|Ford in 2011|
|64th Mayor of Toronto|
December 1, 2010
|Deputy||Doug Holyday 2010-2013
Norm Kelly 2013-Present
|Preceded by||David Miller|
|Toronto City Councillor for (Ward 2) Etobicoke North|
November 14, 2000 – October 25, 2010
|Preceded by||Ward created|
|Succeeded by||Doug Ford, Jr.|
|Born||Robert Bruce Ford
May 28, 1969
|Political party||Independent (2000–present) Note: Municipal politicians in Toronto run on a Nonpartisan basis|
|Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario|
|Spouse(s)||Renata Brejniak (m. 2000)|
Robert Bruce "Rob" Ford (born May 28, 1969) is a Canadian politician and businessman. He is the sixty-fourth and current Mayor of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Prior to being mayor, Ford was a city councillor. He was first elected to Toronto City Council in the 2000 Toronto municipal election, and was re-elected to his council seat twice. At first discounted as a potential mayor, Ford was elected mayor in the 2010 mayoral election on a platform of reducing the "gravy train" of government expenses and taxes, and he took office in December 2010.
During his political career, Ford has been the subject of a number of personal and work-related controversies and legal proceedings, including a conflict of interest trial that nearly removed him from office. In 2013, he became embroiled in a substance abuse scandal, which was widely reported in the national and international media. Ford initially denied the allegations, but after a 2013 Toronto Police Service gang investigation led to police discovering a video of Ford, he admitted to all of the incidents, including public drunkenness and illegal drug use. Ford admitted to having used crack cocaine "probably in one of my drunken stupors".
Following his admission, Ford refused to resign. Not allowed by law to remove Ford from office, Toronto City Council voted to remove certain mayoral powers from Ford and grant them to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly for the remainder of Ford's term. Council also voted to reduce Ford's office staff and move those staff to Kelly's office. Despite the scandal, Ford has promised to "continue doing the job he was elected to do" and contest the next mayoral election, scheduled for October 2014. On January 2, 2014, Ford registered to run for reelection.
His brother Doug Ford, Jr. is also currently a Toronto city councillor. Ford's father Doug Ford, Sr. was also a politician and served as an MPP in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. The Ford family owns Deco Labels, a multi-national labelling and printing firm based in Toronto.
- 1 Personal life
- 2 Political career
- 3 Substance abuse incidents
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Born in Etobicoke in 1969, Ford is the youngest of four children (Doug, Kathy, Randy and Rob) of Ruth Diane (née Campbell) and Douglas Bruce Ford, Sr. Ford, Sr. was the founder of Deco Labels and Tags, which makes pressure-sensitive labels for plastic-wrapped grocery products at an estimated $100 million in annual sales. As an indication of the family's wealth, the success of the family business allowed the family to build a six-bedroom home in Etobicoke, which has a swimming pool and gardens that can host nearly a thousand visitors.
While growing up, Ford attended the public Scarlett Heights Collegiate in Etobicoke. Ford dreamed of becoming a professional football player and his father paid for Ford to attend special camps of the Washington Redskins and the University of Notre Dame. After graduating from high school, Ford went to Carleton University in Ottawa to study political science. Ford made the football squad, but did not play in any games. Ford left Carleton after one year to return to Toronto and did not complete his degree.
After Carleton, Ford started a sales job at Deco. In 2000, Ford married Renata Brejniak, whom he met in high school. Ford and Renata, and their daughter Stephanie and son Doug reside in Etobicoke. After Doug Ford Sr.'s death in 2006, the Ford family retained ownership of the firm through the Doug Ford Holdings corporation. Ford, along with his brothers and his mother are directors of the company.
Ford continued his involvement in football as a high school coach. Ford first coached at Newtonbrook Secondary School in 2001 until he was dismissed over a dispute with a player. He coached at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School from 2001 until 2013 until the Toronto Catholic District School Board dismissed him after a controversial television interview led to a review of his coaching. Ford had donated $20,000 to equip the Don Bosco team and started a foundation to fund teams at other schools struggling to field football teams. Ford continued coaching after becoming Toronto mayor and was criticized for involving his political aides in the Don Bosco program and the football foundation. His fund-raising for the football foundation on city letterhead led to his being sued for conflict of interest.
Ford Sr. was a Member of the Ontario Legislature during the term of the Progressive Conservative (PC) government of Mike Harris. After Ford Sr.'s death, Rob has maintained political connections with the provincial PC party and the federal Conservative Party of Canada. A picture of former Ontario Premier Mike Harris with Ford's father adorns the mayor's office. Ford describes his father as his "political hero, my business hero, he's my hero overall." Ford has worked on the election campaigns of several PC candidates, including John Tory in a 2005 by-election. After Ford decide to run for mayor, his brother Doug Ford, Jr. ran in the same ward and was elected as city councillor.
Ford has had various health issues, including asthma and kidney stones. He was hospitalized twice in 2012, once for kidney stones and once for stomach and throat symptoms that aggravated his asthma.
In January 2014, the former common-law spouse of Ford's sister launched a $1.5 million lawsuit against Ford, Payman Abdoodowleh, the Ontario Minister of Corrections and Aedan Petros, over a jailhouse beating. In January 2012, Scott MacIntyre was arrested at Ford's house because of an altercation between himself and Ford. MacIntyre was jailed, pleading guilty to drug possession and uttering a death threat against Ford. MacIntyre was assaulted in jail in March 2012. The lawsuit alleges that the beating, allegedly done by Petros, a former football player who had played for Ford, was orchestrated by Ford, Abdoodowleh and Petros, because MacIntyre was threatening to expose Ford's drug abuse. At MacIntyre's sentencing, the judge referred to the beating as "so-called jailhouse justice ... because of his being a bother to Mr. Ford." Ford told the Toronto Sun that the allegations were "far-fetched" and "way out there."
Ford served three terms as city councillor from 2000 until October 2010, representing the ward of Ward 2 Etobicoke North. During his term as councillor, Ford was a strong critic of councillors' spending. Ford was known for his controversial comments and passionate arguments at Council.
Ford first ran for Toronto City Council in 1997, placing fourth to Gloria Lindsay Luby in Ward 3 Kingsway-Humber. Ford ran for councillor in in Ward 2 Etobicoke North in the following election in 2000, getting the endorsement of the Toronto Star. Ford defeated incumbent Elizabeth Brown in what was considered one of several upsets in Etobicoke. According to Ford, "the people said they wanted change and they got change".
Ward 2 is located in the north-west corner of the city in the former city of Etobicoke. The ward's population of over 50,000 in 2006 was 53% composed of immigrants, the largest group being South Asians. It is mixed in nature with 40% of dwellings being single-family detached homes and 35% being high-rise apartments. It is also known as an area that has seen gang violence, including six murders in 2000. Ford had previously resided in the ward, but moved in 2000 prior to the election, after his marriage, to Ward 4. In 2003, Ford was re-elected with 80% of the vote in Ward 2, defeating two candidates from the local Somali community. In the 2006 election, Ford won again, defeating Somali-Canadian candidate Cadigia Ali, this time with 66% of the vote.
It was during the 2001 budget deliberations that Ford made a reputation for passionate speeches. The City was facing a several hundred million budget shortfall, enough to require a 32% tax increase, after services were downloaded from the Government of Ontario. Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman was pleading with other governments for financial assistance. According to Don Wanagas, the National Post City Hall columnist, the other councillors began to dread when Ford rose to speak. "I have to give my head a shake because some of the rhetoric that comes out of the mouths of some of these councillors boggles my mind, I swear." "Get the government out of our backyards. It's ridiculous. Government red tape here. Bureaucratic here. It's nonsense having all this government. And it's nonsense. It's so ridiculous. If you don't like what the province is doing, there's going to be an election in June of '03 -- before our election, by the way." Councillor Anne Johnston proposed giving Ford a "neo-con award of the day", while Councillor Joe Pantalone advised Ford to take Prozac. Ford argued against spending money on the suicide prevention barrier on the Bloor Viaduct, and spending it instead on rounding up child molesters "who are the main cause of people jumping off bridges."
Ford proposed a cut to each councillor's $200,000 office budget, money for travel to conferences, ending city limousine usage and club memberships. According to Ford, "if we wiped out the perks for council members, we'd save $100 million easy." Ford was one of only four councillors who voted against a 5% increase in property taxes for 2001. Ford made a point of not using his allotted city budget for his office expenses, paying for the expenses from his salary. He claimed $10 for his first year, and $4 for his second year. In Ford's opinion, "all this office budget stuff is self-promotion to benefit yourself. Why should the taxpayers have to pay for it? It boggles my mind."
During the debates around the 2002 municipal budget, Ford and councillor Giorgio Mammoliti got in several heated exchanges, where Mammolitti called Ford a "goon" and Ford called Mammolitti a "scammer". The argument got heated to the point where Ford called Mammolitti a "Gino-boy". Mammolitti called the insult a "racist remark" and filed a complaint with the city's human-rights office. Three councillors stated that they heard the insult said by Ford, who denied it. Ford dismissed the councillors stating that they were liars if they thought he had made a racist remark. "I'm a conservative and the majority of people are left-wing and cannot stand my politics." The exchanges led councillor Pam McConnell to complain about 'testosterone poisoning' in the chamber. Ford extended his exchanges outside the chamber with columnist John Barber of The Globe and Mail: "I am not a racist. Anyone who calls me a racist is going to face the consequences!" to which Barber replied "You are a racist."
In the 2003 municipal election, Ford endorsed twelve political candidates on a platform of fiscal responsibility to take on fellow councillors: "We just need to get rid of these life-long politicians that just give out money to special interest groups and don't serve the community. I'm really teed off. We need to get a new council or this city is going to go down the drain." Ford targetted Brian Ashton, Maria Augimeri, Sandra Bussin, Olivia Chow, Pam McConnell, Howard Moscoe and Sherene Shaw. Shaw did go down in defeat to Ford's future budget chief Michael Del Grande, while the rest were re-elected.
Ford made a priority of responding to local constituents' problems, often returning calls himself or meeting with city staff to resolve problems. In 2005, local radio station AM 640 tested councillors on their response by having a reporter make an after-hours call to report a pothole. Ford was one of only three councillors to call back in person, within a day. His zeal in attending to constituents' problems became a competitive rivalry with fellow councillors Howard Moscoe and Gloria Lindsay Luby. Ford gave out his personal phone number to constituents, a practice he continued as mayor.
In June 2006 Ford came under fire for making a controversial remark during a Council meeting. During the meeting Ford spoke out against the city donating $1.5 million to help prevent AIDS. Ford argued that most tax payers should not be concerned with AIDS because "If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn't get AIDS probably, that's bottom line...those are the facts." After then Mayor David Miller pointed out that women are the largest growing demographic of people contracting AIDS, Ford responded that it must mean 'they are sleeping with bi-sexual men'. Ford publicly apologized for the comments in May 2010 during his mayoral campaign after his opponent, George Smitherman, called Ford's character into question over the remarks.
On March 7, 2007, Ford made controversial comments about cyclists' use of the roads, saying, "What I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks. Sooner or later you're going to get bitten... Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes. My heart bleeds for them when I hear someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day." On May 25, 2009, Ford said, "It's no secret, okay. The cyclists are a pain in the ass to the motorists." As councillor, Ford opposed the installation of bike lanes on University Avenue and Jarvis Street and during his election campaign proposed spending money on off-road cycle paths. Although lanes were installed on Jarvis in 2010, Ford made it a priority to get them removed, and as mayor, was able to get council to reverse the decision in 2011, a move which was criticized by cycling advocates and led to protests. Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong proposed an alternate plan to install physically separated bike lanes on Sherbourne Street instead and the Jarvis lanes were removed after the completion of the Sherbourne lanes. Toronto Cyclist Union president Andrea Garcia praised the Sherbourne lanes installation: "Cities all across North America that are doing way more innovative things for cyclists have been building separated bike lanes for a long time...It's great to finally see Toronto catch up". However, she also regretted the loss of lanes on Jarvis: "People live and work and go to school on both of these streets and they all need a safe way to get to these places." 
At a council meeting on March 5, 2008, Ford said, "Those Oriental people work like dogs. They work their hearts out. They are workers non-stop. They sleep beside their machines. That's why they're successful in life. I went to Seoul, South Korea, I went to Taipei, Taiwan. I went to Tokyo, Japan. That's why these people are so hard workers (sic). I'm telling you, the Oriental people, they're slowly taking over." The comments led to a sit-in at City Hall. Ford later apologized for using the term "orientals", but stood by his remarks, claiming that they were meant as a positive assessment of their work ethic.
Toronto mayoral election
Ford declared his candidacy for Mayor of Toronto in the 2010 election on March 26, 2010. Councillor Mike Del Grande endorsed Ford: "He's very popular with 'Joe Public.' He's definitely a contender, not a wild card." At the campaign kickoff meeting, Ford laid out his platform, organized into four main themes: "putting people and families first, focusing on the fundamentals, reducing waste and eliminating unnecessary taxes." Among his campaign promises, he said that he would repeal the vehicle registration and land transfer taxes implemented during the term of mayor David Miller, and make the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) an essential service. During his campaign, he promised voters that "services will not be cut, guaranteed". While in office, he qualified this statement to no major service reductions, and called none of his changes cuts.
During the campaign, Ford criticized the awarding of a sole-sourced contract to operate the Boardwalk Pub on Lake Shore Boulevard. The 20-year contract, awarded in 2006, gave the pub the right to be the sole provider of food and drinks to the public beach areas. Ford told the Toronto Sun editorial board in 2010 that the contract was "corrupt" and "stinks to high heaven." The comments led to the owner/operator of the pub, George Foulidis, to file a $6 million defamation law suit against Ford, claiming that Ford made "false and defamatory comments" about him. The suit went to trial on November 13, 2012. Ford himself testified how he was describing the process was corrupt and that his words had been sensationalized by the Toronto Sun to sell papers. The suit was dismissed in December 2012.
Ford was elected mayor with 383,501 votes (47%) over George Smitherman's 289,832 (35.6%) and Joe Pantalone with 95,482 (11.7%). The voter turnout was around 52% of registered voters, the highest in Toronto's post-amalgamation history. Ward-by-ward electoral results showed that Ford had won all of the former pre-amalgamation suburbs, while Smitherman topped districts in the pre-amalgamation Toronto districts. Ford also received 80,000 votes from the "Downtown 13" wards, or 20% of his total votes.
After the election, Ford had outgoing councillor Case Ootes, a former City of Toronto budget chief, head the "transition team." From his campaign team, Ford named Nick Kouvalis as his chief of staff; Mark Towhey, who had drafted his campaign platform, as his policy advisor; and Adrienne Batra, his communications advisor, as press secretary. Councillor Doug Holyday, who had helped elect Doug Ford Sr., was named deputy mayor. For the Executive Committee of City Council, Ford named councillors who had endorsed him in his campaign. For the inauguration ceremony at the first meeting of the new council, Ford had television commentator Don Cherry introduce him and put the chain of office on him. Cherry garnered some controversy with his remarks. Cherry described how Ford had reversed a mistake of city staff cutting down a tree of a Toronto property owner for no good reason and then billing the property owner, who suffered from Alzheimer's. Cherry added "Put that in your pipe you left-wing kooks" and, in regards to the pink suit he was wearing, "I'm wearing pinko for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything, I thought I'd get it in."
During his term as mayor, Ford has been involved in several publicized incidents while driving, including reading while driving on the Gardiner Expressway, and talking on his cell phone while driving. In another driving incident, Ford passed the rear door of a streetcar, while the front door was open, leading to "an exchange of words with the streetcar operator." As mayor, Ford is entitled to a personal driver and car paid for by the city, but Ford turned down the benefit and drives himself. Ford turned it down on the grounds that he did not want taxpayers to pay for the extra cost. "A million people a day go to work in the city and they drive. They drive themselves. I don't see why I am any different." Similarly, while a councillor, Ford had disagreed with the city giving councillors free TTC passes and fought for the eventual repeal of the perk on the same basis. After the August 2012 incident of reading while driving, Ford was criticized by the media, other mayors and safety advocates and the Toronto Police urged Ford to hire a driver. His brother Doug promised that Rob would get a driver, but it would be an existing staff member. Ford later announced that he would continue to refuse a driver.
Mayor Ford was the focus of further controversy when, according to a report in the Toronto Star, he personally asked city officials to approve drainage and road repairs outside the Deco Labels and Tags headquarters building before its 50th anniversary party in August 2012. Critics such as Councillor Adam Vaughan stated "This is a clear-cut example of using one's office to gain preferential treatment for private interests." Ford stated that he had made thousands of such requests on behalf of homeowners and other businesses. "Someone has a pothole in front of their house, in front of their business, I go out and fix it. Just like I did for our company."
The Ombudsman for the City of Toronto, Fiona Crean, published a report in September 2012 suggesting that Mayor Ford's office had "compromised" the civic appointments process for city boards and agencies. The report was discussed at Council and Ford refused to discuss the report at Council, instead responding on a radio talk show. "When people are just going to make up stories about you, why are you even going to try to defend yourself when you know it's just a bunch of malarkey so obviously this is politically driven and I disagree with it." The Ombudsman and the existence of the position itself were later criticized by Ford and became the subject of further debate. In October, Mayor Ford said he wanted to eliminate three watchdog positions: that of the Ombudsman, the Integrity Commissioner and the lobbyist registrar. "You don't need a lobbyist registry, an ombudsman and an integrity commissioner. They have 20 people; they're tripping over themselves. They're trying to make themselves look busy. I've never voted in favour of it and never would." All three positions are required under Ontario law and were established after the MFP computer leasing scandal inquiry.
His brother Doug has stated that Rob has written "numerous" reference letters for criminals, including tow-truck driver and convicted murderer Douglas Sedgewick, and his occasional driver Alexander "Sandro" Lisi, accused of threatening to kill a woman.
At its first meeting in December 2010, council voted to cancel the annual $60 personal vehicle registration tax passed by the previous council. The tax cancellation, a campaign promise of Ford's, took effect on January 1, 2011. For the first budget, which was for 2011, the budget was balanced with no tax increases and no significant changes. The budget used a surplus from 2010 and reserve funds to avoid raising taxes. A planned TTC hike was cancelled after Ford objected to it.
Prior to the 2012 budget, the Ford administration initiated a consultant review of the services provided by the city. The study included public consultation websites and public 'town hall' meetings. Participants were asked to group services as 'necessary', 'nice to have', etc. and how to expect to pay for them. Ford himself suggested that the city get out of running the several venues it owns, including the Sony Centre, selling off the Toronto Zoo and closing other zoos run by the City of Toronto. Ford's team promoted a figure of over $700 million as the projected shortfall with no new taxes or cuts made. The budget as proposed by Ford included cuts to various services, including environmental programs, libraries, parks and recreation, and social services, while increasing property tax by 2%, TTC fares and user fees, including those of sports teams of city facilities. In Ford's election campaign, Ford had promised to make savings at City Hall without cuts to services. Two public meetings held at City Hall turned into overnight marathons with hundreds of citizens, labour groups and special interest groups protesting the various cuts. The budget was revised at council to restore over $18 million of spending and send the administration of the Toronto Zoo and the venues for further study. Three smaller zoos were given deadlines of June 2012 to find other funding or close. Later in 2012, the increases in sports teams' user fees was postponed until 2013. In April 2012, it was found that the city was running a surplus of nearly $270 million for 2011, attributed to greater-than-expected land transfer tax revenues and cost-cutting at City Hall. In October 2012, Toronto Council voted to cancel plans to get expressions of interest from potential buyers of the Toronto Zoo.
In 2013, the city budget increased to $9.4 billion for operating expenses and $2.27 billion for capital projects. Unlike previous years, the budget did not use prior-year surplus monies to balance the budget; individual departmental budgets were reduced by $187 million and projected revenues increased by $251 million. The 2012 year-end surplus was used for TTC vehicle purchases and other projects not already budgeted for. As in previous years, taxes increased, including an increase of 2.0% on property taxes, 0.67% on business taxes and a 5 cents per trip increase to TTC fares. Ford supported the budget produced by the Council budget committee, stating that "this budget improves services, lowers our debt, keeps taxes affordable and is based on sustainable spending." At the Council meeting to approve the budget, Ford surprised other members of the executive committee by first voting to freeze taxes, before supporting the 2% increase as proposed.
Prior to the 2014 budget, Ford's office was shrunk and Ford's responsibilities and committee controls were reduced. Budget deliberations by City staff and the City Council budget committee determined that the property tax would have to increase to support the proposed Scarborough subway, and did not include a land transfer tax reduction. At the first budget committee meeting after Ford was stripped of powers, he left the budget committee meeting in protest of the tax increase. After Ford made public comments about Police Chief Blair, Ford stated that he would vote on the police budget, although Council members asked him not to attend as it would be a conflict of interest. Ford announced that he would push for a Council motion to reduce the land transfer tax by 5% during budget deliberations.
As part of Ford's campaign promise to "end the gravy train", the administration spent time on consideration of staffing levels at the city. In 2011, the budget committee of council passed several recommendations to cut staff through layoffs and buyouts. In July 2011, the city offered buyout packages to 17,000 staff, depending on department approval, hoping to cut staff by 2,500 voluntarily. At the end of the period, over 1,000 Toronto staff accepted buyouts. In October 2011, council also voted 26–16 to 'contract out' garbage collection west of Yonge Street to a private contractor.
In 2012, several of the city's contracts expired with their unionized staff: inside workers, outside workers, part-time parks and recreation staff, paramedics and library staff. The first union to settle was the outside workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 416. Negotiations with the outside workers went to the deadline and a deal was made averting a strike or lockout. One major change was the controversial "jobs for life" clause in the bargaining agreement which stated that all permanent employees with 10 years of service or more were guaranteed a job of equal pay for equal value if theirs was contracted out. CUPE accepted a change to 15 years of service under the same provision. During the 2012 bargaining sessions, Holyday threatened to unilaterally impose the city's offer.
In other contract negotiations, the paramedics were named as an 'essential service' in the outside workers deal, which meant that the paramedics could not go on strike in the future, and contract negotiations would go to arbitration. This provoked a threatened split from CUPE, but the paramedics eventually voted to accept. The inside workers settled with the city without any strike. The part-time parks and recreation staff initially rejected their first offer, but accepted a revised city offer. The library workers' union went on strike in February and a settlement was made one week later with the city.
In the mayoral campaign, Ford proposed to make the TTC an "essential service". Under Ontario law, an essential service designation bars its workers from striking as part of the collective bargaining process, and disputes during collective bargaining are handled under binding arbitration. Toronto City Council approved the designation of the TTC in January 2011. The Government of Ontario introduced the The Toronto Transit Commission Labour Disputes Resolution Act in February 2011 and it became law in March 2011.
Another of Ford's campaign pledges was to halt the Transit City transit plan. Instead of the surface light rail transit (LRT) lines of Transit City, Ford proposed to build underground lines. After being elected, Ford negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto for the Metrolinx provincial transit agency to build the Crosstown LRT entirely underground while the City of Toronto would build an extension for the Sheppard subway line using its own funds, private funding agreements and any monies remaining from commitments from Ontario and the Government of Canada. Metrolinx subsequently put a stop to the construction of the Sheppard light rail line, which was already started.
The Memorandum of Understanding was to be ratified by Toronto City Council, but never was. Ford set up an agency to study funding of the subway project, under the direction of former councillor Gordon Chong. Chong proposed user fees, parking fees and/or road taxes, but these options were rejected by Ford. In 2012, Toronto City Council held a special meeting to overturn the Ford-Ontario plan and voted to put a section of the Crosstown above-ground, and use the savings to build a LRT line along Finch Avenue West. Council decided further to study whether to put a subway line between the Don Mills subway station and Scarborough Town Centre or put an LRT line along Sheppard as far east as Morningside Avenue. The Council meeting, at the instigation of TTC chair Karen Stintz, led to a special TTC management committee meeting where TTC general manager Gary Webster was fired. Webster, against the wishes of Ford, had recommended that Council build the light rails as proposed in the Transit City plan. Council then held a special meeting to depose the TTC committee, replacing the board members who fired Webster.
The Sheppard panel returned in March 2012 with a recommendation to build the LRT option along Sheppard as originally proposed. Ford opposed the LRT but Council voted to approve the project. At the last minute, Ford's allies on council attempted to set up a parking lot fee to help fund the project, but Ford did not support the fee, and his allies could not sway the majority of council. Ford stated after the vote that this would be an issue in the next municipal election and he would do what he could to prevent the LRT construction and start campaigning to overturn the decision. In April, Metrolinx approved a plan of construction on the LRT transit projects, projecting a completion in 2020.
On existing TTC service, Ford voted for service cuts several times during the term to save money. In January 2011 Ford voted for service cuts on 41 bus routes, out of 48 originally proposed, to save $2.6 million. In January 2012, Council voted 23–21 to put $5 million into the TTC to prevent service reductions, a measure Ford opposed. In January 2013, Ford voted against putting the TTC operating surplus of $22 million back into the TTC, taking the money back into City general funds.
In 2013, Metrolinx began a study of user fees and taxes to fund future public transit improvements in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. All area governments were asked for their input before a June 1 deadline for Metrolinx's final report to the Ontario government. Upon the election of new Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ford announced his opposition to any of the fees: "If the province puts (tolls) through that's up to them. I talked to Premier Wynne last week and told her adamantly I'm opposed to tolls…she said she has to look out for the whole province which I understand, but I said I don't support tolls." In early April, Metrolinx issued a short list of 11 funding sources, including the four options supported by the Toronto Board of Trade: sales tax, payroll tax, parking space levy, gas tax. City of Toronto staff were commissioned to examine the short list and propose a list for City Council to consider and recommend to Metrolinx. The staff report, advocating the parking levy, sales tax and development fees, was delivered to Toronto City Council executive committee, the committee which Ford chairs, for deliberation and recommendation to City Council. Ford announced his opposition to any new fees and expressed a distrust of the Ontario government to implement any fees wisely. When the committee met, however, instead of making a recommendation, the committee voted 6–4 along with Ford to delay the report to Council until after May 28, which would be too late for Council to make any recommendations to Metrolinx. Ford's chief of staff commented that Ford and his team would make any new taxes an issue in the forthcoming 2014 election. City Council removed the item from the Executive Committee's jurisdiction and the report was debated at Council. Council objected to most of the proposed taxes, but did not object to a sales tax and development fees directed for transit.
During the summer of 2013, City Council endorsed a plan to modify the transit plan east of Kennedy in Scarborough, converting the LRT plan to a subway extending the Bloor-Danforth subway north-east to Scarborough Civic Centre and north to Sheppard Avenue. Ford endorsed the plan and sought funding from Ontario and Canadian governments. The Ontario government proposed changing the LRT to a subway, along the Scarborough RT route. This was opposed by Ford and city councillors. Ford successfully received a commitment of $660 million from the Canadian government toward the subway project. City council endorsed the subway plan in October 2013, along with a property tax increase to pay off the construction debt over 30 years. The subway plan was opposed by Scarborough councillor Paul Ainslie, who thought the overall cost of the subway plan would be significantly higher than the expected $3 billion cost. After the vote, Ainslie resigned from Ford's executive committee. Ford retaliated by recording a "robocall"' sent to voters in Ainslie's ward. The message denounced Ainslie for voting against the subway plan and for the original LRT plan. Ainslie promised to complain to the City's Integrity Commissioner and to a federal regulator.
Ford discussed his transit objectives for the 2014 municipal election, stating that he would seek to restart discussions of a Sheppard Avenue East subway, and revisit the plan to put an LRT on Finch Avenue West. He also stated that those would be his priorities over the building of a "Downtown Relief Line" subway that would bypass existing congestion on subway lines. "To be fair, the downtown people have enough subways already, I think it is only time to treat everyone equally and Scarborough and North York, Etobicoke — everyone deserves subways here. So let's connect Sheppard and work on Finch and look at the downtown relief line."
Ford's mayoralty campaign had seen a polarization of the informative media, and this continued on into his mayoralty. The Toronto Star newspaper and NOW alternative newspaper continued their criticism of Ford. The Toronto Sun newspaper and Talk Radio 640 radio station supported his causes. Ford had announced his candidacy for mayor on Talk Radio 640 and gave Talk Radio 640 the first interview after his election.
Not long after his election, NOW published a fake nude photograph of Ford on its cover, with a strategically placed fig leaf. The issue (NOW is distributed as a free weekly) was initially removed from all locations at City Hall and later returned. While Ford did not ask for an apology, his supporters on council did, but NOW refused. The Toronto Star and Ford began an ongoing dispute. Several columnists regularly wrote critical articles of Ford. In response, Ford refused to meet with Toronto Star reporters and in December 2011, the Toronto Star filed a complaint with the City of Toronto's integrity commissioner.
Ford took a different approach from his predecessor Miller when dealing with the informative media. The doors to the mayor's office that had been symbolically open during the Miller era were shut. Adrienne Batra, his press secretary, kept Ford's meeting schedule secret except to freedom-of-information requests. After reporters asked if Ford had met with one of his campaign donors, Vaughan developer Mario Cortellucci, Batra stopped including the names of Ford's meeting partners. Batra later left the mayor's office to join the Toronto Sun.
On October 24, 2011, Ford was confronted in the driveway of his home by Mary Walsh, a cast member of the CBC satirical show This Hour Has 22 Minutes, in costume as her character Marg Delahunty. Walsh has frequently conducted "ambush" interviews of Canadian politicians as this character, a housewife who dresses in an outfit inspired by Xena: Warrior Princess. When Walsh and the CBC TV crew tried to interview Ford, Ford instead retreated into the house and called 911. Ford called again a few minutes after the first call. In his second call to 911, Ford used obscenities. CBC News reported that Ford had sworn at the dispatchers, which Ford denied, although he admitted that he had used obscenities. "After being attacked in my driveway, I hope I can be excused for saying the f-word. I never called anyone any names. I apologize for expressing my frustration inappropriately." Walsh's segment was shown on television, along with a segment of her interviewing Ford's brother.
On February 26, 2012, Ford, along with his brother Doug, began the The City with Mayor Rob Ford & Councillor Doug Ford, a weekly two-hour radio talk program Sundays on CFRB Newstalk 1010. The Fords' show discussed current topics affecting the City of Toronto, with phone-in guests. In June 2013, it was revealed that Dave Price, Ford's director of operations and logistics, had frequently called the radio program without revealing his connection to the mayor or his brother. The Fords also gave no indication that they recognized the man who was calling in. In the calls, Price praised the mayor for such things as mentoring young people, while referring to former Toronto mayor David Miller as "comrade Miller" and condemning Miller's implementation of Toronto's 5¢ bag fee as "fascism". Ford suspended Price for a week without pay after Price made a call to Toronto Sun staff writer Don Peat to complain about the reporting of the story. On November 8, 2013, in the midst of revelations by Ford about his admitted crack use and "drunken stupors", it was "mutually determined to conclude" the show with the November 3 broadcast being the last in the series.
In May 2012, when the Toronto Star was investigating a potential purchase of public lands bordering his home, Star reporter Daniel Dale and Ford had an incident. According to Ford, at 7:30 pm, a neighbour told him that someone was taking pictures of his home while standing on a cinder block on public property behind his house, while the property in question is on the side of his house. Ford confronted the reporter and yelled at him. According to Dale, he was "cornered like a rat" by Ford, yelled for help, repeatedly asked Ford not to punch him, dropped his cell phone and digital recorder and ran, scared of Ford. The next day, on Talk Radio 640, Ford stated that he would no longer meet with any City Hall reporters if Dale were present. Ford's comments to the media about Dale trespassing were found to be false by the police and no charges were laid in the incident.
In April 2013, Ford was hurt in the face after colliding with a television camera after exiting a meeting in a hurry. The video clip of the collision and Ford's subsequent swearing was shown on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! television program and was also widely available on the internet. A cartoon depiction mocking the incident was used in an advertisement by internet job site Workopolis.
On November 18, 2013, Ford and his brother premiered a Sun News Network television series Ford Nation. However, the next day, the show was cancelled despite garnering record viewership ratings for the channel.
On December 9, 2013, in a prerecorded interview with Conrad Black for Vision TV's The Zoomer, when asked about his worst experience with the media, Ford insinuated that Dale is a pedophile: "I guess the worst one was Daniel Dale in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. When a guy's taking pictures of little kids. I don't want to say that word but you start thinking, 'What's this guy all about?'" Ford repeated the next day that he stood by his words, although Dale had never been in his backyard. Dale replied publicly that he would have sued over Ford's lies and slanders had he not been working for the Star, and called Ford's behaviour "vile." On December 12, 2013, Dale filed a libel notice with the mayor and the Zoomermedia television program, the first step of a defamation lawsuit, after Ford repeated his insinuations on a Washington, D.C. radio program. At a City Council meeting on December 17, Ford apologized to Dale. After Dale rejected the apology as inadequate, Ford went further and retracted all comments he made, and Vision TV added its apology. Dale announced he would not proceed with the libel action.
Conflict of interest trial
In August 2010, the City of Toronto's integrity commissioner ruled that then-Councillor Ford had not followed City Council's Code of Conduct by using official letterhead and other council resources in fund-raising letters for his football foundation. Ford had accepted $3,150 on behalf of the foundation and the commissioner indicated that Ford should pay back the money. On August 25, 2010, the City Council discussed the integrity commissioner's report and voted 26–10 for Ford to return the money. Following the meeting, Ford forwarded letters from several donors to the integrity commissioner expressing their wishes that they did not want repayment. By February 2012, Ford had not paid the amount and the matter was raised at a February 7, 2012 City Council meeting.
Ford spoke and voted at the February 7 meeting as City Council voted "[t]hat City Council rescind the previous decision made under Item CC52.1 and direct that no further action be taken on this matter", which carried by majority, 22 voting Yes, 12 No, with 11 absent. In March 2012, a complaint was filed by Paul Magder from Toronto alleging that Ford's actions in voting at the February 2012 Council meeting had violated the Ontario Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA).
The lawsuit came to trial in Ontario Superior Court in September 2012. Ontario Superior Court Judge Hackland ruled that Ford had violated the MCIA and declared his seat vacant, the decision stayed to allow an appeal. Ford appealed the decision and the Ontario Superior Court upheld Ford's appeal. The judges declared that the original judge had erred because the financial judgment was not under the City of Toronto Act or the Council Code of Conduct. Further, the sanction was beyond the authority of the City Council to enact. Magder filed an appeal of the decision to the Canadian Supreme Court, but the Court declined to hear the appeal.
Removal of powers by City Council
On November 15, 2013, two separate motions were passed by Toronto City Council that removed key aspects of Ford's powers as Mayor of Toronto and transferred them to the Deputy Mayor.
The first motion (approved by a vote of 39–3) removed Ford's power to appoint and dismiss the chairs of city committees as well as his authority to appoint and dismiss the Deputy Mayor; and the second motion (approved by a vote of 40–2) removed Ford's power to govern the city in a state of emergency, though he still possesses the power to declare a state of emergency.
Additional motions adopted by Council on November 18, 2013 removed other powers from Ford. Council decided to cut Ford's office budget and transfer much of that budget (and 60% of Ford's staff) to the Deputy Mayor, as well as remove Ford's power to: specify key matters in the Council's agenda, fill vacancies on the civic appointments committee, speak first and last at council meetings, and chair the city council's executive committee.
Following the November 15 votes, Ford stated that he would challenge the removal of any powers in court and has personally retained the services of municipal lawyer George Rust-D'Eye. Ford further likened the November 18 votes to a coup d'état and compared his situation with the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, promising "outright war" in response to the councillors who voted to remove his powers.
Substance abuse incidents
During his mayoral campaign, a 1999 arrest of Ford in Miami, Florida for driving under the influence (DUI) and marijuana possession became an election issue when the Toronto Star published details of the arrest. According to the statement recorded by the arresting officer, Ford was acting nervously, had bloodshot eyes and had "a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath". Ford threw his hands up in the air and told the police officer, "Go ahead, take me to jail." When questioned by reporters about the incident, Ford initially denied the DUI charge, saying instead he was arrested because he "refused to give a breath sample". Ford later admitted the DUI conviction, but omitted the marijuana possession. Ford later admitted to the marijuana possession, saying that the marijuana charge had "completely, totally slipped my mind" because the more serious issue during the arrest was the DUI charge. Ford pleaded no contest to the DUI charge, while the marijuana charge was withdrawn. Ford was given a fine.
On April 15, 2006, Ford attended a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game at the Air Canada Centre. Visibly intoxicated and belligerent, he began to insult a couple seated behind him, who were visiting from out of town. Two security guards escorted Ford out of the building. When confronted about the episode three days later by a National Post reporter, Ford initially denied having been at the game. He later told the Toronto Star: "This is unbelievable, I wasn't even at the game, so someone's trying to do a real hatchet job on me, let me tell you", but later on said: "I reflected on it last night, and talked to my family. I came forward and admitted it. That's all I can do. I mean, I'm not perfect," said Ford. "Being in politics, you're in the spotlight all the time. I made a mistake. I made a major mistake. I really regret it."
On St. Patrick's Day in March 2012, Ford was "very intoxicated" at City Hall and a downtown restaurant. According to those attending, Ford held a "wild party" in his office. Ford knocked down a staffer, insulted others, then went to the BierMarkt restaurant. After "flailing around" on the restaurant's dance floor, Ford returned to City Hall by cab, making racial slurs to the driver. The Mayor then wandered around City Hall after 2 AM with a bottle of brandy, swearing at his staffer Earl Provost before security arranged for him to be taken home. The incident was revealed in November 2013 after an e-mail from a City Hall security guard describing the incident was found through Access to Information requests.
In March 2013, former mayoralty candidate Sarah Thomson accused Ford of touching her inappropriately and making inappropriate comments while posing for a picture together at a political function. In a radio interview the following week, Thomson suggested that Ford was on cocaine: "I thought he was, yes, but I don't know," she said. "I went back and looked up, you know, what are the signs of cocaine use. I looked it up and you know sweaty, talking quickly, out of it, arrogant — all these things were on there. What I read on Google, I would think he's either on that or some other substance ... he was definitely out of it." Ford responded on his radio show by saying that Thomson's story wasn't true and commented on Thomson: "In my personal opinion, I've always said I don't know if she's playing with a full deck from the first time I met her."
Later in March, the Toronto Star reported that Paul Ainslie, a member of the Toronto City Council executive committee, had asked Ford to leave the Garrison Ball function two weeks prior to the Thomson event, due to Ford being intoxicated. The Toronto Star then published a front-page story accusing Ford of having a "drinking problem", which was an "open secret" at City Hall. In both cases, Ford or his chief of staff Mark Towhey denied the allegations. Ford said the Star story was an outright lie; he said, "Let's just wait until the election, and then we'll see what happens ... It's just lies, after lies and lies".
On May 16, 2013, American gossip website Gawker said it had been offered a video showing Ford apparently smoking crack cocaine. Gawker editor John Cook reported that he viewed the video and described that it features Ford holding a clear glass pipe in one hand and a lighter in the other. According to Cook, Ford subsequently lights the pipe and inhales. The next day, two Toronto Star reporters wrote that they had also viewed the clip, on a smartphone in the backseat of a car on May 3, and noted that they have "no way to verify the authenticity of the video" but that it "appears to clearly show Ford in a well-lit room" and "inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe." On May 17, Ford denied the allegations, calling them, "Absolutely not true." Radio station NEWSTALK 1010 and the Toronto Sun reported that they also had been contacted about purchasing the video. On May 23, Gawker posted that it had lost touch with the video owner. In the two weeks following the initial reports, Ford fired his chief of staff Mark Towhey and five members of his City Hall staff left to pursue other opportunities. On June 13, 2013, CTV News reported that, according to police sources, the police had been aware of the alleged video for weeks before the Gawker report.
In August 2013, Ford was recorded on video at the Taste of the Danforth festival by other festival goers. He was described as slurring his words and being "wasted" as he walked through the festival area alone talking to other visitors. City staff and police later arrived to assist Ford. The video was posted on social media and festival goers commented on social media about Ford's condition. The next day, councillor Jaye Robinson repeated her call for Ford to take a leave of absence. Ford responded to criticism by admitting to "having a few beers". His brother Doug and Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday stated that the incident was blown out of proportion. Later that month, Ford was asked if he had ever smoked marijuana. Ford said, "I won't deny that, I smoked a lot of it."
On October 31, 2013, Toronto's police chief Bill Blair said he had viewed a video that "depicts images that are consistent with those previously reported in the press" and added, "It's safe to say the mayor does appear in the video". The Associated Press reported that the video had been "deleted from a computer" and that it "appears to show Mayor Rob Ford smoking from a crack pipe." The announcement also came with the news that Ford's friend Alexander Lisi had been arrested in relation to the whole police investigation entitled "Project Brazen 2". In a short public response later that day, Mayor Ford said, "I have no reason to resign, I'm going to go back and return my phone calls, gonna be out doing what the people elected me to do and that's save taxpayers money and run a great government." Toronto police released a redacted version of a nearly 500 page report for 'Project Brazen 2' to the public.
On November 3, 2013, on his weekly radio show, Ford responded to the scandal by apologizing for "making mistakes". He reiterated his plans to continue as mayor and run for reelection in 2014. Ford also publicly asked Police Chief Blair to release the video to the public. Referring to the content of the video, Ford said "When the video is released, I am going to explain to the best of my mind what is in that video or videos". Referring to allegations of his abuse of alcohol, Ford said, "St. Patrick's Day got a little out of control", "I can't change the past. I have to maybe slow down on my drinking. I don't know what else I can say."
On November 5, 2013, Mayor Ford admitted to having smoked crack cocaine saying, "Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine but ... am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Um, probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago." Responding to why the admission took so long, Ford said, "I wasn't lying. You didn't ask the correct questions." In a statement made to the press at the end of the day, Ford issued an apology and reiterated his plans to stay in office and to run for reelection.
On November 7, 2013, another video of Ford surfaced, depicting Ford in a tirade in which he shouts ,"I need fuckin' ten minutes to make sure he's dead!" amongst other threats. The context of the threats and the video are unknown. The video had been shopped around to various media outlets before being purchased by the Toronto Star for $5,000. Ford states that he was "extremely inebriated" in the video: "All I can say is again I've made mistakes. It's extremely embarrassing. The whole world's going to see it. You know what? I don't have a problem with it. But it is extremely embarrassing, but I don't know what to say but again I am apologizing. Again, when you're in that state ... I hope none of you have ever or will ever be in that state."
On November 13, 2013, Judge Nordheimer ordered the release of the rest of the blacked-out items in the documents detailing the surveillance of Ford and Lisi. An Ipsos Reid poll was released showing that 76% of Torontonians want Ford to step down or resign. Standing in questioning before Toronto City Council meeting, Ford admitted to having purchased illegal drugs within the past two years. Considering Ford's behaviour, Council voted 37-5 to ask for Ford to take a leave of absence. Council also voted for Ford to apologize for misleading council; co-operate with the Police; apologize for letter of reference for Lisi and communicate with Council instead of the media. Ford then pushed for mandatory drug testing for all Councillors by December 1, paid for by himself. Chair Frances Nunziata ruled Ford's motion out of order.
On November 14, 2013, Ford threatened legal action against his former staffers and a waiter at the restaurant of the St. Patrick's Day night party, calling their allegations "outright lies, not true." Ford also specifically denied the allegations of sex and a comment about oral sex made to a staff member, and that a woman who attended the St. Patrick's Day night party was a prostitute. "Olivia Gondek. It said I want to eat her pussy. I've never said that in my life to her. I would never do that. I'm happily married. I've got more than enough to eat at home." Later in the day, Ford admits to drinking and driving. An Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by CTV News, CP24 and Newstalk 1010 Radio finds that 62% of Toronto voters would not vote for Ford in any circumstances. In potential municipal election scenarios against Olivia Chow, John Tory, Karen Stintz and David Soknacki, Ford would place no better than third. Further to the antics, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that the Government of Ontario is ready to intervene if City Council requests it. The intervention would be in the form of new powers to be used by Toronto City Council.
On February 8, 2014, The Toronto Star reported on an alleged incident in Vancouver on February 1, 2014. Ford, while visiting a bar reportedly disappeared into a bathroom stall for more than an hour only to emerge talking in nonsensical language. Ford and the people he was with at the time then ordered many alcoholic drinks after the legal 2a.m. last call. The Star acquired photographic evidence of the events.
Operation: Project Traveler/Project Brazen
Initially police conducted a drugs-guns investigation targeting narcotic distribution gangs such as the infamous "Dixon City Bloods" involved with the Ford crack cocaine video. The investigation spun off with "Project Brazen" as relationships between the Dixon City Bloods and Ford were uncovered.
In November 2013, Canadian media were granted permission to publish a series of text messages and wire taps which were intercepted by the Toronto Police during a surveillance operation entitled "Project Brazen". Although Ford never spoke to his underworld narcotics associates, candid conversations implied communication between gangsters and Ford's confidante representative Alexander Lisi. Ford misplaced his phone during the night of April 20 indulging in drug binge at 15 Windsor Road where he was also photographed injecting heroin "Doing the Hezza" and smoking the "Dagga" (crack cocaine). Ford provided a contrary explanation to his staff, saying that he misplaced his phone on the hood of his car during a voluntary spring clean. According to the police's interpretation a conversation (caught by a wiretap) between two of the gang members, Ford tried to offer a man named Siyadin Abdi a car and $5K in exchange for the video (suggesting that Ford had prior knowledge of the existence of the footage), but Abdi wanted $150K in exchange and he was approaching Ford for more money.
On February 5, 2014, Joe Warmington, of the Toronto Sun, reported that in response to rumours Police were seeking a search warrant to require access to Ford's cell phone and OnStar account that he would grant police access to his devices without requiring a search warrant. However, later that day, Don Peat, also of the Toronto Sun, wrote that Ford had backtracked, and would insist the Police acquire a search warrant, after all. On March 5, 2014 the Ontario Provincial Police was asked to take charge of oversight on Project Brazen 2 from the Toronto Police Service.
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