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The Rob and Doug Ford Web Show Recap: The “Shame!” Edition

First there was radio, then a one-episode TV show. Now the mayor and his brother have taken their message to YouTube. We watch so you don't have to.

rob doug ford youtube web show

It’s time for another YouTube instalment from those true detectives of Toronto City Hall, Rob and Doug Ford. Will they explain how they plan to make Toronto more livable, affordable, and functional, as John Tory has? Will they offer dense policy explanations after running the numbers on Excel, as David Soknacki does? Or will they pick a campaign flower, along the lines of Karen Stintz, who recently made the sunflower her unofficial symbol? No, they won’t—because if Rob and Doug chose a campaign flower, then people might stop taking them seriously or something. In lieu of that, let’s hear what they have to say.

Doug Says Things

0:07: We start off with a question from Ford fandom: “Hi, Rob. I have a question for you. Housing in Toronto is becoming more of a problem for the average working person. Escalating housing prices, more demand than supply, and worst of all, the land transfer tax, which I believe is one of the biggest tax grabs around. Is there anything being done to make housing more affordable for Toronto?”

0:25: Rob answers. He says he’s tried to reduce the land transfer tax, but council wouldn’t let him. He does not mention that he campaigned in 2010 to eliminate the land transfer tax, and that this was a completely unrealistic promise given Toronto’s budget constraints. Fortunately, he does not blame math for this, so it has not yet been added to the lengthening enemies list.

0:51: Rob says that our dear email writer has another question: “I spend a lot of time in Chicago, and have seen the spectacular work they have done to their waterfront. They have free parking, sandy beaches, and no industrial buildings along their downtown waterfront. Why is this taking so long in Toronto to achieve the same results?”

1:24: Doug responds to the question, which makes sense because the question totally could have been written by him. Doug says Toronto is number one and we have a great waterfront and other nice booster-y things just short of, “You Plant a Blue Flag in my Heart, Waterfront.” But then Doug Ford’s heart is suddenly hardened, and we wait for his wrath. “We have the waterfront ‘group’ that’s down there, I call them. They’ve wasted over a billion dollars.” Rob Ford, professional protester, chimes in: “Shame.” “A billion dollars,” Doug continues. “On Sugar Beach? A concrete beach with some aluminium umbrellas?”

For those wondering, here are some completed projects Waterfront Toronto has overseen since 2005: Spadina, Rees, and Simcoe WaveDecks; York Quay revitalization; Martin Goodman trail and sidewalk extension; Corus Quay; the new George Brown College building; Sugar Beach; Sherbourne Common; Marilyn Bell Park; Mimico Waterfront Park; Western Beaches Watercourse; Port Union Waterfront Park; Port Lands greening; Cherry Beach sports fields; and Cherry Beach and Tommy Thompson Park improvements.

Projects under development include Corktown Commons, Underpass Park, a promenade connecting Sugar Beach and Sherbourne Common, Queen’s Quay East, the Bayside development, a TCH building with 243 affordable units, and an eight-hectare flood-protection landform (although this needs more funding).

2:20: Doug does what Doug does, which is to throw out serious allegations and innuendoes that he can’t back up: “What they do, they spend tens and hundreds of millions of dollars on their consultant buddies,” he says of Waterfront Toronto. Rob nods solemnly, and says, “That’s right.”

2:22: Doug, as is his wont, goes on speaking: “I came in with a proposal [in August 2011] for the Port Lands alone”—referring to the backroom Ferris wheel and monorail scheme that was widely derided and went nowhere. Rob says the plan was great, and Doug continues: “We have companies from around the world that fly in and take a look at the Port Lands, and we still have the garbage site at the end of the pier. He then finishes off in fine Yoda-ish style with: “The most valuable property in Canada, on the waterfront, and they want to leave it as a garbage site? Just leave it as a mess down there right now, the Port Lands is.”

As it turns out, Doug Ford is incorrect. Waterfront Toronto does want to develop the Port Lands—that’s been part of its plan all along. It does not want to keep it as a “garbage site at the end of the pier,” and it’s trying to partner with private companies. Private companies, which have asked the City for loan guarantees on waterfront projects following the destabilizing influence of Rob and Doug, also rely on agencies like Waterfront Toronto to make those developments happen. The Port Lands doesn’t have basic infrastructure such as necessary roads or hydro connections, and soil remediation is still needed in the area. Really, this is basic stuff that even people who graduated from the Sim City school of urban planning understand.

The Mayor of Toronto Steals Our Hearts

0:05: A new video, a new question. Rob reads: “What proof can you offer that your visits to Toronto Community Housing projects actually make a difference to residents?”

0:15: Rob’s response is to invite folks to tour Malvern, Jane and Finch, and Jamestown—the “toughest areas in the city”—to “see what Rob Ford has done.” Here’s the thing: marginalized and low-income individuals are not props for a campaign, to be used to prove some kind of authenticity or to show off social and political clout. People interested in being white knights would be better off trying out for Medieval Times rather than offering themselves as TCHC tour guides. Maybe, just maybe, what’s needed is politicians who’ll use their positions to find solutions to longstanding systemic problems.

0:35: Rob continues to tout his TCHC bona fides, claiming that the agency has improved, and that he doesn’t let people live in spaces with holes in the wall or cockroaches roaming around. Under his mayoralty, the repair backlog has increased by 30 per cent and the housing wait-list has increased by 20 per cent. Just yesterday, Ford went to Ottawa, ostensibly to ask the federal government for housing and subway money—except he ended up going to a brew pub to meet with a former football player of his and almost missed the chance to talk to the minister responsible for housing (he did later return and joined the meeting with her from 4:00–4:20 p.m.).

0:38: Rob Ford casts Rob Ford as Robin Hood: “I stick up for the poor people in this city. There’s poor and rich, and I stick up for the poor people. These people do not deserve to be living how they’re living, and I’m the one who’s cleaning it up.”

1:00: Doug Ford takes a swing at left-wing councillors, whom he calls “poverty pimps.” He claims that these politicians pretend to support low-income people, but are really looking out for their own gain: “They utilize these people, which is shameful on their behalf, and as far as I’m concerned, they’re a bunch of poverty pimps.”

Rob Ford, Internationally Famous Normal Guy

0:05: We have another question from the class: “How do you deal with being not just a politician, but an international celebrity at the same time? Did all the media scrutiny interfere with your job?”

0:15: Rob Ford, a man Ottawa high-school students go out of their way to get selfies with, whose name has become casual shorthand on American comedy shows for someone completely out of control, says he is not an international celebrity: “I’m an average hardworking guy that goes to work every day, takes my kids out, supports my wife and family, and does whatever I can. That’s what normal fathers do.”

Beyond the fact that Rob’s statement about who he is wouldn’t get through fact-checking at any publication, the manner in which he sees himself is telling. Rob positions himself as being like anyone else, but when it comes to facing consequences for his actions—consequences that anyone else would face for the same actions—he manages to find a way to be exceptional.

0:45: Rob Ford says, “It’s going to be ‘Ford more years’ after October 27.” He keeps a straight face as he says this, which is impressive in its own right.

Rob Ford’s latest campaign videos mentioned none of his rival candidates by name, and featured Sith-like levels of anger and blame despite the fact that he’s the incumbent.

Four out of five brew pubs.

And God bless you for reading, Raccoon Nation.

CORRECTION: February 27, 2014, 3:17 PM This post originally stated that Rob Ford missed the meeting with the minister responsible for housing, when in fact he returned and joined the meeting later. We regret the error.


  • Steveinto

    I feel dirty after reading that.

    • Welshgrrl

      Me too. October can’t come soon enough.

  • pd_vancouver

    Thank you for watching this so that we don’t have to.

  • Patrick_Metzger

    They should tape this at a pub and market it as Drunk History: TO Politics Edition..

  • allisonjayne

    I’m not going to watch the videos (why would I, when we have these fabulous recaps?) but you can tell even in the stills the sorry state of that backdrop. That is one sad backdrop.

    • Will

      Can’t expect much more from a video produced in the basement of 15 Windsor Road.

      • Punned_It

        I’m still looking forward to seeing the documentary they made there. Short, but very interesting I’ll bet!

    • Konstantine

      All the more reason no one should use Deco Labels and Tags for anything. Just like their owners, it is obviously poor quality.

  • Spek

    Must keep telling myself that punching Doug’s face on my computer screen won’t actually hurt Doug.

  • Jacob

    Those two really do exist inside their own alternate reality, don’t they?

  • Dinah Might

    “Normal fathers” do not party with teenagers at pubs at 2 AM, Rob. (I’m thinking specifically of the Vancouver trip)

  • OgtheDim

    Those 3 communities are not exclusively filled with TCHC properties.
    To say that whatever progress is happening around those areas is due to Rob’s fascination with TCHC, and this from a guy who has actively voted against the priority neighbourhood approach is just….well…its Rob Fordian.

    • SonuvaScrimbro

      And what an utterly bizarre response: “You’re looking for evidence I’ve helped? I invite folks to tour the toughest parts with me to see what Rob Ford has done.”

      First, Rob shouldn’t be calling those areas “the toughest” in the city — they have their problems, but they don’t need an opportunistic politician dumping on them and reinforcing stereotypes on top of it. As you said, there’s more to those areas than TCHC properties — and the natural follow-up is what is Ford doing to help TCHC properties in other areas.

      Second… this isn’t live television. The best that Rob can come up with in terms of a scripted response is “well, let’s go on a tour and I’ll show you!” If he’s so proud of his work in these areas, why not get an actual person from those areas to appear on their set and offer a testimonial?

      • Mr. X

        Indeed…Rob Ford’s answer is Rob Ford is making a difference because Rob Ford is making a difference (full disclosure: I’m the person who sent in that question. I’ll keep my identity secret but a man in a trench-coat may come visit me soon to convince me to reveal myself).

        And I’m sure Doug doesn’t appreciate the delicious irony of denigrating councillors who use the economically disadvantaged as props. Of course, the actual facts completely refute all of Rob Ford’s boasts.

        • Tristan

          Wait, really? I was assuming these were all made up by them.

      • Spek

        I like the fact that he can’t decide whether to refer to himself in the first or third person.

        • Will

          Sort of how royal families used to speak of themselves. As in ” we ” are not amused .

        • dsmithhfx

          The fog of crack.

      • Punned_It

        The “toughest” area in the city – just like the way he described his football players – they’d all be gang members and drug dealers without Rob. Or maybe even with him?

        As for knowing that neighbourhood – could he have connections there like he did on Dixon Road?

        As for having an actual person appear, I doubt there are any.

  • SonuvaScrimbro

    It’s going to hit these two so hard when people stop caring about what they have to say. I really hope they keep up the video series, though — a fella needs a hobby to keep himself out of trouble. Though I fear that barn door opened a long time ago for Robbie..

    • Conservative Astroturf Brigade

      That makes a huge assumption that people still care at this point. I think most of the interest is curiosity more than anything else. Even the Ford Nation talking points are all from at least a year ago.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      Except for the diehards in Ford Nation it seems a good number of people in this city no longer care what these guys think. That won’t stop the Fords. they seem to have lived their whole life in a drama where they are the stars. People not listening or caring means they’ll just ratchet up the volume on their hysterics.

    • Anna

      I just bought a book but I do have to feel that I am starting to feel like a fat person who just ate but wants to have ‘one more bite or helping’ when it comes to Fords. It is time for me to remove this negativity that is so enticing yet it is cancerous to my system. I will read the book and short of these fatsos being drugged out of City Hall in shackles I won’t care. The worst punishment for a narcissist is not to pay attention. This guy thrives now, negative attention or not. Let’s change this Non-Ford nayshun ! :)

  • ArnieGeddon

    And to further clarify: He had no intention of returning to the meeting he was ostensibly down there for (conference staff confirmed to the media Ford had said he was leaving for the day when he pulled out just before lunch), but the building Twitter storm triggered a synapse in the brain of one Ford handler, who hustled him back. Had there not been a backlash, he would not have been back for the housing minister’s address …

  • OgtheDim

    Just on TCHC and mayoral politics for a moment.

    There are significant systemic issues within that organization that need to be addressed. Based on the deep rootedness of the bureaucracy of that organization, the monetary pressures and the mix of occupant need and staff development, it will take far longer then one mayoral term to turn things around. We are looking at probably close to 20 years, and that’s assuming you have good sustained leadership at the exec and the board level.

    Of the 5 major mayoral candidates, From what I’ve heard of them, I believe Tory, Soknacki or Chow would be able to address TCHC with a long term multi-decade vision. I don’t think Stintz knows how to address long term issues beyond a 3 year vision. Nothing at the TTC or council indicates to me she understands thinking in that long a term.

    Ford is just so much of a hedonist, he only looks at daily goals, without understanding consequences. How somebody could consider voting for him is beyond me.

    • Lee Zamparo

      This. IMO, Tory, Chow or Soknacki are the only candidates that have the acumen on council to bring together councillors and implement some compromise that will outlast their term as mayor. The rest are not convincing; Stintz has changed tack on transit several times in four years. Based on past behaviour, I don’t think Ford can pay attention to anything that isn’t sports related for more than ten minutes.

  • TorontoistCopyEditors

    Thanks for pointing that out! We’ve made the correction.

  • scottld

    Or you could just watch the video.

    • vampchick21

      Why? I happen to enjoy having functioning braincells.

      Besides, YouTube is for cat videos. CAT VIDEOS. And maybe babies.

      • Konstantine

        And 80′s music videos too!

        • vampchick21

          Rico Suave!

      • poniesinjudah

        And critters under the sea. Type in handfish or octopus. But seriously Doug can’t talk in actual normal sentences. “the portlands is”. They are so incapable and people in the media behave as if they are normal. The Paikin interview! It makes me nuts.

    • Michael

      That’s why we have #FordNation. They believe every word and lap it up.

    • Punned_It

      Oh please. I’d need a shower after and I hate to waste water like that.

  • Christian Fletcher

    “They utilize these people, which is shameful on their behalf, and as far as I’m concerned, they’re a bunch of poverty pimps.”
    …says the man who goes down to TCH buildings, hands out the $20′s like he’s Santa Claus, and then votes AGAINST programs to help these people

    • dsmithhfx

      Do the math: TCHC tenants is votes. Voting down funding for TCHC is votes. See? Votes + votes = Ford More Years!

  • Steven Eaton

    Thanks again for summarizing and fact checking. I don’t want to watch the video’s and add to the “view count” as it might give people the impression that supporters are viewers. My disgust with these two grows daily. Scumbags is too kind a word to describe the Ford brothers.

  • Some times I just thinks

    Can anyone ask Doug what ‘ Late Night Shows’ have been calling him to book the kid bro? I can only think of daytime, like Funniest Videos or Biggest Loser that would have called.

  • BR

    I can’t seem to stay away from the train wreck, I want to, I feel ill reading, posting, ranting. Please make it stop! We need a record voter turnout in Oct, this is not the time to be complacent. You know those people you might find in your life, those who seem to always have a messy life, oh woe is me, the world is out to get me, they always end up in unhealthy situations or relationships and you find you have to cut them loose to save yourself? Well……

    • Lloyd_Davis

      We had a record voter turnout in 2010. Just sayin’.

      • BR

        And clearly that’s turned out so very well. We need another strong, informed, RATIONAL voter turnout.

    • Punned_It

      If we can get them out of the media we can stop them. I’ve started a petition to ask the media to ignore the Fords. Sign here…

      • OgtheDim

        Jimmy Kimmel.

        Latest bit of proof that the media doesn’t really care beyond ratings.

        Guy smokes up with gangbangers.

        The Crips.

        That gang kills thousands of people a year in one way shape or form.

        Does Kimmel care? Nah…….lets get the funny on and try to get some ratings.

        Petitions are useless. Until people start to not show up to Rob Ford discussions. we are stuck with this all.

        And the rest of the media only cares about SEO.

  • Konstantine

    Fine work as always David, it’s in no way you, but this just makes me sad, really sad.

    This whole clown show of outrage coupled with zero self-awareness, with the topping of complete disregard for law, decency and respect for anyone has made me care less for these two than any other human beings in the world.

  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    “Or will they pick a campaign flower, along the lines of Karen Stintz, who recently made the sunflower her unofficial symbol? ”

    I think Stinkweed would be a good official flower for the Fords.

    • Punned_It

      What about poppies – opium poppies of course.

      Or the flowers they grow in BC…

  • Punned_It

    I’ve started a petition to ask the media to back off and leave Rob Ford (and family) alone. Completely alone. If you’d like to see less of the Fords in the media, sign here: