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The Rob Ford Radio Recap: Slush Funds for Everybody

Every Sunday, Mayor Rob Ford and his brother, Doug, host The City, a two-hour talk show on Newstalk 1010. We listen so you don't have to.

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Rob and Doug Ford in the studio. Photo courtesy of Newstalk 1010.

Oh boy, it’s more dynamite Newstalk radio for our ears! What common sense will spill from the mouths of the Ford brothers today, and how will we be enlightened? Find out below!

1:10: The Fords touch on stories that have dominated the news recently, reiterating their support for a “Scarborough Relief Line” before a Downtown Relief Line and saying that they will keep their promise on the Land Transfer Tax. Of course, Rob promised to eliminate it rather than reduce it by 10 per cent, which is what he’s currently proposing. But details scmetails, right?

1:16: “Taking Care of Business” plays Rob and Doug in, and the Fords love it.

1:17: Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre) joins the show to discuss councillor expense accounts. Rob credits the longtime Etobicoke politician with getting him focused on the issue when he joined council 13 years ago. So there you have it, the next time council talks about penny-ante office expenses rather than substantial issues, you can blame Doug Holyday.

1:26: Rob wishes the Jewish community a happy Passover. This comes on the heels of a bizarre appearance at a Jewish religious event last week. Don’t worry, though. Doug assures us Rob loves the Jews, as they’re businesspeople.

1:26: Referring to council’s office expense accounts, Rob uses the term “slush fund” two more times, which raises the number to four so far in the show. The term conjures the idea of a secret and possibly illegal fund used for personal gain, and it’s inappropriate here. There are always some questionable expenses, but the mayor should be careful with his words—although that’s arguably an unreasonable expectation at this point.

1:27: Rob talks about his use of his own office expense account. “I’m not tooting my own horn, but I came in at $19,000,” he says, tooting his own horn.

1:28: Doug is going on about Janet Davis (Ward 31, Beaches-East York) buying helium balloons for the Crescent Town Fair in her ward. Why is the city buying helium balloons? Are we in the helium balloon business, like that adorable man from Up? Doug focuses in on the issue as though he has spotted a squirrel. He concludes we are not in that business, no sir.

1:30: Rob and Doug now criticize Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence) for hiring a consultant for Committee of Adjustment cases with her office budget. Notably, they don’t attack allies Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) or Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West) for expensing a lunch with dog-whisperer Cesar Millan and a decorative crystal beaver, respectively.

1:30: Councillor Frank Di Giorgio (Ward 12, York South-Weston) thanks Holyday for trying to change how Section 37 funds are allocated with an amendment at the last council meeting, which lost 16-20.

1:35: Without a hint of irony, “Sweet Home Alabama” plays the Ford brothers back into the show.

1:35: Bud Purves, chair of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, joins the show, and the Fords roundly praise him.

1:44: Doug talks about his business philosophy, which, he says, involves surrounding himself with people like Purves, who are smarter than him on their matters of expertise. The jokes are too easy at this point.

1:50: Rob on Purves’s leadership at the TCHC: “I love your accountability statement, it tickles me pink.” He then goes on to use the word “bailiwick” in proper context, which is amazing.

1:51: Rob explains his housecalls, saying that people want to see their mayor out in the city, not stuck in the office. Two weeks ago, a rough estimate by City Hall watchers had him at the office for about five hours during the work week.

1:57: Joseph calls in. He refers to Doug as Johnny Jones. He also refers to Adam Vaughan’s “slush fund” and lauds current and former City budget chiefs Frank Di Giorgio and Mike Del Grande. Joseph continues, saying that 85 per cent of Newstalk callers supported Rob in a recent informal poll, which probably says more about Newstalk callers than the mayor.

2:08: Rob talks about how he celebrated Earth Hour on Saturday night. He kept the TV on because the Leafs were playing.

2:10: Rob says that unlike his predecessor, he has never once blamed other levels of government for municipal failures, which is likely news to Dalton McGuinty.

2:12: Rob provides the quintessential Rob Ford quote: “Subways, subways, subways, not those dumb LRTs!” This would be a great way for Newstalk to start its Ford radio soundboard.

2:18: With MP Lisa Raitt on the show, Doug refers to Stephen Harper’s “great leadership” and praises him as the best Prime Minister in the world. He might be surprised to learn that, by and large, Toronto doesn’t share that enthusiasm.

2:22: Frank Di Giorgio elaborates on his stunning misinterpretation of Section 37 legislation. Di Giorgio argues that the language—which is only 50 words in the provincial Planning Act—refers to the whole city rather than the local community, and goes on about how this justifies using the funds for TTC capital expansion. This is wrong. The legislation is specifically geared to address neighbourhood infrastructure needs (playgrounds, streetscapes, and so on) that come about with an influx of residents, and is very clear about this.

2:45 Doug provides the quintessential Doug Ford quote: “I don’t even like politics!” As epitaphs go, this one is pretty good.

2:47: It’s time for March Madness picks! Doug likes Louisville, which looks like it has a great path to the Final Four. Rob likes Florida State, except they’re not in the tournament. He probably means Florida Gulf Coast University, which on Sunday night became the only 15 seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen. Rob and Doug, multi-millionaire heirs, go on to explain they really like underdogs and understand them.

2:48: A caller phones in to express concern about Toronto’s homeless shelter beds, but Rob reassures her that there are lots available. But the caller interjects: she works in a shelter and consistently turns people away. Rob stands by his interpretation of the staff report, and we move on.

3:00: Doug signs off with his signature “God bless Ford Nation,” and we are released from our weekly two-hour mass.

As the show goes, this was a pretty good one, full of ridiculous comments and the Fords showing their playful side. It was still sad from a policy point of view, but really, what do you expect at this point? For keeping faith and following the recap, God bless you, Raccoon Nation.

4 out of 5 Balloons.


  • OgtheDIm

    Does Randy Bachman know they are playing his tune to begin their political show? He may approve, he may not care. But, asking him would be a bit more fun then listening to this show.

    • Corbin Smith

      I have to expect that Newstalk 1010/Astral simply pays the licensing fee to use the song, just as they would do with any other copyrighted bit of music that they would use/play.

      • Glenn Storey

        he has the right to tell them not to use it.

        • Corbin Smith

          He probably doesn’t. I’d be very surprised if Randy Bachman owns the publishing rights to BTO’s songs.

          • Glenn Storey

            well, you’re correct according to the interwebs. sony owns the rights. that’s what a nasty divorce and big legal bills will do.

          • Nisi

            It depends on the conditions of sale – Randy may still have moral rights over the song…

            however, playing it on the radio might not be an infringement – if someone altered it in some way then he could complain I suppose… like the artist (Snow) did when they put bows on the geese at the Eaton’s Centre.

  • Jacob

    “Scarborough Relief Line”. The name alone proves he has no clue what he’s talking about.

    Also,“Subways, subways, subways, not those dumb LRTs!” sounds just like a spoiled 7 year old who didn’t get exactly what he wanted for his birthday.


      Alas, no relief in sight for anyone in Scarborough east, north, or south of STC under Ford’s plan. Which is to say most of Scarborough.

  • Lee Zamparo

    Can we get someone in to manage the budget other than Frank Di Giorgio? Avowed ‘numbers guy’ that he is, he might want to put more emphasis onto becoming a ‘letters guy’, so that when next he reads section 37 of the planning act, he’ll understand it.

  • istoronto

    The Ford brothers work their way up to being completely clueless from being complete Morons. More likely, both!

  • Dinah Might

    For those who may be curious: section 37(1) of the Ontario Planning Act says: “The council of a local municipality may, in a by-law passed under section 34,
    authorize increases in the height and density of development otherwise permitted
    by the by-law that will be permitted in return for the provision of such
    facilities, services or matters as are set out in the by-law.”

    The City of Toronto is listed as a municipality by the Government of Ontario. So it may not be unreasonable to say that Section 37 applies to the “whole city”…. but not necessarily the GTA, since Mississauga, for instance, is another municipality.

    • Lee Zamparo

      Di Giorgio’s interpretation is not explicitly invalid, but it does ignore the by-laws that the city passed to implement section 37. As quoted above, Section 37(1) states the council should make a by-law for implementing this height/density exception.

      The by-law that council passed back in 2007 ( states that “Section 37 authorizes a municipality with appropriate Official Plan provisions to pass zoning by-laws involving increases in the height or density otherwise permitted by the Zoning By-law, in return for the provision by the owner of *community benefits*. The *community benefits* must be set out in the zoning by-law. The community benefits may be secured in an agreement which may be registered on title. The term “community benefits” reflects the City’s priority on providing public benefits within the local community in which the contributing development project is located.”

      That last sentence from the report’s introductory paragraph is pretty unequivocal. It would be quite a shift in 6 years of planning decisions to suddenly ditch the “community” aspect of section 37, and refer to the whole municipality as one community. It’s legal (as long as it does not contravene anything in the city’s Official Plan), but it would take a lot of haranguing in council, and then a lot of changes for how we implement section 37 in the city planning office.

      • Dinah Might

        Ah, gotcha. So strictly speaking, it’s not that section 37 has a community aspect, it’s the bylaw that it refers to that does. Yeah, DiGiorgio should know that. Thanks for the info!

        • Lee Zamparo

          Exactly. DiGiorgio should *definitely* know that; he was on the council that passed the 2007 interpretation protocol, and more importantly he was part of the Planning and Growth Management Committee. This guy does not inspire confidence.