Rob Ford, the Kardashian of Toronto

Why the mayor’s refusal to go is the political equivalent of a Cher farewell tour


Chris Young/CP

The Rob Ford saga is the political equivalent of a Cher farewell tour: it’s impossibly sensational and never-ending. We hear the same old songs again and again—classics such as: “I’m only human” and “I can’t change the past.” (Ford’s rendition of If I Could Turn Back Time). The mayor was stripped of most of his powers at Monday’s epic city council meeting, rendering him nothing more than a rubicund figurehead. I have a strong feeling though, that come a year or two—or 20—Ford’s hulking figure will still be strolling the aisles of Toronto’s city council, heckling the public, and steamrolling the elderly. (In case you missed it, the mayor bowled over city councillor Pam McConnell on Monday in a mad dash to defend his brother Doug in an altercation on the floor.) Ford’s true calling, it seems, isn’t answering a gazillion constituent phone calls, as he so proudly claims. It’s putting time-honoured clichés to shame. Here are a few for the dustbin of history: “This too shall pass,” “Something’s gotta give,” “Good things come to those who wait,” and “The end is nigh.”

Rob Ford remains adamant that he will not resign. He won’t even step aside to seek help for his drunken stupor-induced crack smoking; something Torontonians are supposed to be content with because the mayor has started frequenting a gym. (Apparently Goodlife is the new Dr. Drew.)

So what will Ford do in the absence of power, professional help and shame? He’ll bask in his new-found celebrity. This past week may have been rich in Ford family gaffes, but it was far richer in Ford family media appearances. In what could only be an attempt to take control of this train wreck of a story, brothers Doug and Rob brought their distinct brand of truthiness to major American TV networks and both major and minor Canadian ones. (On Monday night, the ratings-famished Sun News Network aired the first and last episode of Ford Nation—the mayor’s new talk show—which was cancelled because it was “too expensive to make.”) The result? Rob Ford’s story as told by Rob Ford is infinitely crazier, more ugly and morally depraved than Rob Ford’s story as told by his mortal enemy: the Toronto Star.

Doug and Rob, looking tawnier than usual under the Sun News lights, presented an hour-long infomercial about the uncontested virtues of Ford Nation. As a loyal and patriotic citizen of said nation, conservative TV personality Ezra Levant pledged his allegiance with a sycophantic monologue about Ford’s unfair treatment at the hands of left-wing media. He even compared the embattled mayor to Princess Di. Rob Ford grinned stupidly, nodding with approval.

He was less cordial, however, when taking questions from U.S. media. Whenever a journalist asked the mayor about his connection to Toronto’s underworld of gangs and drugs, and his dishonesty about smoking crack cocaine, he deflected the questions with a litany of familiar lies and truisms. Among them: “Actions speak louder than words” (which he repeated, ironically, more times than I could count), “I’m not perfect,” “Talk is cheap,” “They didn’t ask the right questions,” and “I’m the best father around.” The most bizarre and disgusting element in the brothers’ media blitz, however, wasn’t Rob’s squeaky dismissive tone or his arsenal of lies, but Doug’s attempt to portray the mayor as a bleeding-heart social liberal—in his own words, “the white Obama.” In the same CNN interview outside a suburban housing project, Rob Ford played up his everyman image. “I don’t look at myself as the mayor. I look at myself as just a normal regular person.”

Normal regular people get fired when they fall asleep on the job, smoke crack on tape, and find themselves embroiled in a massive gangs-and-drug investigation. Normal regular people do not get their own television shows on which to pontificate about their unjustly tarnished reputations. Normal people don’t compare city council politics to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. But Rob Ford is not a normal regular person. As the Toronto Sun aptly declared, he is a “stuporstar.”

In the end what irks most isn’t that Toronto lacks a responsible, civilized, sober mayor. What irks most is that Torontonians lack a happy medium. Those rushing to label Toronto the spitting image of its lushy leader should consider the following: Despite all the shame Rob Ford has brought, the city remains as staid, boring and puritan as ever. In the midst of this month’s Rob Ford madness, city council passed a bylaw prohibiting smoking in public parks and on sports fields. In Toronto you can’t drink a beer on the beach or stay out all night (bars close at 2 a.m.). Rob Ford is no match for Toronto the Good, an impenetrable fortress of Victorian purity in which the mayor can go on being the mayor who smoked crack and lied about it, and its citizens can’t even light a cigarette in a park.


Rob Ford, the Kardashian of Toronto

  1. Nah, he’s more like what you’d get if Sarah Palin and the collective Kardashians had a baby.

    • … with a splash of Honey Boo-Boo!

      • I think he sounds more like a Passive-Aggressive-Crack-Smoking-Corrupt Eeyeore….caught up in his own web-of-corruption….I wonder how deep-in-the-do doo his brothers must be to get on TV and embarrass themselves that much…there must be much to find under Mayor Eeyore’s blanket?


        RJ O’Guillory
        Webster Groves – The Life of an Insane Family

        • Seriously? That’s probably the lowest advertising budget for flogging a book that I’ve ever come across.

          • Wow!…this……an opinion issued by someone who uses Carly Simon as their online name….ha,ha,ha,ha,!

            But…I’d have to agree with you …to some degree…as I’m getting ready for brain surgery in the next couple of months…so I’m only doing what I can for a while…but try reading the e-book version …you may be humored and disgusted….however you may enjoy it…


            RJ O’Guillory
            Webster Groves – The Life of an Insane Family

          • Performing it or receiving it?

            Regardless, good luck with that.

            As for your book: gonna hafta take a pass on that. My “Essential Reads” list is 5 years long and growing daily.

        • Let’s not insult Eeyore. Leave him out of this!

          • …ha!…yes…that is true…no reason to go insult Eeyore..after all, he “wasn’t doing nothing”…..ha!


  2. Yeah it’s political theatre….and Ford’s still mayor.

    • M.I.N.O

      • Same powers as every other mayor in Ontario.

    • That’s the really sad part he is the fart that Fabreeze can’t get rid of .

      • so very well said DocGuin

  3. Are the police asleep? This guy is in the process of normalising crack-smoking. Thank you, Toronto’s finest, great job!

    • There are loads of reasons to be critical of the Toronto police, but in this case I have to say I don’t envy their position.

      • Why is their position difficult?

        • They have to walk a very careful line. One errant step to this side and they’re accused of shielding the mayor, one errant step to that side and they’re accused of being part of the “conspiracy” against him. And the world is watching. So they need to think and re-think and re-re-think every action, every report, every statement to the public, to protect themselves against being dragged into the scandal.

          • Oh, oh, the risks must be tremendous. Give me a break. Act, for Christ’s sake, it’s their duty, self-interest be damned.

          • The problem is that they are trying to make a case about one of his associates and they don’t want to blow it. (Ford tripped into their investigation.) They will gather and reveal in the best way to consolidate their case (i.e. when the Crown permits.)

            Also, believe it or not, the Fords have friends in high places, all the way up the top of the Conservative party and key Canadian ministers. Even though a lot have jumped ship, old habits of fear die-hard. (You should see what happened to at least one of the RCMP officers who investigated former PM Brian Mulroney for corruption.)

        • This is the one guy they can shoot instead of tasering and I will not mind.

  4. Did it bother anyone else that the headline promised a comparison of Ford to a Kardashian, but the only comparison in the article was to Cher?

    • LOL: yes, and it also bothered me that the author used the word “rubicund” when
      “florid” would have been more appropriate (nothing outdoorsy-healthy looking about Rob Ford — he looks like a stroke waiting to happen).

    • ditto. Editor wrote the headline without reading the article maybe?

    • If Rob Ford dressed in drag as a cher look alike that would be the icing on the cake.

  5. “In case you missed it, the mayor bowled over city councillor Pam McConnell on Monday”

    It would be news if it was the other way around, but sadly we have come to expect this from Mayor Meltdown, so what’s your point?

    I was following this when it was about politics but now it’s just about celebrity so news-watchers can now turn away and leave the mayor to adjust to his reduced influence in a small office, with semi-regular novelty appearances on entertainment programs and levanting away on a small-minded (with an even smaller audience) TV network.

    • “Levanting” – I like that :-)

      • Yup, good word. Sums it up beautifully. New meme.

  6. “stuporstar”!!! LOVE it!

  7. Who agrees he’s human? I am extremely doubtful. I do agree he can’t change the past but it is the future I am worried about …I don’t want him in it.

  8. Comparing him to a Karsmashian? Does he have a sex tape? Good grief what a mess, and the descriptive of him as a ‘stuporstar’ is perfect! Best new word this year!

    • No. But he’s got a crack tape coming out — you won’t want to miss. Same difference as Kim really with a booty to match.

    • Sadly even if our portly Mayor had a sex video I doubt anyone of us would identify it as such. it would be mistaken for a shirtless man scratching himself.

  9. Really? The Kardashian of Toronto? The leader of Canada’s largest city is being compared to a no-talent-ass-clown psudeo-celebrity. The facts give you an unprecedented opportunity to write on the malaise of modern democracy and the pervasiveness of elite entitlement, and you write this drivel.

    • It took courage to compare Robbo to Kardashian. In the off chance she reads it could very well trigger a defamation/libel suit. Nobody wants to be compared to Fordo in print. What an insult to Kardashian.

  10. Rob Ford is bizarre and unpredictable.
    It must be the booze and drugs talking.

  11. Rob is the George W Bush to Doug’s Dick Cheney, except that the Ford bros’ mission is a “war on logic”. (Sadly, the Ford bros’ combined IQ is the square root of Bush & Cheney’s). Contrition + Aggression = Futility.

  12. When you are a sociopath, as I believe Rob Ford to be, then where in the world would you find any person with a good character to be a friend or professional to befriend or assist you? Bush making a comment on Ford is akin with one snake looking for another in the grass.

    • And the crack pipe represents the Weapons of Mass Delusion

  13. Bravo – what a well written commentary My hope is that the teflon has finally worn away, that Ford will crawl back into the hole he squeezed out of, and once and for all, shoved out of the limelight he so desperately craves. He is not a someone capable of being the Mayor of Toronto; he is an obese, dishonest, crack smoking drunk with anger management issues and delusions of grandeur. The sooner the city can get rid of him, the better.

    • sadly the Mayor’s narcissism means he isn’t going away. Not now. Now he is living his dream: appearing on Faux News and being interviewed by Ezra Levant, being discussed in Asia. He is a bigger star now: Stuporstar is apropos.

      • Don’t worry Philmar chances are Jerry will drop a dumb bell on his head and end it for all of us

  14. I love the picture of for reclining in his chair exulting in the drama can damage he is causing. I was shocked to see that exact same image of Bush on TV laying back and revelling in his imaginary triumphs.

    By the way where have all the Ford Nation gone have they crawled back under a rock or have they all been rounded up and busted by the cops.

    • Ford not for sorry

    • I voted for Ford. I will again. I also think Bush was an infinitely superior president to the lying, narcissistic fool that is the present incumbent.

  15. “…and its citizens can’t even light a cigarette in a park.”

    That’s a very funny conclusion.

  16. You get the Mayor, that you deserve!

    • No we don’t. We never did anything to desrve Miller.

      • So! Who did VOTE for him?????

  17. Comparing someone as toxic and criminal as Ford to a family as decent and charitable as the Kardashians is an insult to us Kardashian fans. Clearly Emma Teitel knows NOTHING about the Kardashians endless charity work. She needs to do her homework! Journalistic diarrhea at it’s finest there Ms. Teitel!

  18. Those who did not vote in the last municipal election are as much to blame as those who voted for Ford in spite of the rumours (or because they didn’t check him out thoroughly.)

    You get the government you deserve and we (Toronto) deserved this.

    The Conservatives had to know that Rob Ford was a ticking time bomb, yet they were in the process of elevating Doug Ford to poster child for the next Ontario election when this whole thing broke. They were content to turn a blind eye to his behaviour because a critical mass of voters had repeatedly signalled a willingness to do so.

    • It’s hard to believe that we deserved Miller. And what have we done to deserve the prospect of 2-volt brain Chow pouring our tax dollars down thew drain?

  19. Do you think they’ve gotten to Lisi yet? Here is what your future will look like it you “keep your MOUTH SHUT.” In the states, he could cut a deal – or – maybe he already has.

  20. What normal? What regular? Person maybe.

  21. “”Rob Ford grinned stupidly,”””

    That’s the sort of gratuitous insult from left-wing “journalists” that convinces me, and many others, that we will vote for Rob next time also. If nothing else, it’s nice to see the exploding heads of left-wing media twerps.

  22. I’m not overweight myself but I take issue with the need of Emma to underhandedly include the adjective ‘rubicund’ to describe fords weight issue which I believe has nothing to do with the story. Macleans magazine should not stoop so low as to allow the publication of such descriptions.
    I will make the assumption that macleans magazine believes their readers are somewhat stupid and simply panned the word.
    Luckily Canada will soon have laws against bullying and those who choose to use the English language to bully will be held accountable.