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Don Cherry’s Speech to Council, Transcribed

Photo by Christopher Drost/Torontoist.

This afternoon, at Rob Ford’s investiture, and wearing a bright pink suit for the occasion, special guest Don Cherry hung the chain of office around Ford’s neck. He then delivered a brief speech before city council, family and friends of city council members, and the media. This is that speech.

Actually I’m wearing pink for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything. I thought I’d get it in. What’d ya expect, Ron MacLean, here? To come here?
You know, I am befuddled, because I thought I was just doing a good thing, coming down with Ron—Rob—and I was gonna do this here, and it was gonna be nice and the whole deal.
I’ve been bein’ ripped to shreds by the left-wing pinko newspapers out there. It’s unbelievable. One guy called me a pink…a jerk in a pink suit, so I thought I’d wear that for him too, today.
You know, it’s funny. In those articles I was made fun of ’cause I go to church. I’m easy to do it that way. And I was called maudlin for the troops, because I honor the troops. This is the kinda, uh… You’re gonna be facin’, Rob, with these left-wing pinkos. They scrape the bottom of the barrel, but AGAIN, I was asked, why I was asked, and I asked Doug, “why?” And he said: “We need a famous, good-looking guy.” And I said, I’m your man, right? Right off the bat.
You know, I was asked: why, why, why [the] landslide. And I was in their corner right from the start. They phoned me. Doug phoned me, the morning. They’ll get a landslide! And why? Because Rob’s honest. He’s truthful. He’s like Julian Fantino. What you see is what you get. He’s no phony. And I could go on right now, all the millions and millions and thousands of dollars he’s gonna save and everything, but I’d just like to tell a little story that was in the Sun, I think it was in the back pages. It was just a little, little thing. And Fiona Crean, for eighteen months, has been trying to get something done with City Hall. And then the story—I think some of you know the story—that there was a little old lady and all of a sudden she got banged on the door and two guys were there and said: “We’re cutting your tree down.” You know that’s just a little thing, but to me that’s a big thing. “We’re cutting your tree down!”
And she’s, well: “I don’t want it. That’s my favourite tree. A hundred year-old…”
“No! It’s down. Cut it down.” And then they give her, send her a bill for five-thousand dollars, for cutting it down. And for eighteen months her son and Fiona were: “City Hall. City Hall. Please help us.” Thirty, forty calls. Unbelievable. Nothing. Laughed at. Rob’s the mayor one day, apology comes, and a five-thousand-dollar cheque.
And that’s why I say he’s gonna be the greatest mayor this city has ever, ever seen, as far as I’m concerned! And put that in your pipe, you left-wing kooks.
Thank you very much.


  • http://undefined Tom West

    “Because Rob’s honest. He’s truthful”
    Rob Ford said “We never had a council vote to implement Transit City,”… but if you look at , you’ll find they did. Rob Ford was “absent” from that vote.
    So, Rob Ford isn’t truthful, and that is what scares me more than anything else.

  • http://undefined spacejack

    It’s just too funny hearing that stuff come from a CBC commentator.

  • g026r

    “One guy called me a pink…a jerk in a pink suit […]”
    I don’t think it’s just one guy calling you that, Don. I’m pretty sure plenty of people who don’t have national newspaper columns have called you that. (Though the suit colour may have varied.)

  • http://undefined twtw

    Seriously? Cherry is bashing the outgoing regime because it cut down a poor old woman’s tree … in a back-assward attempt to make Ford look good?
    Ford is already on record as doing everything in his power as a councillor to NOT protect trees on private property. He rather famously likened protection of old trees like this one to “socialism”.
    Ford has also promised to levy EXACTLY the kind of punative fine Cherry describes on owners of private property if they fail to remove any graffiti his minions find objectionable (read: any of it).
    Could this pack of clowns at least make an attempt for consistency?

  • qviri

    Being an inconsistent clown got Rob Ford elected the mayor of the largest city in Canada. Why would he or his entourage stop now?

  • http://undefined iSeeWhitePeople

    Tom, I would suggest reading through the links you decide to steal from commenters on other sites. This isn’t a vote to approve Transit City, it’s a vote to forward more money towards the project. The 2009 date alone should have brought suspicion to anyone with a hint of an inquiring mind.

  • http://undefined le bricoleur

    I really take issue with the spin on Fiona Crean and her tree.
    She had a dangerous tree on her property. She refused to have it removed. The City (Forestry + MLS) told her to remove it. She didn’t. So the City removed it for her and billed her. It’s pretty clear to me.
    You may say, “Well, a private arborist said that the tree wasn’t hazardous and could be cabled.” If you’re in the private tree business, why would you remove a tree when you could cable and prune the tree one year and remove it next year? Why get paid once when you can get paid twice? More to the point, if you cable a tree, you’ve admitted its structural failure. The tree cannot hold on its own. For that reason, City arborists don’t cable trees. Imagine if a cabled City tree fell on someone? People would be in an uproar about how the City recognized that the tree was failing but neglected to remove it immediately. Similarly, imagine if the City hadn’t removed Ms. Crean’s tree and it fell on someone, despite the fact that the hazard had been brought to the attention of the Forestry department and Municipal Licensing and Standards. Again, people would be ready to lynch the City for not acting in the interest of public safety.

  • http://undefined bathory

    I weep for the future.

  • Mark Ostler

    Just wanted to point out that Fiona Crean isn’t the woman whose tree was cut down. Crean is the city’s ombudsman and she wrote a report about the case involving the felled tree.–ombudsman-toronto-failing-residents-with-dementia

  • Mark Ostler

    Beyond just voting for funding commitments, city council has also had to approve (and will have to, if it chooses to pursue Transit City) the environmental assessment reports for each Transit City line. Sheppard East was obviously approved already, but I believe that Eglinton was also brought forward sometime recently. Not sure about Finch West or Scarborough, the other Transit City projects that have seen provincial funding commitments.

  • http://undefined rich1299

    Actually council voted 13 times on various aspects of Transit City, that’s pretty indicative of council support for it, each councilor had 13 opportunities to vote against Transit City, surely they didn’t support certain aspects of it without supporting the entire thing, while Ford plans to change a major transit infrastructure all on his own say so, and those of course he just appointed to the TTC board which is not representative of the council’s position at all. such a major change in direction and the greatly increased cost to the city should definitely be voted on by the entire council. Metrolinx was created to avoid exactly this sort of thing, it was designed to reduce political influence on transit and instead make sound professional judgements the basis of new transit plans instead of politicians playing politics with transit like Ford has been doing.

  • http://undefined JacobL

    How utterly fitting. This circus is just getting warmed up, folks!

  • http://undefined e.c

    “He’s no phony” – is Rob Ford Holden Craufield? Or is Don? I’m just so confused…

  • http://undefined thomas.owain

    Millions in their private accounts, fancy suits and a bully pulpit. Paid to strut and judge the workers.
    Whose side are you on, boys?

  • qviri

    Drinking Tims like good Canadian boys. Thumbs up.

  • http://undefined Tea Oh!

    Oh fuck. Is this it? 4 years of cheap partisan politics? Oh “yeah? well you’re a latte liberal!” “Yeah? Well you’re a stupid right wing nut job!”
    I mean really, when you take intelligence and policy out of politics, there’s nothing to agree one.
    This was a horrible, horrible way to start of 4 years of public office.
    I feel like the larger and more complicated our actual problems become (transit, public housing, poor employment, enviromental etc.) the simpler our politics become. Maybe it’s because looking into the actual issues is too hard to bare, so we prefer to bicker in a way that’s totally superfacial and framed in a totally black and white context with no signs of a shade of gray. It’s just a huge mess that will leave us with real issues that will only get harder and harder to work around the longer we waste time bitching. Yeah….this comment had no real statistics, facts, or value, I’m just saying that it’s all so depressing.

  • http://undefined Tea Oh!

    Oh..and I can’t spell. “on” not “one” (obviously)

  • http://undefined uskyscraper

    Sigh. Totally reasonable, normal people like my own brother voted for Ford because he was annoyed about his garbage and real estate and car taxes and drank the kool aid on Miller somehow wasting money and not respecting the middle class. I warned him that his little protest vote would have huge consequences, the kind of consequences you get when you put an uneducated certified nitwit into power. I warned him that Ford would see his vote as support for insane transit policies, unilateral mandates and being able to do whatever childish thing he wanted. I warned him that it would not be long before the city would be a laughingstock in the eyes of the international media. And it all came true, after only a week in office. I’m sure many voters are now thinking that maybe that bald guy with the eHealth thing wasn’t quite so bad…

  • http://undefined the_yellow_dart

    Wow. Just saw this in the Toronto Star, which actually clued me into the fact that this transcript is REAL!
    The first time I saw it, I read and giggled, because I thought it was Torontoist just being silly and putting words in Cherry’s mouth.
    It’s pretty bad when life and parody are indistinguishable.

  • http://undefined rek

    ♫ Don’t you love farce?
    My fault I fear.
    I thought that you’d want what I want…
    Sorry, my dear.
    But where are the clowns?
    Quick, send in the clowns.
    Don’t bother, they’re here. ♪

  • http://undefined Tom West

    Firstly, funding a project implies you’re approving it.
    Secondly, how is reproducing a link “stealing” it? I’m not claiming it as my own in any way. Yes, someone else found it before me, but does that that mean I’m forbidden to ever link to that page because they found it first? You seem to think so.

  • TheRealJohnson

    I want to punch Cherry in the face. He is becoming one of those arrogant, post-Bush-era morons promoting what I call voting for dummies; those people promoting political candidates based on some fictional regular-Joe work ethic or their similarity to “every day people.”

  • http://undefined scunny

    TORONTOIST’s transcription and others I’ve seen all seem to have missed Don’s miked opening aside to Mayor Ford that kicked things off:
    “That kiss. Is that the ‘kiss of death’ that they give like that? I guess that’s what they do around here.”
    He was referring, one surmises, to the kiss that bicycle-riding Scarborough Councilor Glenn De Baeremaeker planted on Ford’s cheek during the individual “councilor and mayor” photo session that preceded Cherry’s self-absorbed “PINKO” rant.
    De Baeremaeker’s gesture was the only truly humourous part of the ceremony, and Don Cherry even attempts to deflate that.
    Sad, eh?