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.
Oh boy, the mayor is back! He was away last week on his CFL trip out west, but I’m sure he’ll have all sorts of zingers and great ideas this week. Grab your popcorn, it’s time for The City!
1:07: The mayor talks about his recent trip to Winnipeg and Regina to see CFL games, and how jealous he is of their football stadiums. He also says he was “treated like a king” in the respective cities, although a rousing chant of “crack, crack, crack” like the one that happened in Winnipeg hardly seems regal.
1:08: Rob, on being out west: “I’m telling you, you can insult their wives, but don’t insult their football teams. It was an amazing experience.”
1:09: Rob reiterates how Toronto needs a new football-dedicated stadium for the Argos, and says it would be “amazing.” As with all of his ideas, he doesn’t seem to have a plan to pay for it.
1:12: The mayor of Toronto says he’d really love to see CFL franchises in Halifax and Moncton, and asks Doug whether he has the money to make that happen. Actually, the Fords probably do have the money to buy the Argos, and it would make a great post-political career for Rob. He could wear a Tom Landry hat on the sidelines, be a meddlesome Harold Ballard-like owner, be around football all the time, and feel generally important. It’s all he could ask for, really.
1:12: Oh, sad trombone. Doug says he’s as poor as a church mouse and can’t afford a CFL franchise because the five women in his life (four daughters and his wife) spend his money “quicker than the dippers.”
1:15: The Fords go on about how people should vote Conservative in the upcoming August 1 by-elections in Etobicoke-Lakeshore and Scarborough-Guildwood.
1:17: Doug Ford, on sending a message to the Liberals: “If you can’t stomach voting for the PCs, vote for the NDP.”
1:22: Rob thinks the Blue Jays season is a write-off, and we agree.
1:23: Rob discusses his red-curb proposal. He says this is a way of saving taxpayers money by helping them avoid parking tickets.
1:27: Doug evangelizes for the Conservatives in the Scarborough-Guildwood by-election, and disparages either the NDP or Liberals (it’s not clear which) for parachuting in a downtown candidate—although Liberal candidate Mitzie Hunter, unlike the NDP’s Adam Giambrone, grew up in Scarborough.
1:29: PC Choo, the NDP by-election candidate for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, is given five minutes to explain why people should vote for him. Rob and Doug apparently invited all of the Conservative, Liberal, and NDP candidates on the show, but the Liberals declined.
1:40: Rob casually repeats the lie that he’s saved $1 billion at City Hall over three years. I pull out my hair.
1:42: Doug Holyday, Conservative candidate for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, now gets his five minutes. He doesn’t like the Liberals and thinks a change is needed.
1:47: Now Ken Kirupa, the Conservative candidate for Scarborough-Guildwood, gets his five minutes. He doesn’t like the Liberals and thinks a change is needed.
2:04: Rob calls the next guest “a helluva guy,” and it’s Adam Giambrone. He’s the NDP candidate for Scarborough-Guildwood. Giambrone, who has never lived in Scarborough, says the area is tired of being treated like a bunch of “second-class citizens.” He says Scarberians want better transportation, even though Giambrone, as the chair of the TTC, championed the LRT plan that he has been so quick to abandon in this campaign. Giambrone, a name candidate parachuted in to challenge a local union activist, says Scarborough needs a voice and better representation than the six Liberals the area already has at Queen’s Park. And now his time his up. There you have it: Adam Giambrone contains multitudes.
2:10: Our caller on line one describes himself as an “ardent supporter” who backs the mayor “95 per cent of the time.” But there’s a catch. “Where we part ways is, I worry your passion for football might cloud your judgement,” the caller says. “I hope you’re not going to ask the taxpayer for one cent to pay for a football stadium.”
Rob says that he has not once said he’ll use taxpayer money to build a stadium. Doug says we need to get the private sector involved in this, because someone just pulled the string that gets Doug to say things.
2:20: One of the mayor’s closest allies, councillor Mark Grimes (Ward 6, Etobicoke-Lakeshore), calls in to promote community events. The Fords’ nickname for Grimes is “Midnight Mayor,” and everyone wonders what that means.
2:30: Andrew calls in and he says that the people of Detroit should have elected someone like Rob Ford 10 years ago, which completely ignores the long-term social and planning problems facing the city. Andrew then goes on a diatribe about “socialism” and the “aging hippies on council.” Andrew has opinions. But so does Doug! He equates Detroit’s debt with Ontario’s, which shows you just how weak his financial analysis is. Because Doug doesn’t factor in existing assets or the ability to raise money to pay debt, he’s only looking at one side of the equation. Rob quibbles with Doug’s analysis, but they find agreement when they both blame the unions.
2:35: Paul calls in, and he says he’s a bit confused. How can the NDP criticize the Liberal budget and then support it, he asks? Oh, well, Rob agrees with this. He wouldn’t have propped up the Liberals, those rapscallions.
2:40: A guy named Rob calls in about funding subways. He asks whether businesses would be willing to chip in to pay for subways since they would get improved traffic flow. Mayor Rob and Councillor Doug love the sound of this, even though it will never, ever happen.
2:45: Kurt from Markham says he’s been studying the transit documents, and he thinks the money is there to build subways right now. It’s nice that so many engineers and financiers call in to this show with solutions.
2:48: Andy on line two is a regional councillor in St. Catherines who hosts a Newstalk show there, and seems to have politics very similar to those of the Fords. It’s like we’ve entered the populist-Green Lantern universe, with one Rob Ford-type to represent each region.
2:53: Gary on line three wants many more subways, because subways, subways, subways.
2:56: Gary on line four doesn’t want Rob and Doug to spend a dime on a football stadium. There are a lot of Garys in Ford Nation.
2:57: Art calls in and says that in campaign literature, Mitzie Hunter has been referring to herself as a “subway champion.” Between Rob and Doug, there’s an audible explosion of disbelief. Doug goes off, saying how when she was on the Sheppard Avenue expert panel she determined LRTs were the best choice for the corridor, and that as the CEO of CivicAction she championed revenue tools to pay for Metrolinx’s Big Move. “That is hypocrisy at its best,” says Doug. And he’s right. Hunter, like Giambrone, has done confounding political contortions in the name of getting a seat at Queen’s Park. That her current position contradicts the transit arguments and principles that got her to this point doesn’t seem to matter in the face of political opportunism.
2:58: Carol asks why the Fords are so nice when Adam Vaughan insults them. Seriously, that was a real question.
2:59: Gary wants more 12-lane expressways. Well Gary, we want more Garys. Garys, Garys, Garys, that’s what the people want.
3:00: God bless Ford Nation!
So that was our show, folks. It was a two-hour ad for the Conservatives, with some NDP content thrown in for good measure. Notably, practically the entire show was devoted to provincial issues and content. And football. There’s gotta be football. Two out of five field goals.