Rob Ford update: Everything is not fine at Toronto City Hall

Ivor Tossell on strange days in Ford Nation


Chris Young/CP

Rob Ford slipped into a committee room here at city hall yesterday, escaping a blast of camera shutters and one reporter yelling “WILL YOU ADDRESS THE LATEST –” before the door shut behind him.

Inside the hushed confines of Committee Room 1, with its concentric horseshoes of public servants, politicians and gadflies, you could almost pretend everything is fine. Ford and his inner circle was considering a typical pile of doomed endeavours: de-funding the Pride parade on account of anti-Israeli marchers, getting rid of half of city council and debating whether drivers should be required to give cyclists a metre’s leeway when passing.

Life made a passable impression of going on. It was Ford’s 44th birthday, and at lunch he’d served cake to reporters, and even apologized for the moment of indiscretion on his radio show when he called them a bunch of maggots. Suburban councillors spoke at length about how little they wanted to change lanes for cyclists. De-funding the parade turned out to be futile because the city never specifically pays for the parade in the first place. A report on shrinking council was requested, so as later to be ignored. It was one of Ford’s campaign planks. It may be the last he addresses.

Everything is not fine. The scope and implications of this scandal grows every day.

Related post: Timeline — The Rob Ford crack controversy

Here’s where it stands now: The mayor has been pictured posing with three young men. One of them appears to be Anthony Smith, who was killed at the end of March in an execution-style shooting downtown. A second young man in the same photo has been shot as well. Meanwhile, a video purporting to show the mayor smoking crack, which the mayor strenuously denies exists, is the subject of a police investigation. The mayor’s staff are reported to have worried that the drug dealers who were shopping the video around may have killed someone to get it. A link between Smith and the video is the subject of much speculation now, to say nothing of the link between Smith and the mayor.

Then there is the old Ford family friend named David Price, hired by the mayor’s office in early April, about a week after the Smith shooting. The Globe, in an investigation that charges Doug Ford with having dealt hashish as a teenager, tagged Price as a former participant in Doug’s enterprise. (Doug Ford has strongly denied ever dealing drugs.) Price is reported to have had information on the nature or whereabout of the video, which he passed along to then-chief-of-staff Mark Towhey, who, aghast, called the police. Asked to explain Price’s hire, Doug simply remarked “you can’t teach loyalty.”

So Rob Ford now finds himself sharing headlines with homicide detectives and killings. A young man is dead. Others have been shot. A video of the mayor smoking crack might still be out there, now with a $200,000 bounty on its head, and potentially in the hands of people who aren’t just drug dealers, but murderers as well. (This may give Crackstarter boosters some extra pause.) Just to underline that earlier point: Everything is really, definitively not fine.

Yesterday, Ford could only keep the outside world out for so long. His executive committee meeting went almost until 6 p.m. When the meeting wrapped up, Ford walked out the side doors of the room, where he came face to face with a gaggle of reporters at the exit. There was a brief moment of confusion as Ford paused at the threshold, as if about to speak.

“Aw, I left my phone in there,” he groaned, patting down his suit pockets.

The mayor and handlers ducked into a private back-passage around to his glass-walled office suite, where the press gallery was waiting for him to speak. He was scheduled to issue a condemnation of the new taxes that the province wants to levy to pay for transit expansion, but none of the press wanted to talk about revenue tools.

“It’s no secret that I’ve been fighting for new subway lines for Toronto since Day 1 …”  said Ford, reading his statement. “What I do not support is the province’s plan to slap new taxes on the back of hard-working families in this great province.”

It’s murder and revenue tools this week; death and taxes. With every subsequent revelation, you can hear the gasps of “surely this will shake Ford Nation’s support.” Yet a tracking poll over the weekend showed Ford’s lousy numbers are at least holding steady. Rob Ford was sent to City Hall to hold the line on taxes and disrupt the scene, and that’s what he did. The collateral damage, which mounts day by day, is incidental. The fact that business as usual looks like it might never return doesn’t faze the faithful. The entire premise of Rob Ford was to rail against the inevitable.

Reporters let the mayor finish with tax speech before they lit into him again.

“Everyone in the country is talking about these new allegations in the Star and the Globe this morning,” came the first question. “Do you have any thing to say about that?”

“I’ve addressed those concerns. If you have any questions about what I just talked about I’d be more than happy to answer questions,” said Ford.

“How do you know Anthony Smith?” yelled someone else, the only audible question in the cacophony that erupted. Ford peered around, looking momentarily hopeful that someone might want to ask about taxes.

“Anyways, thank you very much,” said Ford, and was gone.


Rob Ford update: Everything is not fine at Toronto City Hall

  1. “…worried that the drug dealers who were shopping the video around…”

    ‘drug dealers’. Exactly how did this bit of unestablished claim get presupposed currency among Ford critics and defenders alike? None of the three journalistic Einsteins have demonstrated that they took normal investigative steps to establish these guys’ employment as drug dealers.

    Or is it established on a second, unconscious but real, presupposition that the video was legit in the first place? Drug dealers are unlikely to have digital manipulation as a hobby. It follows then that the ‘fact’ that they were ‘crack dealers’ is strengthened beyond reasonable doubt.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • Your comment was flagged as being an affront to basic spelling and grammar, and as such your account will be banned until further notice.

        • This comment was deleted.

          • It’s band? Can it go on tour? Cut an album? Or, is it more of a ‘band of merry men’ or some such thing?

          • This comment was deleted.

          • OK, I am band. I wont take it unseriously. You dont have to tell me to times. Youre message is herd, lowd and cleer.

          • Please don’t encourage it.

          • I didn’t think I was.

          • Unfortunately for you, the band in question is Nickleback.

      • Please do us all a big favor. Do a spell check of your posts. Use proper grammar. Correct punctuation is also a good idea. Unless, of course, you’re from Etobicoke. Then that sort of goes with the territory.

        • This comment was deleted.

          • the spelling is not fine. the grammer is not fine.

        • this person is not joking ? good god !!! …. ” you’re account is now band ” oh boy!!! “you to” ?? this is not an actual admin here , is it ?

          • I sure as hell hope not! It might explain how buggy disqus can be at times, though…

    • If you followed this from the start than you would know that the person who is holding the video claims to be a drug dealer and claimed to have sold to rob ford and other prominent figures crack.

  2. With every subsequent revelation, you can hear the gasps of “surely this
    will shake Ford Nation’s support.” Yet a tracking poll over the weekend
    showed Ford’s lousy numbers are at least holding steady.


    At first I joked that he was so bad that how could this make him worse. Then one of the Maclean’s columnists said this would be his undoing and I was forced to rethink my position, but now I think it comes back around to the first. If you were dumb enough to support him from the outset, you’re dumb enough to support him through this.

    • If we were dumb enough to accept the reporters’ gullibility that these were, in fact, ‘drug dealers’, we will continue to accept the unconscious presupposition that the (purported) video was legit.

      “If the blind shall lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

      Edit: downvotes are a valid display of displeasure, but a poor means of rebuttal.
      Edit2: 4 downvotes so far, and no rebuttal. I think my case is established.

      • Perhaps your comment isn’t worthy of rebuttal?

      • The crew the mayor was smoking crack with are known to police as drug dealers. Indeed, they are Somali gangsters and there was good reason for Ford’s trusted staffer to suspect the iPhone owner was murdered by these guys for the video. So, it’s not just the reporters who believe all this, it’s Ford’s own staff, as well as the police.
        Speaking of gullibility…

      • I’m willing to leave open the possibility that the young men in the photo are not drug dealers.

        That said, if they’re not drug dealers, do you have a plausible explanation as to what led to them being shot?

    • Lots of people are dumb enough to support him….through anything apparently.

      We just don’t know why. Especially after their years of complaints about lousy politicians.

      • Lots of people support the reporters also, apparently.

        • The reporters are doing their job….Ford is not doing his.

          In fact he has screwed up spectacularly…..and all your excuses won’t change that.

          Why you’d even WANT to retain him as mayor is a mystery.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Yes, Emily’s comment is band. She’s a rock star!

          • This comment was deleted.

          • i luv this

          • Also, *your

          • Yes, Emily will be band. She’s a rock star!



          • I thought it was a jazz band, actually.

          • Lordy, the ‘Ignoranti’ are out in full force today! LOL

          • This comment was deleted.

          • wow…..how can I join this band?

    • If the best you can do is hold steady, you have nothing to brag about.

  3. I think Ford supporters have more common sense than Ford critics have faculties of critical thinking.

    Edit: they have a talent for mouse-clicks, however.

    • No down vote needed. Your strawman argument on journalists using the presumptive term “drug dealers” does nothing to absolve Ford of his pitiful behaviour this last week.

      Don’t you get it? This isn’t about the authenticity of a video anymore. It’s about the apparent leader of our city weaseling out of hard questions in the face of adversity. And then having the gaul with his goon brother to go on his own radio show and attack the media for delivering the message. If he had managed this better by either admitting it or outright denying it ever happened he would be in much better shape today.

      But keep trying to defend him by attacking the messenger. Typical from those in the Ford camp.

      • “Having the gaul”? He possesses France? How so?

  4. It might be wise for Ford supporters not to write sentences longer than one line.

    It confuses the Ford haters.

    And they punch in a downvote in frustration.

    • LOL.. can’t even support your own statements without resorting to ad hominem?

  5. There’s a world of difference between blogging and professional journalism. Gawker made a disastrously stupid mistake that Maclean’s, the NYT, the Toronto Star, or the Washington Post never would have made

    I know $200,000 is a lot of money, especially for a small news outlet
    like Gawker. But they were dealing with crackheads, Drug dealers from
    of all places,Somalia, a country that isn’t known for it’s
    dependability. The opportunity to buy that video of Rob Ford smoking
    crack came exactly once.

    Then, they made the insipid decision to inform the world-including
    Rob Ford -that the video exists, but Gawker doesn’t have it, and here’s
    a picture of who does. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Rob Ford or
    someone close to him made an effort to ensure that that video will no
    longer be available for sale, the very second they found out it exists.

    If the video only exists on a cell phone, as Gawker suggested it did,
    then it’s a simple matter of obtaining and/or breaking that cell phone.
    Provided no copies were transmitted electronically, that would be the
    end of the video. This should not be difficult for somebody with the
    police force of North America’s 4th largest city at his command.

    The smarter move would have been to borrow the money and just hope
    that the ad revenue coming from breaking the biggest political story in
    Canada’s recent history would repay the costs of the video, Buy the file
    immediately, no questions asked, and shut up about what you have until
    you’re ready to publish the video online.

    Now, Gawker informs us that they cannot find the vendor of that video
    file. And they suggest that they could not have foreseen this problem.

    That’s the difference between journalism and blogging. A real
    journalist knows that opportunities like that don’t come along twice.

    • Toronto Star reporter claims there are copies.

      • The Toronto Star reporters are making all kind of claims that they seem to be completely incapable of proving. That entire organization has lost all credibility.

    • One would note that Gawker only published because they contacted CNN asking if CNN’s sources knew anything and CNN then (stupidly) contacted Ford’s office for comment. Gawker’s hand was forced.

      • One idea is for Gawker to not ask Wolf Blitzer for advice about journalism. That’s sort of like asking Zach Braff to replace your coronary stent

  6. I’m not going to second guess Ford Nation for supporting their guy. If they believe him, they believe him, and I respect that. I respect that they support Ford and his policies. I’m not going to call them stupid, blind, nothing.

    However, if we come to find out that Ford has being lying about this all along — and, as a result, has been actively avoiding responsibility in this affair — hopefully Ford Nation will renounce their citizenship. At that point, he doesn’t deserve their loyalty.

  7. It doesn’t matter whether he’s addicted or not.

    Why did the FBI throw Marion Berry in prison? Why was Elliot Spitzer forced
    to resign? Was it because we were afraid they might be addicts? Was it driven from a concern over their mental health?


    These men served a chief executives charged with carrying out the will of the
    people as expressed through the laws of their city and state. By
    violating those same laws, they expressed that they were somehow exempt
    from the rules that bind the rest of us. They marked themselves out as
    being superior to the citizens whose lives they oversaw. In a democracy,
    that is a fatally stupid error.

    This is also why Nixon was run out of office. Nobody suggested that Nixon had to resign because we were concerned for his mental well-being. He was run out of DC because he committed a crime that would have gotten anybody else sent to prison

    I don’t care if Rob Ford has taken one hit or one thousand
    hits. He needs to go to prison, just as he has sent many others to the
    same prison for the same crime. If the rule of law is to mean anything,
    it has to apply equally not only to the ordinary citizen, but also to
    those responsible for enforcing it.

    As for the people suggesting that he is or is not an addict, I don’t care.

    • You know that there’s no proof against Rob Ford, right? Or are you simply assuming the worst because you want to?

      Rob Ford doesn’t make federal drug legislation, and he’s not a cop so he hasn’t thrown anyone in jail.

      The three examples you listed committed crimes, and there was evidence against them. None of those things have happened to Ford. Just a bunch of his political enemies making crap up.

      • Ah, I see. So the reporters and Gawker simply made all this up. And the police investigation is just imaginary. And Ford’s own staffers are wrong that the video exists and it is linked to the murder and attempted murder of people seen cavorting with Ford.
        I see.
        Ya, either that, or Ford is a lying crackhead.

        • They could have made it up. They could have been duped. (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3Aj3yypqRRyicJ%3Atoronto.canadianlisted.com%2Fother-jobs%2Flooking-for-rob-ford-look-alike-imposter-toronto_1662709.html+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca&client=firefox-a) I assume you haven’t seen that link, because the media’s been doing it’s damnedest to cover it up.

          Ford’s own staffers haven’t seen the video, so how could they verify that it exists?

          I think it’s more likely that you’re a crackhead than Ford is, what with your flimsy definition of “evidence”.

          • Wow, you really are a gullible sort, aren’t you?

            The staffers believe it exists because it would be moronic to believe the Star and Gawker to made it all up. Is it real? Well, the staffers certainly thought it plausible enough to suggest that a man was killed over it. And given that particular staffer’s history of drug dealing with Dougie, it’s hardly surprising that he’s familiar with Rob’s drug issues. Which, incidentally, are well known in City Hall circles.

            But do go on believing that Ford is at the mercy of some gigantic left wing conspiracy…

          • You’re the one who’s believing stories with no proof based purely on a report from a gossip website, and I’m the gullible one?

            There are no Ford staffers who’ve said they believe the video exists, you’re making that up. Like you’re making everything else up.

          • Oh, please. Both Towhey and Price have stated as much, as all of the papers are reporting. And so did the two reporters at the Star, who actually saw the video.

            So, no, I’m not making up anything and Ford’s own people clearly took the existence of the video very seriously. Indeed, seriously enough to get Towhey fired, and for two other staffers to quit.

          • No, they haven’t. Provide one link where either of them says the video exists? Especially if it’s in “all the papers”. One link where either of them says it exists.

          • http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/05/24/can-toronto-fire-mayor-rob-ford/

            As requested.

            Mike Towhey was fired for telling Mayor Ford to get some help for his crack addiction. One presumes that Towhey would not tell the mayor he has a crack cocaine addiction if they mayor had not actually consumed crack cocaine.

            As for a reputable source, this is from the exact same news outlet you and I are now posting blog entries on.

          • Nowhere in that article does it say that Towhey was fired for telling Ford to get help for his crack addiction. This is what’s wrong with you people, you just read whatever you want into an article, weather it’s true or not.

            Again, please quote from that article where it says anyone was fired for telling Ford anything about crack. You stinking liar.

          • So you think that maybe he was suggesting that Ford should seek help for his hemorrhoids?

          • It’s possible. Next time someone suggest you should get help for “something”, should I assume it’s your crack addiction?

          • Well, hemorrhoids do grow in cracks…..

    • Whom exactly has Rob Ford sent to prison?

      • Everyone arrested by the police force he oversees for drug possession, that’s who.

    • Nope, at this point, today May 31, the issue’s not whether he has violated any laws; its whether he can be an effective leader and perform his duties as mayor. Eventually the truth will come out, but in the meantime, it’s patently obvious that it’s not ‘business as usual’ at City Hall. Where scandal has hobbled other politicians, mature leaders step aside while the matter is investigated. This is done for the greater good, and it’s a necessary step for a politician to take when no one cares to talk about anything other than the scandal. That Mayor Ford is refusing to step aside despite the feeding frenzy at City Hall illustrates the same abysmal judgement he’s displayed in responding to reports of the video over the past week, and possibly in deciding to take drugs with some pretty suspect folks in the first place. It’s all par for the course with this guy. Whatever it is that motivates him as a politician, it’s sure not the best interests of the City.

  8. How’s Renata holding up? The poor squashed wife called police a few years back when hubby Rob threatened to kill her… you’d have to think stress levels in the Ford family compound haven’t diminished the past week…

    • Rob has displayed the psychology of a bully. I wouldn’t be surprised if he transfers his coiled hostilities towards his family; I’d get his wife and kids out of his house quickly.

      • It’s really getting off-putting to see sissy Liberals calling everybody they don’t like a “bully”. If you’re a grown man and you have a problem with a bully, you should have figured out how to deal with that by this stage in your life. It’s just comical at this point that people like Justin Trudeau need to be defended by 5th graders.

        But do what you want. See how many people want to elect a leader that gets bullied around.

        • I’m not a Liberal. The Liberals are the least of your worries.

      • Aaah, now we’ve heard from the pre-crimes unit.

  9. So the media are doing everything in their power, as they always have, to make life difficult for Rob Ford? What else is new?

    This so-called “scandal” is based on not a single shred of evidence, which is exactly why Ford Nation isn’t abandoning him. Anybody with half a functioning brain can see this is obviously another faux-scandal invented by the media. The same media who’ve proven time and time again that they’ll throw journalistic integrity out the window if it’s an attempt to smear Ford.

    • Actually it’s based on quite a bit of evidence, including the word of several journalists. And Ford’s own staffers believe it, so why shouldn’t we?

      • When did any of Ford’s staffers say they believe the video? Oh, again… no evidence. You’d think, considering your name, that you’d actually know what evidence is. I suppose you believe in the Theory of Relativity, just because Einstein said it was true?

        The word of three journalists, who each has a clear and blatant bias against Rob Ford. Three journalists who can’t, and didn’t even attempt, to verify the authenticity of the video.

        Ya, that’s not evidence, that’s hearsay.

        • No, actually, there is a great deal of evidence. See the details in this, for example: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/mayor-rob-ford-faces-persistent-questions-over-reports-linking-staff-to-police-tip/article12186406/

          Of course there are many other sources that say the same thing.

          And no, hearsay is when someone says someone else told them about a crime. In this case the reporters saw it themselves, and therefore they ARE the witnesses.

          And no, I don’t believe in the Theory of General Relativity because Einstein said it, but because of the weight of evidence. Of course, a scientific Theory is much more difficult to prove than something like the Mayor being guilty of a crime. He only needs to be caught in the act, and it sure looks like he was.

          But whether he was or not, the police and Ford’s own trusted advisor seem to believe the owner of the iPhone was murdered because of the video. That, my friend, is a direct link between the Mayor and a homicide. If that is proven, then goodbye Mayor and good riddance. Which is what all of us should think, whatever our political stripes.

    • this is obviously another faux-scandal invented by the media

      What other things do you believe were “made up by the media”? ‘Cause it seems to me that pretty much every story that Ford has denied and claimed was part of a conspiracy of lies against him (getting kicked out of the ACC for drunkenly swearing at tourists, reading reports while driving on a highway, the Florida DUI and pot possession incident) ended up being 100% true.

      To me, the reason people don’t tend to believe Ford’s denials anymore is that his first press conference when something like this happens is ALWAYS a denial, with a charge of media conspiracy. It’s the SECOND press conference where he apologizes and comes clean. That’s been a pretty well-established pattern.

      • The Sarah Thompson story was a complete lie perpetrated by the Toronto Star. Which may have also been a lead-in for the garbage their currently peddling.

        • Well, I don’t believe for a second that it was a complete lie, so do you have another one?

  10. I hate it, when they cut in the middle of a t.v. program, to show Rob Ford defending himself, once again. Please leave the guy alone, and my t.v. show as well. Its the Union goons (the famous shit disturbers) that are after him, and of course they will use every way to do it, such as media, and people LEAVE THE GUY ALONE., and get a life!
    p.s. why him, a lot of politicians are far worse than that?

    • Oh yeah, Genghis Khan was much much worse. And of course, we should also mention the other polticians considerably worse than Rob Ford. Francisco Franco, of course, can’t forget El Comandante there. Ferdinand Marcos, as well. Idi Amin, Joseph Kony, and Volen Siderov. Conrad Black, Ion Antonescu, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, and let’s not forget to mention Marine Le Pen. yeah, there are alot worse people than Rob Ford in politics.

      Unfortunately for Rob Ford,none of them are mayors of the largest city in Canada, which does sort of make Rob Ford stand out a bit. One could say that if you wanted that level of power in a democracy like Canada, you should probably not do anything that might damage your reputation, like, oh, I don’t know, SMOKING CRACK COCAINE?

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