Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Ford Follies: International Edition

Good grief. The guy just will not go away.

Even when he actually does "go away"....he still won't go away. Not really.

Rob Ford, part-time mayor, part-time football coach, full-time buffoon, is in Chicago right now on a "Trade Mission". He has boasted, on the record, that this trip is not costing the taxpayers of Toronto "one dime". But, of course, he is lying because there are two senior staffers with him whose costs are being covered by the city. There will almost certainly be more costs, but there's already enough information to rebut his ridiculous claim.

RoFo and the Bean: A Modern Ballet
credit: Don Peat/Toronto Sun
Yesterday, while Ford was in the Windy City dancing under the "Cloud Gate" sculpture (nicknamed the "Mirror Bean" by locals and which Ford thinks should be replicated in Toronto, only in the form of a giant football, of course), one of his special assistants, Chris Fickel, attended the Don Bosco football practice, arriving at the facility in a car registered to the City of Toronto. When Dave Rider, a Star reporter covering the Chicago shenanigans, asked Ford about it he was told, "Do your homework. I paid for it last year." Paid for what, exactly, nobody is too clear on and since RoFo wouldn't comment further, choosing instead to tell Rider to, "go home, go where you came from," there's a chance we may never find out. And the exchange got a lot weirder and creepier than that. At one point, Ford asked Rider, "are you going to be sleeping with me tonight?" I can't do the incident justice here; have a look for yourself at the transcript in the Toronto Star.

But the hilarity doesn't stop there.

Today RoFo attended a breakfast in the Merchandise Market building, which was followed by a panel discussion on cities as economic growth centres. But that couldn't hold ol' Rob's attention, as he ducked out early to "prep" for his meeting with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel later in the day. Even though Ford showed up a day earlier than most delegates -- including Ernie Eves and Mike Harris -- and today's meeting with Emanuel is far from a last-minute addition, he still needed to bail on one of the key events of the summit to "prep". I guess he's not doing his own driving in Chicago; otherwise, he'd have had plenty of time to "prep" while in traffic this morning.

Emanuel and Ford: "Cut from the same cloth"??!
credit: Jeff Haynes/National Post
Speaking of Mayor Emanuel, RoFo described him as "a very hard-working mayor" and then added, "I think we're cut from the same cloth." At that point, had I been Emanuel, I would probably have called the meeting off and had Ford kicked out of the USA completely. I am not sure RoFo could have been any more insulting had he painted an insulting phrase about Chicago's mayor under his eyes. (What? Too soon?) Have a close look at that picture on the left. Now let me tell you that the difference in age between these two men is ten years. Can you tell which one is older? It's not that easy, but then someone who was offered a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet school as a young man (he turned it down) will probably know how to keep his body in pretty decent shape. That same former dancer marched at the head of the Pride Parade in Chicago this year and took a stance against Chick-Fil-A when their homophobic views went viral a few months ago. Yes, it certainly seems as if they were cut from the same cloth, if by "cut from the same cloth" you mean to say that it's possible that they each have male genitalia. For more comparisons of the two mayors, have a look at Dave Rider's excellent article, filed a full week before Ford made that ridiculous claim.

So let's recap what we've learned so far: Rob Ford is in Chicago on a "Trade Mission". He arrived a day earlier than almost every other delegate, but that's ok because the taxpayer won't have to pay "one dime" for his trip. Or perhaps they will, because he's already lied about that. While he was attending the panel discussion, he left early because apparently he had not had enough time to "prep" for his meeting with the mayor of Chicago, what with all the football he had to coach and so forth. He asked a male Star reporter if they would be sleeping together and claimed he has "paid for" the city-registered car that carried his special assistant to yesterday's Don Bosco football practice, even though a judge is currently deciding his fate in a Conflict of Interest case, another complaint has been lodged with the Integrity Commissioner over his use of city vehicles and staff for his volunteer work, and even his own staff has warned him about this practice. Oh, and this morning he also boasted (in reference to the recent teachers' strike in Chicago), that "we take care of all of our strikes" in Toronto. So all in all, it's been same-old-same-old for RoFo the past two days.

Well, except for one more thing. Yesterday this happened:
Mayor: I’m Rob, nice to meet you. You a Bulls fan? They’re a good basketball team, eh. Hi, how are you? I’m the mayor of Toronto. Nice to meet you. You ever been to Toronto?

Young woman: I’ve been to Canada.

Mayor: Yeah, whereabouts in Canada?

Young woman: I don’t know, that part across from Detroit and the river.

Mayor: Oh Manitoba! You were in Manitoba. Winnipeg?

(The young woman shrugs. A reporter yells out “Windsor.”)

Mayor: Windsor? Windsor. Were you in the city? So, that’s Ontario. Toronto is about four hours away, Windsor and Toronto. Excellent, well come by Toronto some time.
Winnipeg/Windsor. Manitoba/The Province You Live In. Feh. What's the diff, amiright folks? Hell, who hasn't confused Winnipeg with Windsor?

Windsor, Manitoba: on the Detroit river
Well, let's find out. If you have ever thought that Manitoba was directly across the river from Detroit, Michigan, tell me about it in the comments. On second thought, let's say if you thought that at any time since you left primary school. And if you did think so, likely because you don't live anywhere near that part of the country, please go on to tell me how much of your life you have spent being any kind of an ambassador or other public figure for the country of Canada. Because here we have one of the dumbest men ever to hold public office anywhere in this country wandering around loose in Chicago and making it look like we just abolished all public schooling in Toronto in the past decade. I often hear people say about Ford, "How much damage can he really do? He doesn't have much power as the mayor." Well, we're getting some idea of the answer to that question this week: he can do a great deal of damage, indeed. But hey, perhaps we'll get lucky and he'll board a flight to Torino by mistake on his way home and won't realize it until after the next election.

In the meantime, intelligent, politically astute and well-meaning journalists such as The Grid's Edward Keenan are forced to write hundreds of words each week outlining just how pathologically stupid our mayor is instead of discussing policy and the future of Toronto. I just hope they have the stamina to keep at it for the next couple of years, because the only thing "Ford Nashun" understands is the mindless repetition of words and phrases such as "subways, subways, subways" and "stop the gravy train". They need to be hit over the head as often and ruthlessly as possible until the very last possible minute: the 2014 mayoral vote. We can't let up for fear that Ford gets back in against all reason.

It should be a very dull and disheartening two years. Unless someone tells Ford that Windsor - and not Winnipeg - is actually south of Detroit. It might be fun to watch his head explode.


  1. From today's Metro: Who's footing the bill?

    Hilarious - "Let me be clear, I will not be paying any money personally for the trip."

    1. Not sure that is the correct link, Sar. Took me to a "Tiny Pic" website....


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