-curtains? You’re trying to deflect from the issue being discussed and no one’s falling for it, so be quiet.

  11. My predictions:
    Ford will be arrested before Xmas .

    Doug will quit and move back to Chicago.

    Lisi will escape Canada and hide in Sicily.
    ( Could be all silly – let’s wait ).

  12. Biggest stitch-up job in Canadian political history.

    • Ever hear of a rotten lying rat named McGuinty??

  13. If a mayor can maintain his popularity despite being accused of being a crack-addict who hangs around with shady characters, I think a tax-fighting pedophile might have a chance at beating the current mayor. The voters will support a pedophile mayor so long as he is doing his job as mayor.

    • I think I should start a fictitious campaign to get a tax-fighter named “Pedophile Pete” to run against the current mayor.

  14. Mayor Ford is expected to fill his term.

    • and his pants

  15. Wow……A reader from the west who has been watching and reading about Rob Ford. This morning, I thought I’d become a bit more educated about this man (I hesitate to call him this, more like troll). This guy has had a life of failed and unreasonable dreams, quitting anything where hard work and diligence is required, drinking, drugs (Florida..just cause charges are dropped, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen) and having a job because his family owns a business. He gets what he deserves but I have to ask……what were Torontonians thinking????? Are you unaware of your city and those who run it?? Trust me, Ford gets what he deserves and he is a loser but wow……this guy has been a loser hos whole life and you voted for him????

  16. He’s a right winger and the people who get all bent out of shape about drugs are right wingers, so they’ll give him a pass, case in point “Rush draft dodger, non family values, junkie, Limbaugh” at a time when his country was at war with commies he dodged military service, Fourth marriage, no kids, and his right wing supporters say “DITTO” family values and patriotism, but it’s fair weather family values and fair weather patriotism, so it’s as much about his supporters as him and his brother. Ford brothers classic right wingers, love the double standard. Unite right centre and left, one standard for all. We screw over the poor with impunity. Cheers Greg

  17. How much longer can Rob Ford go on?
    For as long as the people want him to represent them. This is what we are stuck with as politicians. Hence, they are the splitting Images of parts our society and social demographics, if not most of them. And guess what? We voted for them and then deny having voted for them. That is why nothing changes in Canada.

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