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The Rob and Doug Ford Radio Recap: Freedom of Information

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.

Giddy up, it’s the Rob and Doug Ford show! I’m pretty excited, because today we’ll get to hear about subways and how Glen Murray found a way to choo-choo-choose Rob. Aside from that, it’s totally up in the air, because the mayor has essentially been missing for the past week. Here we go!

1:07: Doug is not in studio, but Rob promises more fun than a barrel of monkeys, which is one of his favourite idioms.

1:08: Rob wishes political mentor and outgoing councillor Doug Holyday well at Queen’s Park, where he has his first session as MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore on Monday. Rob’s words of encouragement? “Tear ‘em apart, eat ‘em alive, show ‘em what you’re made of.”

1:09: Rob—who in the past week has not had any media availabilities, has not been seen at City Hall, and has made only two public appearances—says politicians always have to be on call.

1:12: After reading a list of councillors who opposed a Ward 3 by-election to replace Doug Holyday, Rob says he was especially disappointed with Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East); Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence); and James Pasternak (Ward 10, York Centre).

1:14: Rob: “The people of Scarborough had a big victory with subways, subways, subways, and more subways!” Given that Glen Murray’s proposal would deliver only two subway stops in 10 years, this is overselling it.

1:18: FOI requests, FOI requests, FOI requests. The people want freedom-of-information requests. The mayor chides Toronto Star staffers for their freedom-of-information requests in the aftermath of the crack scandal, and mentions that he has called them outright liars and they’ve never challenged him on it. It should be noted that the Star has stood by its stories. Meanwhile, the mayor has declined opportunities either to sue them or to defend his reputation in front of the Ontario Press Council. Whose pants are on fire? You decide.

1:20: The mayor repeats his claim that he’s saved the city a billion dollars—a falsehood that has been debunked by Metro, the Grid, and the Globe and Mail. At first, Rob reads a list of items that he says add up to a billion dollars. A minute later, he says that what he means by a billion dollars in savings is what the City saved compared to what it would have spent during a hypothetical David Miller mayoralty, thus undermining his previous argument. It’s almost as though he’s back in a University Avenue courtroom, contradicting his own testimony with specious arguments. Ah, the olden days.

1:25: The mayor brings on the City’s chief financial officer, Robert Rossini, to corroborate his billion-dollar claim. Rossini doesn’t quite use the same terminology as the mayor.

1:27: Oh boy, Doug calls in! More fun than a barrel of monkeys, indeed!

1:39: Rob mentions that he will sit in on the Etobicoke-York Community Council meeting during which candidates for the Ward 3 appointment will be discussed.

1:42: Doug says every single penny for transit expansion should be spent on subways, and he specifies the Sheppard line. If you thought the fight over LRTs was done with, you were wrong.

1:44: Doug calls the Toronto Star the National Enquirer of the North, which gets a big laugh from Rob. Doug then compares it four times to Pravda, the famous Soviet state newspaper. “They want to brainwash the people,” he says. God bless Ford Nation!

1:49: Rob challenges Toronto Star journalists to run for council. I suppose that would be one way for them to get the mayor to answer their questions.

1:50: The mayor says he’s committed to open and transparent government, and then complains about the number of freedom-of-information requests his office gets. “What are they looking for?…I’m doing more media than any mayor ever has.” First of all, they’re looking for crack stuff. Secondly, no, the media availability stuff isn’t true. In fact, you haven’t had a scheduled one-on-one interview with a non-Toronto Sun print journalist since January 2012. If you’d like to give Torontoist an exclusive, we can fix that!

1:53: The mayor blames the Toronto Star for all these freedom-of-information requests. Yet there have been 29 requests for emails and correspondence in relation to the mayor’s crack scandal, and only a couple of them came from the Star. In fact, it’s something that any self-respecting outlet would follow up on to ensure it has as much information as possible regarding a story that’s very much in the public interest. This isn’t a Toronto Star thing—it’s a journalism thing.

1:53: Rob says that, unlike those Star journalists, he shows up and works every day. The cognitive dissonance continues to amaze.

2:00: Peter Caragianakos, owner of Ozzy the dog, calls in to explain that he wants his canine to be appointed to council. It’s the first Rob has heard of the story, and he chuckles.

2:09: Rob: “If you’ve never had Polish beer, you should try it. Guarantee you can’t have just one.”

2:10: Jane is a musician, and she thanks Rob for increasing funding to the arts. (Actually the mayor routinely opposes arts grants, and increased arts funding is a result of the decade-long Beautiful City campaign). She supports the idea of making Ryerson restore the Sam the Record Man sign, and wonders what the mayor’s stance is.

Rob, too, supports keeping the sign. He encourages people to call their councillor and says he’ll arrange meetings to keep the sign up. I imagine this gives a lot of Rob Ford critics mixed feelings.

2:17: For the first time in the history of Toronto, we’ve balanced the books, says Doug. He says that the Toronto Star says that’s not true because of their socialist agenda. Actually, Doug, the City is legally required to balance the books every year. This isn’t a Toronto Star thing; this is a you being misleading or ignorant thing.

2:51: Gary calls in and chants “subways, subways, subways!” I think Gary supports the mayor.

2:55: Rob lists the accomplishments of his administration, including getting rid of homeless people who sleep at City Hall.

3:00 And God bless Ford Nation!

Today’s show was heavy on the Toronto Star bashing, taking on everything from its freedom-of-information requests to its habit of fact-checking the mayor’s consistently false statements. How dare it correct misleading assertions! And how rude to ask—as it is within the Star‘s rights to do—for records concerning the mayor’s crack scandal after he said everything’s totally cool. I mean, he’s the mayor. If we can’t trust him, who can we trust?

One out of five FOI requests.


  • vampchick21

    The last time Ford challenged a journalist to run for council, he got Adam Vaughn. Better watch what you wish for Robbie! lol.

    • Milquetoast Q. Borington

      Which was perfect for Ford, since it gave him a councilor who loves to be on camera and who Ford can then point to and tell his supporters, “This is who I’m fighting against. Vote for me and stop him.”

      • dsmithhfx

        That’s just too articulate and high concept for Mayor Crack.

  • goodjobs

    Rob Ford is the biggest lying sack ever. His supporters are brainwashed. Lame Duck Mayor

    • Brian Young

      But still dangerous enough to make a hash of big things like transit and little things like denigrating street people and brag about it.

    • OgtheDim

      People who think he’s a Lame Duck should give their heads a shake.

      He still gets stuff stopped, interrupted or changed.

      And if anybody thinks he’s got no chance next election, they havn’t been watching.

      From what I understand, those who want to get a different person in as mayor next time around are taking him very seriously. This next municipal election will sound a lot like a 10 month campaign as put forward by major parties at the provincial level. The Smitherman people got smoked by Rob’s war room the last time – that won’t happen this time.

      • Steve Fleck

        Agreed. Commenting here is not going to be helpful. Ford, whether you like him or not will be a serious contender in 2014. His core support seems to be unshakeable. The person to run in opposition to him needs to be thought through fully. That candidate will need to unify all the Ford opposition( A diverse bunch), AND appeal to Ford supporters who might be enlightened with the right sort of candidate to have a look away from Ford. That person will have to have a great vision of the city and it’s future. Will need to be able to talk straight to people, but also show them what true leadership is. Unfortunately, I see no one right now, who would fit that role as a candidate in 2014, and that’s why, as scary as this sounds, Rob Ford, has a good shot at being Mayor for another 4 years!

      • vampchick21

        I don’t take him seriously so much as I take the blind loyalty and inability to/lack of interest in looking into his claims for themselves population of Ford Nation. This is the issue moreso than the man himself. Without that fan base he’d not have become mayor in the first damn place.

        • the_lemur

          That is definitely the issue – it’s part of Ford’s whole martyr complex, which his supporters display by proxy.
          It would take a lot for Ford to fall from grace in their eyes, by his own doing, but it’s not inconceivable.

          • vampchick21

            It almost has a feel of Old Boy’s club, where members can get away with nearly anything if they’re affable enough gents.

          • John D.

            Well, it all comes down to tribalism, doesn’t it? The people who voted for him – most of them, anyway – think he’s one of them, even though he’s not. His wealth (which is inherited, of course; it’s not as if Slob has actually worked a day in his life) makes him an appealing fantasy figure, i.e. one of the “little people” who’s managed to do well for himself. His loathing of unions and open and undisguised homophobia appealed to working class rednecks and anti-gay immigrants alike. His crass, bumpkin-like manners supposedly make him look like a “straight talker,” not like all those uppity elitists who use faggy stuff like facts and proper grammer. The Nixonian levels of self-pity and self-imposed martyrdom – which I don’t believe are feigned at all – work very well in stroking the resentments of his followers, who were already plenty angry to begin with.

            Nobody is going to mistake Ford for being the brightest bulb in the box, but he has a low-born animal cunning that’s served him well, and a demagogue’s instinctive grasp of how to successfully pander to his base.

      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        True. At the same time, Ford will quite likely face a stronger field of candidates without the mastermind behind his last campaign: Nick Kouvalis. It also remains to be seen whether the Tory establishment in Toronto wants to back Ford. Many Bay Street money types may hang back and not contribute to Ford’s campaign. It’s certainly true that Ford is still a strong contender and should be taken seriously but it’s going to be a tougher fight for him in 2014. Those Smitherman people have a score to settle too.

  • OgtheDim

    Has it been determined if Rob is coaching football this fall?

    • dsmithhfx

      The real news is what happened at the OPC. The fordista who brought the complaint against the Globe said she doesn’t know who to believe. Just wow.

    • Steve Fleck

      He had, “Three offers” to coach football this Fall apparently. Of course this is the same man who said that, ” Businesses are lined up to meet with me about funding public transit”. Great, Rob. Can you let us know who;s on that list and when are you meeting with them!

  • the_lemur

    “If you’ve never had Polish beer, you should try it. Guarantee you can’t have just one.”
    Wait, was Ford at the festival on Roncesvalles recently?
    Does he drink the appropriate beer – copiously – at every cultural festival?
    Was he tanked on Mythos at Taste of the Danforth?

    • Testu

      That one is next weekend. I hope to see him there, should be a real party.

    • Paul Kishimoto

      “Was he tanked on Mythos at Taste of the Danforth?”

      He said he had a “couple of beers”—yet “you can’t have just one.” We learn that Rob always drinks exactly two beers. Does everyone see where this is going? All together, now!

      I drink two beers in the morning,
      I drink two beers at night.
      I drink two beers in the afternoon,
      It makes me feel all right.
      I drink two beers when Council meets,
      And two the hour before.
      I drink two beers before I drink two beers,
      And then I drink two more.

      …of course, the original lyrics would suit just fine.

    • milanista1

      Remember when Doug Ford said, on more than one occassion, that he’s never seen Rob take a drink? That was a good one.

      • the_lemur

        Maybe what he meant is that he’s never seen Rob take just one drink.

  • Steve Fleck

    Thank you for this. It is helpful. However, I wonder what sort of impact it has. Big Ford followers, I sense are not that much into message boards, forums or social media. Hence it’s all lost on them. The Mayor and his brother continue to bluster and blunder along with all kinds of wrong information, misleading talk and out-right lies and then when all else fails . . they just make stuff up! Indeed to paraphrase, It’s not a Toronto Star thing it’s the Fords being ignorant and misleading thing! Yet, ironically, the Fords are considered, “Straight Talkers”!

    • Brian Young

      That’s exactly the source of the Fords’ power such as it is, play to the mob whenever and wherever possible. You CAN fool some of the people some of the time – at least 34% anyway.

  • wklis

    The sad story with the billion dollar savings that Rob & Doug say they did, was done by cutting services and projects needed for the city. The next mayor, whoever it is, after Rob will have to restore them, but in the process will have to increase taxes. Even if just to keep up with inflation and population growth.

  • milanista1

    You’re kidding, right?

  • milanista1

    It’s got to be exhausting to lie for 2 hours straight. Impressive, I suppose, but still exhausting.

  • John D.

    I’m a gay male, Robert, and in any event, I was clearly using the word in a sarcastic manner.

  • rich1299

    Context is everything, its never the words but the context that matters.

  • vampchick21

    That went right over your head, didn’t it?

    • Robert California

      Just the opposite, I think. I called out John D. for using a homophobic slur and trying to pass it off as something Ford might have said.

      • dsmithhfx

        Might have said? Ford’s homophobia is a matter of public record. Actually, he used “faggot” while he was smoking crack. That’s on video, according to reliable accounts. Anything else you’d like to contribute?

      • vampchick21

        Yup, went right over your head. Not surprised.