“I have no reason to resign.” —Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Rob Ford is a news machine, pure and simple. Every single thing he says is newsworthy. Every movement is worth a photo. Toronto’s mayor blinks, or opens his mouth, and cameras capture his closed eyes, or his gaping jaw. His driveway cracks the evening news. Driveways don’t usually do that. Everyone in the city knows where he lives, or can find out with remarkable ease. He’s sometimes indignant, often aggressive, and always deferential to the great people of Toronto. His followers follow. His enemies grumble. He’s impossible to ignore. Indeed, he’s a perfect spectacle.
And now, a lot of people want him to resign.
This morning, the city’s four newspapers all demanded that Ford quit his job. His allies on city council are falling away, none of them particularly sympathetic. The police chief, Bill Blair, is “disappointed.”
All of this is because, as you almost definitely have already learned, there’s a video in police custody. The reconstituted digital files, exhumed from a hard drive thought to be wiped clean, are possibly damning. Blair confirmed that what he saw on those files is consistent with reporting, earlier this year, published by Gawker and the Toronto Star. That is to say, that alleged crack tape we all heard so much about is real. The cops aren’t talking about what specifically is caught on tape, but needless to say it’s some kind of damaging for the mayor.
No matter the optics, Ford won’t resign. Last May, when the infamous tape came to the fore, plenty of people called for the mayor’s head. He didn’t step down then. At the time, the National Post‘s Jonathan Kay was skeptical Ford ever would, no matter the guilt that engulfed the mayor’s office. “Like all true warriors, he will keep on fighting till the very day—if it ever comes—that he is led out of City Hall in handcuffs. And even then, I’m not so sure.” No less denial should be expected of such a perfect spectacle.
Charlie Gillis, writing yesterday for Maclean’s, wonders how long Ford can stay in office. Much of that answer depends on the reconstituted video that’s so central to the mayor’s saga. The video exists. Now, the public wants a look. The fight for the public’s right to watch is the next chapter in this slow-motion disaster. Settle in. This could take a while.
What’s above the fold
|The Globe and Mail||Toronto police confirmed the existence of the Rob Ford crack video.|
|National Post||Ford friend Alessandro Lisi faces an extortion charge related to the video.|
|Toronto Star||Ford refuses to resign.|
|Ottawa Citizen||The mayor’s losing political support on all sides.|
|CBC News||Ford’s lawyer says police can’t lay charges against the mayor.|
|CTV News||Lisi is in court today, related to the extortion charge.|
|National Newswatch||A poll says the senate scandal may be damaging Stephen Harper‘s brand.|
What you might have missed
|THE NATIONAL||EI. Fraudulent EI claims jumped almost 25 per cent during the last fiscal year, and the feds paid out $158.8 million that never should have left federal coffers. An economist with the United Steelworkers, Erin Weir, said the improper claims may have been related to claimants being unaware of rule changes—or, he said, more aggressive federal investigators.|
|THE GLOBAL||Iraq. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki hopes the United States can step up security assistance in the wake of increased terror activity all over the troubled nation. Civilian deaths have soared this year to the highest levels in over five years. Iraq Body Count estimates 1,095 civilians have died in October and more than 7,000 since the beginning of 2013.|
|THE QUIRKY||Pumpkins. Mercedes Jerez Farias, 26, faced several drug-related charges in a Montreal courtroom. Jerez Farias was caught at Trudeau International Airport with three pumpkins allegedly containing two kilograms worth of a powdery substance that police believe is cocaine. The woman, who may or may not be a Canadian citizen, could face two years in prison.|