With the mayor missing in action, Doug Ford becomes the spokesperson on his brother's latest football-related outrage.
This morning’s news—that Mayor Rob Ford may have relied on at least three paid City staffers and their City cell phones to run some high school football teams he coaches in his spare time—has captured the media’s attention. This would be a significant Ford story on any normal day, but since the mayor was just in court for issues related to his having done something similar, it’s especially interesting. The mayor isn’t talking yet, so Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) has taken control of the narrative on his brother’s behalf, as he frequently does.
It has to be noted, first of all, that the fact that Doug has become the spokesman on this issue is pretty much entirely the mayor’s fault. According to a tweet by the Sun‘s Don Peat, reporters are currently camped outside the mayor’s office, waiting for him to arrive at City Hall and speak in his own defence. The mayor’s press secretary, George Christopoulos, hasn’t been forthcoming with any comment, either. When reporters can’t get word from the mayor directly, they still have to interview someone so they can file their stories. Doug Ford is a font of controversial quotes, so he’s not a bad last resort.
Here’s what Doug has been saying so far.
“I’m changing my rules. Every time you guys go after Rob, I’m going after you.”
(The “you” he’s referring to, obviously, is the media.)
The intrepid Don Peat was the first to the web with an article about Doug Ford’s utterances this morning. It contains a few more good ones, like the classic:
“This is lazy journalism.”
Yes, piecing together the details of some questionable activity by the mayor of a major city without help from him or his press secretary is so lazy. But skipping out on important meetings to go pretend to be a football coach for a couple hours is “working harder than any mayor ever has.” This is the new reality.
Doug Ford is also quoted in Peat’s article as giving an excuse for the mayor’s use of his staff for coaching purposes:
“He doesn’t force his staff to go play football…. They’re volunteering their time.”
In other words, it’s okay that Mayor Ford makes his staffers coach his football teams, because they want to do it. Doug Ford is paraphrased in the article as saying that the mayor’s staff members do their coaching duties on top of their normal 40-hour work weeks.
And then there are these tweets from the Star‘s Daniel Dale, which seem to contradict Doug Ford’s story.
“A source who worked in the mayor’s office said Isaac Shirokoff spent the majority of his work day on football-related stuff.”
Shirokoff is one of the mayor’s junior staffers.
“The source said Shirokoff used a city car to drive players, take equipment for cleaning, and attend games and practices.”
Also notable is the Star‘s take on the story, which contains evidence that Earl Provost, Mayor Ford’s now-former acting chief of staff, may also have been involved in some football-related work.