By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford continued to hold his tongue Tuesday regarding allegations…
TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford continued to hold his tongue Tuesday regarding allegations that he was recorded on video appearing to smoke crack cocaine.
But he didn’t keep quiet when it came to a controversial proposal to build a casino in the city.
When the mayor stood to speak during a special council meeting on the matter, many hoped he would address the latest scandal to plague his tenure.
Instead, he delivered a six-minute speech on the casino issue, then left the room without taking questions.
Earlier, Ford ignored a crush of reporters waiting outside his city hall office on the chance he might comment on the alleged video. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 5:14 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Toronto city hall will be watched closely today to see if Mayor…
TORONTO – Toronto city hall will be watched closely today to see if Mayor Rob Ford’s camp responds to allegations that he was recorded on video appearing to smoke crack cocaine.
The mayor’s brother, Councillor Doug Ford, told a Vancouver radio station (CKNW) this weekend that he would respond today to reports regarding the alleged footage.
It’s not known if the mayor himself will be back at work this morning.
The Toronto Star and the U.S.-based website Gawker.com reported the controversial video story last week, stating they had separately viewed the cellphone footage which they claimed appears to show Ford smoking crack.
On Friday, Ford slammed the Toronto Star report on the video as a smear job and called it “ridiculous,” while his lawyer Dennis Morris called the reports “false and defamatory.”
Morris told The Canadian Press on Sunday that he had not received any instructions from Ford about launching legal action against the Star and Gawker, saying the matter was in “pause” until it’s known whether a video will become public.
The media outlets reported the video was shown to them by an alleged drug dealer who has been reportedly trying to sell the video for at least $100,000.
Gawker has been trying to crowdsource $200,000 to buy and publicly post the footage and had raised $84,839 by early Tuesday.
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
The latest on the mayor and that video tape
UPDATE: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford arrived in council chambers at Toronto City Hall Tuesday morning. The Canadian Press reports that he ignored reporters and their questions as he left his office for a special meeting about a proposed downtown Toronto casino.
Here is a picture of Rob Ford, stone-faced in the elevator, as his staff tried to shut the doors on reporters twitter.com/BenSpurr/statu…
— Ben Spurr (@BenSpurr) May 21, 2013
Earlier reports that Ford was going to hold a press conference at 11 a.m. were not true, said the mayor’s press secretary.
Ford did stand in council to speak against a proposed downtown casino, but he did not address the allegations against him.
Here’s what else we know right now:
1. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford cancelled his regularly scheduled radio program on Sunday afternoon.
2. The mayor’s brother, Doug Ford, talked to Mike Bendixen of CFRB about the drug allegations:
Spoke with Doug Ford, he tells me “I have never seen my brother involved with anything like coke.”#topoli
— Mike Bendixen (@mikebendixen) May 18, 2013
3. While the mayor kept a low profile during the weekend, he appeared to remain active on his Twitter account:
— Mayor Rob Ford (@TOMayorFord) May 17, 2013
— Mayor Rob Ford (@TOMayorFord) May 20, 2013
4. Gawker editor John Cook also noted Ford’s presence on Twitter:
— John Cook (@johnjcook) May 20, 2013
5. Speaking of Gawker, as of Sunday, it had raised $80,000 in a crowd-sourced campaign to raise money to purchase a video alleged to show Ford using crack cocaine.
6. A teen art collective in Toronto has released an enactment of the Ford video. Before playing the tape, the teens urge the mayor to seek treatment should he be suffering from addiction.
7. As the National Post notes, Toronto’s city councillors are calling on Ford to address allegations. Councillor Josh Matlow said the sooner the mayor does so, the sooner Toronto can move forward. “What would be very helpful, as a start, would be if the mayor would be more open about his take on the story and offer his perspective,” he told the Globe and Mail. “That hasn’t happened yet.”
8. In an open letter to Rob Ford, Toronto Star editor Michael Cooke poses a number of questions:
- Do you understand why this damning videotape requires a proper and thoughtful explanation?
- Have you ever smoked crack cocaine?
- How well do you know the men in the photograph that appeared on Friday’s front page? Did you know the man who was subsequently shot dead?
- Did you refer to Justin Trudeau by a homosexual slur?
- Did you refer to your football team as f—— minorities?
- Will you call for a police investigation into these latest allegations
9. Meanwhile, in case you have been at the cottage, the rest of world has discovered Ford.
10. CKNW, a radio station in Vancouver, has reported that Doug Ford is planning to respond to the allegations on Tuesday.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 7:14 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford decided against hosting his weekly radio show this…
TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford decided against hosting his weekly radio show this weekend after explosive allegations that he was recorded on a video appearing to smoke crack cocaine.
CFRB program director Mike Bendixen has tweeted that Ford and his brother Doug, a city councillor, won’t be behind the microphones this Sunday for their two-hour talk show “The City” on the Toronto station.
Bendixen says the Ford brothers told the station on Friday the show would not go ahead as scheduled, but expected it would be back on the air next weekend.
By Emma Teitel - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 1:06 PM - 0 Comments
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is not known to be a fan of the gays. Yet beneath a flapping rainbow flag — raised to mark the International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia and Transphobia at Toronto City Hall –he looked at peace on Friday. He was safe, at least for a while, from the media and the question of the day: “Mayor Ford, do you smoke crack?”
I was twice in the Ford scrums on Friday. At one point, he emerged from an elevator, red faced and mumbling something to the effect of “it’s ridiculous.” He appeared again after the gay-rights flag ceremony where I’m not sure he said anything at all.
The only indication we have so far that Rob Ford is a crack user, is this and this. There’s also this photo of the mayor standing visibly blitzed (in my opinion) between two men, one of whom appears to be the late Anthony Smith, a 21-year-old Torontonian who was killed in a gangland shooting.
If the video surfaces on the Internet, which I suspect it will, and the allegations are confirmed —remember the golden-eagle-snatching-a-baby video? — he may not only lose his job, he’ll have lost his last redeeming quality. Irrespective of his boorishness, Ford has survived on his image as a folksy inner-city high school football coach full of tough love and high hopes for the downtrodden.
The narrative was the only thing his detractors could stand — it’s what made him most loveable to his boosters.
If the allegations are confirmed, a man who claimed to be a hero in a drug-ridden neighbourhood will turn out to be the villain. He’ll go from being a flawed human being— bad mayor, but an okay guy — to much darker and despicable.
Until it plays out, Ford will persevere — indifferent to everyone and everything, especially his past. Remember his short-lived Cut the Waist, weight-loss challenge? That famous scale is still on display, unused and in full view — a public relic of his personal failure.
On Friday at city hall, an anti-homophobia flag-raising seemed like the highlight of Rob Ford’s day — that alone speaks volumes.
By macleans.ca - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 7:13 AM - 0 Comments
Toronto Mayor makes headlines from the BBC to Vanity Fair
By Manisha Krishnan - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 10:57 PM - 0 Comments
Kevin Donovan and Robyn Doolittle have spent years observing Rob Ford.
The Toronto Star…
Kevin Donovan and Robyn Doolittle have spent years observing Rob Ford.
The Toronto Star reporters covered the groping allegation, drinking accusations and the conflict-of-interest case that booted the Toronto mayor from office for a brief period.
But the journalists were not prepared for what they saw while seated in the backseat of a car in the north end of Etobicoke on May 3.
“I had no thought that I would see what I saw,” says Donovan, who has been with the Star for 29 years. “In my mind, it was not in the realm of possibility.”
By Ivor Tossell - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 6:47 PM - 0 Comments
Ivor Tossell on the vortex that surrounds the mayor every time his actions come into question
The international coverage of Rob Ford’s latest scandal is like a splash of cold water to the face after a long, depressive funk. It’s amazing how easy it is to get used to a terrible situation, until outside perspective intervenes.
Within Toronto, the story has an almost time-worn feel: Yet another bizarre allegation against the mayor has surfaced, but since there’s no absolutely indisputable video record on-hand and the mayor denies everything, who’s to say what happened? Things muddle on; stay tuned for another totally futile debate about casinos or something next week.
From the outside the view is clearer: Two news organizations say they’ve seen video of the Mayor of Toronto allegedly smoking crack and making an assortment of bigoted remarks. Holy hell!
By Emily Senger - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 2:41 PM - 0 Comments
A handful of individuals are seeking donations to crowdsource money they say will be…
A handful of individuals are seeking donations to crowdsource money they say will be used to purchase a copy of a video that allegedly appears to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine, as reported by both the Toronto Star and Gawker.
The published reports say reporters at both media outlets viewed the video, which was taken by men who were said to be connected to the Toronto drug trade. The owners of the video tried to sell it to the media outlets for $100,000, say the reports.
While neither Gawker nor the Toronto Star paid the money, several citizens have taken it upon themselves to raise the funds needed to, potentially, make the video available to the public.
At the site Indiegogo, a post asks for $100,000 and reads: “In case you haven’t heard, there is allegedly a video out there of Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. Let’s all chip in and buy the Rob Ford video!” At the time of writing, nine donors had given a total of $698. It says that if the $100,000 goal is not reached, it will donate the cash to CAMH, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.
A second Indiegogo campaign is asking for $100,000 and it also says it will donate any funds raised to CAMH, should it come short of its goal. That one had 89 funders and a total of $1,356 at the time of writing.
Another Indiegogo campaign, organized by The Province newspaper in Vancouver, said it would do the same with $100,000, minus the donation to CAMH. The Province says it will return any funds, should it come up short.
Of course, there is no guarantee that those fundraising will be able to track down the individuals with the alleged video, even if they do meet their goals. Though, Gawker reporter John Cook writes near the end of his story: “If you want to buy it, let me know. I can put you in touch with a guy.”
So far, Ford has not addressed media about the allegations, apart from uttering the word “ridiculous” while getting into his car outside his suburban Toronto home Friday morning.
Ford has, however, entered his office at Toronto City Hall, where dozens of reporters are camped outside, waiting for a statement from the mayor.
By Paul Wells - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 2:28 PM - 0 Comments
Ten years ago this month I quit my job. There was a small element of principle about it, although there’s no point exaggerating that. I had gone to work for a newspaper owned by Conrad Black and edited by Ken Whyte. Then Black sold the paper and the new owners fired Whyte. The editor they put in Ken’s place seemed, to me, incapable of running a newspaper properly. So I left the newspaper. It’s how I wound up here. I was unemployed for all of two weeks; it wasn’t a martyrdom.
I’m wondering what’s going through the minds of the people who work for Rob Ford today. The Toronto mayor stands accused by two news organizations of appearing in a cellphone video smoking crack cocaine. He has denied the allegation, or rather, called it “ridiculous,” which I am not sure is the same. The story comes weeks after another asserting that he appeared intoxicated at a military ball. There are previous stories about reckless behaviour on the Toronto mayor’s part.
By Paola Loriggio and Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 2:20 PM - 0 Comments
Toronto police ‘monitoring the situation closely,’ spokesman says
TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, whose tenure has been plagued by controversy and embarrassment, found himself embroiled in a new scandal Friday amid two independent reports he was caught on video appearing to smoke crack cocaine.
Leaving his home and again at city hall, Ford refused to answer any questions, but was quick to dismiss one of the reports as yet another smear job, although neither he nor his lawyer called the video fake.
“These allegations are ridiculous,” Ford said.
“It’s another story with respect to the Toronto Star going after me and that’s all.”
In an online account late Thursday, John Cook of the U.S.-based website Gawker.com said he had seen a cellphone video taken by a drug dealer that purportedly showed Ford smoking crack.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 2:17 PM - 0 Comments
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, elected to the city’s top job in October 2010, has…
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, elected to the city’s top job in October 2010, has been embroiled in a series of controversies. Here are some notable ones that made headlines:
— Aug. 19, 2010: As the campaign heads into the home stretch, Ford holds a news conference to discuss a 1999 arrest for marijuana possession in Florida. He ultimately pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and failing to give a breath sample to police.
— June 2011: Ford angers the city’s gay community by declining to attend either the city’s gay pride parade or the flag-raising ceremony to kick off Pride Week. Ford said he would be at the family cottage for the parade. His decision broke with tradition that saw the city’s three previous mayors march in the parade.
By Nick Taylor-Vaisey - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 7:48 AM - 0 Comments
Shocking news is hard to believe. Last night, there was lots of news, plenty of it shocking. The sun was setting on another day, literally, when newsrooms tore up their front pages and started from scratch.
Mike Duffy, the Conservative Senator who’s fighting for his political life after questions arose about how he repaid improperly claimed expenses, resigned from his party’s caucus. Paul Godfrey, the chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission who had pushed aggressively for new casinos in the province, walked into a meeting only to get fired—a move that saw the agency’s entire board resign in protest. And then, the pièce de résistance of an evening built to shock: a video that few saw, but everybody talked about all night, allegedly starring Toronto’s mayor. Rob Ford will never be remembered as a boring man, nor will he ever escape questions about his conduct as a public figure.
But now they claim he smoked crack cocaine, and there’s allegedly a video to prove it.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 9:33 AM - 0 Comments
The day after various Toronto media outlets published versions of a story about Toronto…
The day after various Toronto media outlets published versions of a story about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attending a community meeting and leaving abruptly to place “Rob Ford” fridge magnets on cars parked in the church lot, a bylaw enforcement officer is investigating to see if Ford broke any rules during his magnet blitz.
According to a report in the Toronto Star, a resident complained to the city after finding the Ford magnet on their car. A city bylaw deems it illegal to be found: “depositing handbills on vehicles and handing handbills to pedestrians,” says the Star.
The uncertainty comes around whether the magnets fall under the handbill category. If he is found to have broken the bylaw, Ford could get off with just a warning, or face a fine of between $100 and $150, reports the Star.
By Emily Senger - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 9:10 AM - 0 Comments
While the big political story in the country Tuesday was a Liberal election victory…
While the big political story in the country Tuesday was a Liberal election victory in B.C., a much smaller scene played out in Toronto the same evening, as reporters followed Mayor Rob Ford around a suburban church parking lot as the mayor of Canada’s biggest city slapped fridge magnets adorned with his name and phone number on parked cars.
Though the next Toronto election isn’t until 2014, Ford appeared to get a very early start on campaigning when he left a community council meeting in Etobicoke, a west-of-downtown part of the city, to plaster cars with fridge magnets that read “Rob Ford Mayor.”
Inside, residents were discussing a proposed highrise condo development called Humbertown, which many in the community objected to, saying it didn’t mesh with their suburban neighbourhood.
While it’s possible that Ford just had some leftover magnets from the 2010 campaign that he wanted to get rid of, his actions attracted the attention of journalists inside the meeting. Toronto Star city reporter Daniel Dale writes:
“When a reporter told Ford that some people might find his behaviour strange, he retorted that some people find the reporter strange. Magnets in hand, he made no further comment.” Continue…
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 9:39 AM - 0 Comments
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s dislike for streetcars has made its way across the border,…
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s dislike for streetcars has made its way across the border, where Ford’s past comments became part of a municipal debate in Arlington, Virginia about transit options.
The exact Ford quote employed by Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey was: “I hate those damn streetcars – they are a pain in the rear end.”
That quote then got into the Arlington Sun Gazette, which explained that Ford is: “the somewhat colorful mayor of Toronto, Canada.” (Ford did not return a Sun Gazette reporter’s request for comment.)
Other County Board members had also heard of Ford, with County Board member Chris Zimmerman acknowledging that Ford “is somewhat alone” in his opposition to streetcars in the city of Toronto.
The debate about streetcars comes as Arlington seeks to build an eight-kilometre streetcar network in what is estimated to be a $250-million project. Federal funding for the project was recently denied because staff at the Federal Transit Administration thought the county had underestimated the cost of the project.
By Ivor Tossell - Friday, April 26, 2013 at 9:23 AM - 0 Comments
Ivor Tossell on the Knight Who Says No
There exists a funny notion outside Toronto that Mayor Rob Ford is somehow in charge of the city. It’s a reasonable misunderstanding, what with the word “mayor,” the chains of office and the legal expectation that he lead the city and whatnot. Occasionally though he uses his last shreds of power to grab an agenda item and toddle off, though it never lasts long.
Take, for instance, his obstruction on the subject of paying to build public transportation. After decades of gridlocked inaction, Toronto and the municipalities that surround it are teetering on the brink of joining the 21st century, though not if Rob Ford can help it.
By Emily Senger - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 11:28 AM - 0 Comments
The antics of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford are, once again, fodder for comedy, with…
The antics of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford are, once again, fodder for comedy, with late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel taking notice of the mayor on his show Tuesday night.
Though, this incident really wasn’t Ford’s fault. The mayor-camera collision happened as the mayor was rushing out of an executive committee meeting where he was discussing a contentious new Toronto casino Monday.
Eager to avoid journalists, who were equally eager to ask the mayor about the casino, Ford walked face-first into a City TV camera. Ford’s reaction, as reported by the Toronto Sun, was: “Ah f—k man. Holy Christ! Holy. Guys have some respect, you just hit me in the face with a camera.”
The mayor was not injured. His pride, however, may be stinging a bit after he made headlines in the Daily Mail, on Deadspin (which also created an animated GIF of the incident) and, now, on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
“He has free health care. It will be fine,” Kimmel says, before replaying the tape in slow motion and adding: “Look at the guy behind him smiling. I have a feeling that gentleman is soon to be unemployed.”
Here’s a Youtube clip of the Kimmel bit:
By Jonathon Gatehouse, Martin Patriquin and Jaime J. Weinman - Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 3:34 PM - 0 Comments
Names in the news
A regime vacation
Jay-Z and Beyoncé Knowles’s choice of Cuba for a few ﬂashbulb-streaked days off raised hackles in the U.S., which has had an embargo against the island country since 1960. Though the trip was cleared with the U.S. Treasury and therefore legal, critics wondered why one of the most famous couples in the world would visit a country with such an appalling human rights record. “There are a lot of better places they could go where they’re not feeding a monstrous regime,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of Florida.
The bloom is off
Prince William may have to brush up on his ability to appeal to children before his wife has a baby. On a trip to Glasgow, Scotland, the prince tried to kiss a four-year-old Scottish girl in a princess costume, and the girl pulled away from him and hugged her mother for support, refusing to allow him near her or to give him the flower she was holding. William laughed it off and the girl handed the flower to Kate. The girl’s mother claimed she didn’t have anything personal against William, but simply “got really shy.”
Today’s special: prejudice
Dave Claringbould says rural Manitoba is not the friendliest place for an openly gay businessman. Claringbould and his partner started the Pots N Hands restaurant in the small town of Morris, near Winnipeg, only to announce four months later that they were closing down: they had received insults, including a customer who asked if he would catch sexually transmitted diseases from their food, and other customers stopped coming after finding out about their relationship. The publicity might save the restaurant, though; the premier of the province, Greg Selinger, has announced that he will eat there as a show of support for tolerance.
By Ivor Tossell - Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 8:54 PM - 0 Comments
On the allegations of drunkenness, the voters will decide
Rob Ford, of course, denies everything. Up he got on Tuesday, for his 39 seconds of rebuttal.
“Number one, it’s an outright lie,” he stammered to a City Hall press gallery, in response to a Toronto Star report that claimed he’d been asked to leave a function and, what’s more, had a drinking problem. “It’s the Toronto Star going after me again, and again, and again,” he said. “They’re relentless, that’s fine. I’ll go head to head with the Toronto Star any time. Let’s just wait, just let’s wait, let’s just wait ’til the election is, and then we’ll see what happens. It’s just lies after lies and lies. And I’ve called you pathological liars, and you are, so why don’t you take me to court? Let the courts decide. You guys are liars!”
At this point, his press secretary got him off the podium. Rob Ford subsequently went to ground, and hasn’t been heard from since.
Where do we go from here? It was the kind of performance that could have ended the career of a lesser man, but not Rob Ford. By now, citizens of Toronto have evolved a natural immunity to their mayor saying or doing something completely humiliating, followed immediately by the mayor insisting that it was everybody’s fault except his own. A visitor without such immunity might be shocked into some kind of uncomfortable awareness, but we’ve been desensitized into safety. It’s a good thing. It keeps the invaders out.
Ford is faced by some pretty damning evidence. One of his most reliable allies, Councillor Paul Ainslie—a genial scout leader from Scarborough with a true-blue voting record—felt compelled to ask that the mayor leave a military ball Ainslie had co-organized after at least eight people complained about his behaviour. This is not an anonymous source making an allegation; this is something that an elected and allied member of council says he did, before documenting it by e-mail.
The broader allegations of a drinking problem are harder to prove. The Star here relies on anonymous members of the mayor’s staff, present and past, which are credible given the newspaper’s track record of accurate (if hostile) coverage, but less saleable in the court of public opinion. Still, Ford’s erratic behaviour is on the record, and calls out for explanation.
In the last week alone he was reported to have shown up “disheveled” at a Shabbat gathering of Orthodox Jews, and pounded out a pro-casino speech that, by the Toronto Sun’s account, left other politicians cringing in embarrassment. Then he risked causing a mistrial in a first-degree murder case by spontaneously calling a legal affairs talk-show and—in a clarion call for personal responsibility for the accused—insisting that “you can’t defend that.” The lawyers on the show were left scrambling to explain the law to him.
In most places, the playbook for public officials caught in the mess is to come clean, stop the bleeding, issue a carefully worded apology, and then declare the matter closed. Canadians are a forgiving bunch. This is John A. Macdonald’s country, after all. Gordon Campbell had a DUI mugshot taken while he was premier of BC. Ralph Klein, who was the mayor of Calgary before becoming Alberta’s premier, drunkenly yelled at the homeless at a shelter; he thereafter admitted to problem drinking and swore he’d curtail it. Even here in Toronto, councillor Ana Bailao, after a false start, issued a tearful apology for her own DUI, pleading guilty and paying a fine. (At the time, Ford issued a statement. “Councillor Ana Bailao did something wrong and she’s taken full responsibility for her actions.”)
What did Rob Ford do this time? Well, he called everyone a liar. As a solution to his problem, it has a certain elegance. There aren’t a lot of moving parts to it: No fuss, no muddle, no explication and, as a bonus, perfect congruence with all the other times he’s lashed out at accusers.
This week, he gave only two refutations to the evidence presented against him. The first was his “I know you are but what am I?” legal strategy: Instead of suing the well-prepared Star for libel, he called them liars and demanded they sue him instead. But the second refutation was more telling: “Let’s just wait, just let’s wait, let’s just wait ’til the election is, and then we’ll see what happens.”
This is Rob Ford’s truth. The facts will be decided not by reality, but by the people, on election day. The visitor from abroad might think that a pile of damning evidence might sway the vote against Rob Ford, but that is to misunderstand Toronto. In Toronto, Rob Ford’s voters will absolve him of the pile of evidence.
It’s a schoolyard view of the world, in which truth flows from popularity and power. He’s used it to run his administration like a radio phone-in show, talking to just one crowd with a mix of pandering and fabulism. It’s also the outlook that’s landed him in a ditch, with his budget chief quit in disgust, his transit chief rebelled, his inner circle falling away, his influence gone.
And it’s a view of the world that many of us have enabled. Ford was resoundingly elected despite a widely reported history of both intoxication and denial. It had a legitimizing effect: Initially, even his foes in politics and the press deferred to the people’s decision that this was acceptable. For Ford, tragically enough, it was a mandate to keep doing what he was doing.
He seems resolved to keep doing it. The only way forward for Rob Ford is straight to the election. Only the popular vote can right his wrongs, and only the people can prove beyond a doubt that anyone who doubted him was simply telling lies.
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 10:43 AM - 0 Comments
Those close to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford are denying a report in the Toronto…
Those close to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford are denying a report in the Toronto Star that alleges that Ford has an alcohol abuse problem and was asked to leave a military fundraiser last month because he was too intoxicated.
A report from Toronto Star city hall reporter Robyn Doolittle and investigative report Kevin Donovan cites numerous unnamed sources who say an intoxicated Ford was asked to leave the Toronto Garrison Ball in February, an annual military black-tie dinner that raises money for the Wounded Warrior charity. Toronto Councillor Paul Ainslie also goes on the record in the story to say that he asked Ford to leave the ball, but he does not comment on why he thought Ford should leave.
The report also quotes former staffers who say they urged Ford to seek treatment for his drinking, but were unsuccessful.
The mayor’s brother, Coun. Doug Ford, responded to the report soon after it was published in Tuesday’s paper and online early the same morning. Continue…
By Emily Senger - Friday, March 15, 2013 at 8:40 AM - 0 Comments
Lawyer Clayton Ruby is taking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford back to court to appeal…
Lawyer Clayton Ruby is taking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford back to court to appeal the appeal decision made by a panel of three judges in a conflict-of-interest case against the mayor.
Ruby said he hopes the Supreme Court of Canada will hear the appeal, telling The Globe and Mail that the matter is of “national importance.”
“When the most powerful politician in Canada’s biggest city ignores everyone – his own integrity commissioner, the council, his own supporters – and hits up lobbyists for money for one of his private interests, well, are we supposed to sit back there and do nothing? Are we supposed to just let it go? Well, we cannot let it go,” Ruby told the Globe on Thursday. Continue…
By Emma Teitel - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 3:00 PM - 0 Comments
On the eve of International Women’s Day last week, Sarah Thomson, the publisher of Women’s Post magazine, attended a party for the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee, where she was allegedly groped and propositioned by an “arrogant” and “outrageous” Rob Ford. The Toronto mayor grabbed her buttocks, Thomson claims, and expressed regret that she didn’t join him in Florida the week before, when his “wife wasn’t there.” She went even further—suggesting on morning radio that Ford might have been high on cocaine at the party because he was “talking fast.” Thomson went public with her claims via Facebook the morning after the alleged groping, and has since been deemed a thoroughly unreliable narrator. Not only because there are problems with her story (two other municipal councillors claim to have heard her telling a friend about a plan to entrap the mayor) but, considerably more disturbing, because people just don’t like her. She’s obnoxious, she has unconvincing political slogans, she’s too skinny: these are just a few of the completely unrelated Sarah Thomson criticisms circulating the Internet at the moment. Tarek Fatah, the writer and activist, criticized the Toronto publisher for being rich (he assumed, incorrectly, on Twitter, that she is “from the richest family in Canada,” those other Thomsons). Others have attacked her for her employment of the word “ass” in describing the incident (as in, “the mayor grabbed my ass”) and even for speaking publicly about the incident in the first place.
In other words, being modest—and not rich—would seem to be the preferred prerequisites for someone who is groped. Oh, how far we’ve come. But it doesn’t stop at modesty. Once you’ve been groped, there are, apparently, exactly two things you can do about it. Here’s Christie Blatchford, spelling out those two things, in the National Post: “If Ms. Thomson believed she was sexually assaulted, she should have complained to a traditional body with the expertise to conduct a proper investigation, like the police. If she believed the mayor had just been a boor, she should have kept her mouth shut; wherever did the notion of discretion among ostensibly capable adults go?”
Press charges or keep quiet. Surely there is a happy medium in such a situation.
My ass, for example, has been grabbed more times than I can count, mostly in clubs and bars, and I haven’t once pressed charges. For me—and I suspect Thomson feels the same way—public groping is a momentarily perverse invasion of privacy, not an act of sexual violence. (It’s also incredibly hard to prove.) It makes me mad, not necessarily sad. But quiet? Never. In fact, on the particular ass-grabbing occasions I can recall, I sought out my girlfriends and we tried as best we could to publicly shame the guy responsible. We even had a technique at nightclubs—where dancing has devolved into arrhythmic mounting—of banding together and collectively remounting the guy who had groped us. It was the biblical solution to public groping: an ass for an ass.
Women have many choices in exacting revenge in the event of a public groping. They can be as immodest as they like—and yes, Tarek Fatah: as perversely rich, too.
And the notion that all sexual assault claims made by women who don’t go to the police are automatically false or at the very least suspicious is outrageous. According to a survey last year, 83 per cent of women who are sexually assaulted choose not to report it to the police because, ironically, they are convinced their attackers will never be brought to justice.
Still, as much as it pains me to say, some critics are right about one thing: Sarah Thomson may have made the wrong choice. Not about speaking out, but about with whom she is currently speaking. She didn’t go to the police with her accusation, perhaps because of the reasons outlined above. And she didn’t go to Rob Ford, to confront him directly. Instead, she came to us, the media. (And we aren’t, traditionally, known for our fair-minded and reasonable judgment.)
She chose to air her grievances not in a court of law but solely in the court of public opinion, where she is subject to the same scrutiny as her alleged abuser. She chose to deal with the incursion privately but in the most public setting, thereby forfeiting the protections of both realms. She chose the shaming route. She took the route of the 22-year-old at a nightclub, which, while it works in that realm, doesn’t work as well for the publisher of a magazine and a former contender for mayor.
I tend to believe she’s telling the truth, but because of her potentially libellous finger-pointing, refusal to consult police and utter lack of proof, the truth is something we may never discover. In a court of law, we might. In a court of law, Rob Ford would be innocent until proven guilty. But in the court of public opinion, Sarah Thomson is, unfortunately, guilty until proven innocent.