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politics

The Rob and Doug Ford Radio Recap: RoboFord

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.

Normally Rob and Doug Ford don’t do their radio show on long weekends, which is nice, because then there’s no recap to do. But this week the Ford brothers made an exception in order to do a subways, subways, subways victory lap. Presumably, they’ll talk about subways this show. Maybe robocalls too? Let’s find out!

1:08: Rob says “subways” four times in a row, because it’s a day that ends in “y.” Of course, this also doubles as his answer for anything related to Sandro Lisi.

1:10: Rob says he disagrees with the process used last week to appoint a new councillor to for Ward 3. He criticizes councillors Shelley Carroll (Ward 33, Don Valley East) and Paula Fletcher (Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth) for voting to appoint new councillor Peter Leon, and then praises Peter Leon. Peter Leon (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre) is now on the show.

1:17: Leon speaks about his background, which includes a stint on the Etobicoke Library Board. “I had a great experience on the library, I believe it was seven or eight years, all told…Ladies and gentleman, the best bargain you have today in your community is your public library, believe me.”

1:25: Doug asks Leon how the traffic was along St. Clair Avenue coming into the studio, and he says it was bad: “The more subways the better.” Doug agrees, “We have lots of real estate underground, and we have to continue building subways, not spread the St. Clair disaster throughout the whole city.”

1:30: Leon signs off, and Rob, who didn’t vote for him during the appointment process, says he wishes that there were 42 other councillors just like him.

1:33: As Trooper’s “Raise a Little Hell” plays, the Fords back into the show from commercial, and Rob says, “Raise a little hell. We have to raise a lot of hell down there to save a billion dollars. It’s like taking milk from a baby. All they do is yell and scream, and holy smokes.” (As has been reported over and over again, Rob has not saved a billion dollars.) Rob then says that the city’s unemployment rate has gone from 11 per cent to 7 per cent on his watch. It’s true that unemployment has decreased during his mayoralty, but from 9.4 per cent to 7.1 per cent.

1:36: Rob criticizes councillor Janet Davis (Ward 31, Beaches East-York) for wanting to increase service levels for affordable housing, childcare, and shelter services, saying she wants to recklessly spend money the City doesn’t have. Doug chimes in: “Councillor Davis is known to pump up her union buddies.” He then goes on to say that the role of government is to make sure the necessities are taken care of and taxes are low.

Well, to someone who can’t afford childcare or housing, social services are probably necessities. What’s not a necessity is spending $910 million of City money on a subway that will require large operating subsidies for most of its useful life.

1:37: Rob: “LRT is exactly what we have on St. Clair.” It is not. Rob: “They’re going to rip up the middle of the roads.” The Scarborough LRT would not run on the road.

1:40: Speaking about his robocalls to Paul Ainslie’s (Ward 43, Scarborough East) ward after Ainslie supported LRT rather than subways, Rob says, “My responsibility is to inform people how councillors vote.”

“All I want to do is to make sure people stand up and say ‘I’m proud of how I voted.’ I wish someone would come out and advertise my voting record to the entire city. I can justify it, I can tell you why I voted on the issues the way I did.”

Rob Ford, your wish is granted.

Of the 60 council votes deemed significant by Metro‘s Matt Elliott, the mayor has lost 28 of them. For context, in seven years, David Miller lost one. So Rob Ford is not that good at winning votes. Here’s a small selection of votes worth informing people about:

The mayor has voted: against his own budget, against funding the student nutrition program with investment earnings, to cut funding to the Tenant Defence Fund, against a review to make the budget process more transparent, against taking the end of the school year into consideration when moving TCHC residents whose homes are being sold, to implement service reductions on 56 bus routes and 6 streetcar lines, to increase the crowding limit on buses, to charge charities and churches for waste collection, against community grants for youth outreach workers (after the vote, Ford ran from a reporter who asked him about it), against provincially funded public-health nurses, to reject provincial grants to help preschoolers who stutter, against allowing people with disabilities to speak to council committees by video conference, and to relieve himself of responsibility for reimbursing lobbyists who donated $3,150 to his football foundation, if you remember that one.

That’s a long robocall.

1:41: Sometimes Rob tells stories that make you question how accurate they are. Let’s put on our detective hat as he talks about the time Paul Ainslie resigned from the mayor’s executive committee:

“After [the vote], I was obviously upset. People in Scarborough were very upset, and said, ‘Rob, there’s something wrong with this picture. Why did Councillor Ainslie jump ship?’”

I have a feeling that “People in Scarborough” might mean “Norm Kelly and Michael Thompson,” or an equally small sample size.

“I said, ‘I can’t give you an answer.’ So I said, you know what, I have to dismiss him from my executive.”

Okay, that’s fair, you want your executive committee to represent your views. But didn’t fellow executive committee councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) vote against the subway extension too?

“I could’ve done it on Wednesday, but I said ‘You know what, I won’t.’ I talked to Earl, my chief of staff, I said ‘Let’s just wait it out, I don’t want to embarrass him.’”

Right, you’re a nice guy and you want to be gracious in your victory. But wait, weren’t you the one who did the robocalls? Wasn’t the point of those to embarrass him for his vote?

“On Friday I was going to let him go. It was the right thing to do. The right thing to do was to get him to resign, so this wouldn’t belittle or embarrass him.”

Now I’m confused. Are you dismissing him, and that’s the right thing, or are you allowing him to resign on his own terms, because that’s classy-like?

“So he did that. He obviously caught wind of that he was getting dismissed at the end of council, so he resigned at the end of the afternoon. No problem.”

So then you belittled and embarrassed him with robocalls to his ward and insults on your weekly radio show. I’m starting to think this story isn’t consistent, and is being made up as we go along. Also, it doesn’t have enough pictures.

1:42: Rob admits the robocall was his. Can RoboFord be a Thing? He also says the robocall was not personal and he never said anything negative about Ainslie (you can listen to it here). However, when Ainslie spoke at council in support of the LRT, Rob’s first question was, “Councillor, do you plan to run in the next election?” So the mayor can frame this as “informing the public” rather than electioneering, but you be the judge.

1:45: Rob, on robocalls: “I didn’t do anything wrong, I just informed people how he voted.” Doug says the reason Ainslie is upset is because Rob didn’t pick him as budget chief. Of course, the Ward 43 councillor did go public about Rob’s alleged intoxication at the Garrison Ball for veterans, so there are motives for both parties here.

1:54: “When you hold people to account, when one of your key platforms was transparency and accountability, you ruffle feathers. You absolutely ruffle feathers, they don’t like the truth, they don’t like the facts.” -Noted fabulist Doug Ford discusses epistemology.

1:58: Rob says he paid for the robocall and that Ainslie can go running to the integrity commissioner, but it won’t be the last of these calls. Ford may be cleared of any wrongdoing with the integrity commissioner, but that doesn’t mean that what he did was right, and robocalls after close votes certainly shouldn’t be, as Doug says, “standard operating procedure.” A lot of politics is based on the assumption that politicians will possess a basic amount of decency and shame to prevent things like this from arising in the first place. But how do you teach an individual whose governing principle is pathological shamelessness?

2:03: Doug makes the argument that of Toronto’s 67 subway stations only three are in Scarborough, and that that’s unfair. Of course, the reason the downtown subway is so crowded anytime near rush hour is because all parts of the city commute to it for work, but no bother. This is Doug Ford’s subway socialism, where all areas of the city need equal subway representation regardless of any sensible transit or budget planning.

2:05: Rob says his priorities for subway expansion would go:

  1. Connect Don Mills to McCowan Road
  2. Put a subway along Finch Avenue
  3. Downtown Relief Line

His reason for the relief line being third? Downtown has enough subways. Okay, hope you like pictures like this, Toronto.

2:08: We have our first call of the day, Paul on line one! Let’s listen in.

Paul: “I just want to congratulate Councillor Ainslie on his vote on the subway. Doug Ford, just a few minutes ago you said LRT in Scarborough would be ripping up the road and blocking traffic. Is that correct? Did you say that? ”

Doug: 100 per cent it’s going to be ripping up the roads. You know Paul—

Paul: That’s a lie, Mr. Ford.

Doug: Oh okay, I’ll let you finish and I’ll respond.

Paul: Do you understand that the LRT plan was supposed to follow the Scarborough RT route and not be blocking any traffic whatsoever?

Doug: Let him finish.

Rob: Go ahead.

Paul: In a YouTube video search for Rob Ford and Josh Matlow and there’s a great video of Rob Ford not understanding what the LRT line is whatsoever and councillor Josh Matlow had to explain to him that the LRT line would be going through the SRT line in that area of Scarborough. So Rob Ford and Doug Ford are lying to the citizens of Toronto. (Rob and Doug chuckle in background.)

Doug: Let him go.

Paul: There will be no streetcars, LRT, anything blocking traffic in Scarborough. That LRT line was fully funded and you guys are wasting millions for everything that has gone on. An environmental assessment needs to be done on this now, and you’re going to be putting this City further into debt. And the Downtown Relief Line you’re talking about services the people from east, west, north.

Rob: Thank you, thank you very much. We appreciate that. Now, let’s hear the truth. Obviously, that’s not the truth.

Doug: Let me respond first. First of all, what I’d like to ask Paul is, “Do you believe in a two-tier transit system?” Do you believe that the people of downtown should have underground transit in the middle of winter and have the people of Scarborough stand on the side of the road like they do on St. Clair Avenue freezing their butts off, while everyone else is underground on Eglinton. Yes, it is ripping up roads along Eglinton, Paul, we’re ripping up a couple lanes of traffic.”

It is the most critical phone call to ever get through the Rob and Doug Ford bubble. For the record, Paul got all of his facts right except that some lanes for cars will be reduced in Scarborough for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, but not the Scarborough LRT. Still, Paul ruffled the Fords’ feathers good.

2:14: Rob says that the average household will pay $10 a year for three years for the subway. This is a misrepresentation of how much it will cost. A property tax increase will be phased in over three years, and it will cost the average household $38 annually for 30 years. This doesn’t include any operating or maintenance or cost overruns, all of which will be on top of that tax. We made a handy calculator that lets you see all this for yourself. Rob should check it out!

2:19: Rob says he’ll campaign on subways and looks forward to the debates. He claims he’ll do 150 debates if people want, which is curious because he recently said the opposite. But hey, more debates is good. Thanks Rob!

2:26: Diane Ford, the family matriarch, is now on the show, literally talking turkey. Rob says there’s never enough, and Diane is playfully offended. “You know what,” she says to Rob. “You’re not getting dessert.”

2:30: Doug Ford now goes after the Globe for targeting readers who earn more than $100,000. He says it’s evidence that they’re part of the condescending media elite that targets their rich elitist friends. But as the Globe‘s Steve Ladurantaye points out on Twitter, all newspapers do this.

2:32: Rob says he’s mad about Pan Am Games expenses, and won’t attend any Pan Am events until he’s satisfied. He says he was sucked in by the Pan Am officials and had the wool pulled over his eyes by them, which is “hard to do.”

2:36: Doug says Rob and he are the only ones with “the cajones” to stand up for the people, and that’s why people are out to “politically kill” them. Okay…

2:40: We’re now talking football with sports commentator Mike Toth. Toth asks the mayor whether he misses coaching, and Rob says he’s going through major withdrawal. He also asks what lessons can be applied from football to politics, and Rob says “being on time and punctual,” among other things. I honestly can’t remember seeing Rob Ford start a press availability on time.

2:45: Rob says the government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, so he doesn’t buy it when they say they need all these new revenue tools or taxes. By the way, he raised property taxes 1.6 per cent on Tuesday for an unnecessary subway extension. Just sayin’.

3:00: And God bless Ford Nation!

It was another irony-free helping of the Rob and Doug extravaganza. They said lots of things about LRT, most of them untrue. They also said lots of things about robocalls, but does anyone actually like getting those? Aren’t they just phone spam? And they accused a caller of lying, which is not the best tactic. But it provided us with our longest recap ever, so there’s that.

5 out of 5 robocalls.

And God bless Raccoon Nation.

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