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, it’s the Rob and Doug show! Will they take that traitorous Councillor Paul Ainslie (Ward 43, Scarborough East) to task for hating free speech? Will they suddenly apologize to all the people they’ve criticized over the past week? Nope, that won’t happen. But let’s find out what will!
1:07: Bagpipes provide the intro music for the show, because Rob and Doug are just regular William Wallaces.
1:09: Doug says the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon is a fantastic event. Of course, during the 2010 election, Rob wanted marathoners to run laps in High Park instead of using the city’s roads.
1:14: Doug Ford calls the Ontario Press Council—which recently ruled that the Star and the Globe acted appropriately while reporting stories on the Ford family’s alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade—a “kangaroo court,” and Rob says it’s “like the fox watching the hen house.” Whoa, way to mix your animal metaphors, guys. The fact that two avowed conservatives suddenly don’t believe in industry self-regulation would be surprising, except for the fact that we don’t expect them to be consistent. Rob and Doug also say that although they rant on the show, they do so mostly to inform people about what the facts are. Which is surprising, because this column exists.
1:15: Before we go to break, Doug says he’ll take the high road on the Paul Ainslie robocall issue. We shall see.
1:17: Rob says Doug’s nephew Mikey is going to run in the next election. They don’t explain how Mikey fits into the family tree, but I’m sure we’ll learn more soon.
1:21: Rob throws out a question to callers, and it’s a good one: “What do you like about Toronto?” Rob was asked this question once on Metro Morning, and he responded by talking about how graffiti and taxes were being reduced. Frankly, it’s difficult to determine what exactly about Toronto the mayor loves, aside from cranes in the air and the economy. But those are just symbols of an underlying vitality. You don’t hear much from him about the things that make Toronto unique and special.
1:28: Marv calls in and says the best thing about Toronto is Rob Ford, and that’s a fact. He then goes on to say he’s concerned that the City isn’t getting enough revenue from writing traffic tickets. He estimates that there’s been a 30 per cent decrease. Rob says, “You have to find efficiencies,” which makes no sense given the context of the conversation. Oh, well.
1:37: Matt calls in and says he loves Yonge Street, although he hates the traffic. Rob and Doug agree: Dundas Square “is happening.” Somewhere the “Jesus Saves” guy smiles.
1:38: Chris calls in, and he says that, aside from a couple of Star reporters, he loves the people in Toronto. Chris is missing out, because those Star reporters—and most of the City Hall press gallery—are pretty swell.
1:39: Kevin says that no matter what the media says, he supports the mayor. Which I suppose is another way of saying that no matter what Rob Ford does, Kevin will support Rob Ford. He also likes that Toronto is clean and safe, and that it’s a good sports town.
1:40: Perennial Ward 19 council candidate George Sawision calls in and says he loves Toronto’s green spaces. Rob adds that he’s at a city park “almost every week.”
1:48: Invest Toronto CEO Renato Discenza is now on the show, and he’s talking about Toronto’s reputation. Doug says it’s everyone’s responsibility to “pump the city” whenever they travel, which sounds uncomfortable.
1:55: Rob mentions Tuesday’s opening of Ripley’s Aquarium and calls the aquarium one of the best tourist attractions in the city. But if we’re discussing the city’s reputation, then it’s worth looking at how Rob handled the opening. His version of “pumping up” the aquarium involved openly musing that the price of the aquarium might be too high.
1:59: Doug says that he really likes Toronto Sun City Hall reporter Don Peat, but that he’s “disappointed in him” over an article he wrote about three arms-length City agencies spending $25,000 on a Casa Loma party. Rob says that the party didn’t cost the City any money and that funding for it came from the agencies’ budgets. Which is ridiculous, because those budgets come from the City either directly or indirectly. This party may well have had a useful business purpose for the City, but the mayor can’t have it both ways. He can’t moan whenever someone else does this, but defend it when it’s him.
1:59: Doug again says that we have to pump the city. Pump, pump, pump, people!
2:10: Rob begins to list events that will occur around the city this week, and he takes about four minutes to do so. It’s the longest the listings portion of the show has ever been, and it ties in nicely with Doug’s earlier assertion that the show is all about what’s going on in the city. Of course.
2:16: Doug says that he and Rob “try their darndest to make it out to all of these events.” Yet Rob routinely doesn’t show up to events he says he’ll attend, and he almost never makes it to them on time.
2:39: Rob says he’s sorry about the elephants being carted off to California and would prefer it if certain councillors had had that done to them instead.
2:40: Rob and Doug are irate about the Union Station revitalization’s cost overruns. Doug, businessman extraordinaire, says he can understand if a project is over budget by about 10 per cent, but he thinks the $80 million overrun for Union is ridiculous. Excluding subsequent project add-ons, like expanding the PATH system, the overrun represents just over 10 per cent of the project cost.
2:41: Rob says he can’t support a Globe and Mail or Toronto Star candidate in Toronto Centre’s upcoming federal by-election. He’s referring to Liberal candidate and ex-Globe editor Chrystia Freeland and NDP candidate and ex-Star columnist Linda McQuaig. He says he thinks the NDP will win the seat (it would be the first time the party has ever won the riding), but he’ll be supporting the PC candidate, Geoff Pollock, whose name he pronounces “Pollack.” Rob Ford says lots of things.
2:42: Rob says the only newspapers worth buying are the Toronto Sun and National Post. Okay, let’s open today’s Toronto Sun. Huh, here’s an article that indicates you phoned the most Ford-friendly print journalist in town and repeatedly yelled expletives at him. How did Joe Warmington become involved in this vast media conspiracy to make the mayor look bad when he’s a totally good guy who only does nice things?
2:45: Mike calls in and he says he’s sick and tired of the news media beating up on the mayor. He’s proud of the “good job he’s doing as a fiscally responsible mayor.” Reminder: Rob just raised Mike’s property taxes two weeks ago for an unnecessary subway extension.
2:48: Kevin asks when there will be a subway extension from Kipling down to Long Branch, because apparently people who call into the mayor’s talk show deserve custom subway lines. Rob, as he did last week, says that “there’s a lot of subways already downtown.” As a result, his priorities are to do a Sheppard extension, then a subway line on Finch, and then the Downtown Relief Line.
This. Is. Crazy.
First of all, North York has one quarter of the subway stations in the city, so even by the mayor’s own wacky criteria, his statement doesn’t make sense. Second, good transit planning isn’t looking at a subway map, seeing where “Here Be Dragons” is written, crossing out “Dragons,” and replacing it with “Subways.” This is not to say people in Toronto’s low-density inner suburbs don’t deserve better transit. They do. But that’s best achieved through a larger network of LRTs and improved bus service.
3:00: Bagpipes play the show out, and Doug blesses Ford Nation.
Rob and Doug mostly kept to their word to take the high road on the Ainslie robocalls, although at one point Rob did say he would pass a baby soother to the Ward 43 councillor. The show was relatively boring, especially compared to last week, and that may well have been by design. For the most part, the Brothers Ford focused on their favourite target: the media.
2 out of 5 bagpipes.
And God Bless you, Raccoon Nation.