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The Rob and Doug Ford Web Show Recap: Toronto’s Grumpy Cats

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

After a “mutual decision” to end their controversial Newstalk 1010 radio show, and a one episode experiment with a tv show on Sun News, Rob and Doug Ford have retreated to Raccoon Nation’s remaining turf: the internet. On Monday morning, the duo launched their new YouTube show, Ford Nation, which puts them alongside cat videos, “Will it Blend?” infomercials, and assorted Rob Ford gaffe videos. Really, it’s where they belonged all along.

The format for this show is a bit different, as it’s broken up into four two-to-three minute video segments, but let’s follow along, shall we?

Ford Nation Begins

0:05: With a crinkled Toronto skyline that may or may not have been printed by Deco Labels & Tags for a backdrop, Rob Ford introduces himself to YouTube. He lists his CV while gazing at something shiny offscreen, which loses him points in this mayoral job interview.

0:36: Doug, by contrast, stares directly at the camera, as if to better perform surgery on your soul. Raccoon Nation, the fourth wall will not protect you.

0:56: Doug says some numbers, and when he does so he is often wrong by one row of the abacus. But this time he’s really close when he cites a survey of 22,000 people (correct) saying that Toronto is number one in the world place to work (incorrect, we’re number six) and number two in the world to live (incorrect, we’re number four). But he was really close! We’re making progress, folks.

1:20: Touting his economic record, Rob repeats one of his more egregious lies. He claims, “The unemployment rate is down from 11 per cent to 7 per cent.” This is incorrect. When Ford took over as mayor in December 2010, Toronto’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 9.4 per cent. As of December 2013, Toronto’s unemployment rate had increased to 10.1 per cent, while over the same time period Canada’s has decreased from 7.6 per cent to 7.2 per cent. This isn’t just misremembering the numbers, this is getting it backwards and misrepresenting reality.

1:50 Rob repeats his billion dollar myth, wherein he claims to have saved the taxpayer oodles of dough. He again claims that these aren’t his numbers, they’re CFO Rob Rossini’s. But in a technical briefing with reporters, senior City staff conceded the number in the traditional sense of the word ‘savings’ would be less than $400 million. (“Traditional” means “money that we used to spend that we no longer spend.” Ford’s accounting includes money he hypothetically assumes a different mayor would have spent, had said hypothetical mayor been elected instead of Ford.) More than two months later, City Hall reporters have still not received the promised detailed breakdown of those savings.

2:06: Rob promotes Toronto as a multicultural city where everyone gets along. He must have been so mad at that Rob Ford imposter at City Hall on Friday.

2:41: Doug Ford keeps staring into the camera, and it’s mesmerizing. This is the point of the show where Professor Lupin recommends you eat chocolate to recover from the effect.

3:35: Rob promises a Sheppard subway extension, a Finch subway line, and a Relief Line. Keep in mind that at one point Rob Ford also promised 15 new subway stations by 2015.

Rob Ford’s a Liberal?

0:05: Rob asks Doug what his biggest achievement as a politician has been. After some back and forth to clarify the question, Doug answers: “I gave some seed money to the community—$5,000,” in order to buy playground equipment for a local park (which appears to be Flagstaff Park).

1:00 Rob asks how Doug is able to afford a $5,000 donation, and the answer is relatively simple. Doug Ford is rich. (He cited Deco when replying.)

Problem: when the “biggest achievement” that you cite in three years as a councillor is that you donated some cash, then you are not particularly good at your job. Because you are not elected to dispense donations from your personal wealth, but to tackle systemic issues with the tools of policy and persuasion available to you via your office.

1:57: Amazingly, Rob repeats his original question, as though Doug has not answered it to his satisfaction. There’s a tension here that was also sometimes present on the radio show, of the brothers undermining each other through fraternal jabs. You sense that each feel they could be doing the other’s job better.

2:03: Doug responds that he’s really proud of how the budget committee, of which he is vice chair, balanced the books. This is a provincially mandated requirement, and it has been done every year in Toronto’s history.

Doug also criticizes the previous administration for leaving a $774 opening pressure, but this is untrue. This term of council inherited a $346 million surplus, but chose to spend it on a property tax freeze and TTC fare freeze in its first year, which is what helped make the following year’s opening pressure so high.

2:31: Rob looks way, way up in the sky, possibly because there is a Cessna airplane in the room as they videotape the show. Doug says Rob—who last week admitted he can’t change who he is and thus refuses to go to Pride—is a big social liberal, and is two steps to the right of Attila the Hun when it comes to fiscal conservatism. That’s right, Attila the Hun, the ruthless Balkan plunderer who only wanted to cut Rome’s land transfer tax by five per cent.

3:00: Rob says he helps out people in Toronto Community Housing and that he looks out for the poor people. At City Hall two weeks ago, council passed a motion asking the federal and provincial governments to contribute to TCHC’s capital repair backlog, by a vote of 43-2. The two no votes: Rob and Doug Ford. When asked why he opposed the motion the mayor said he didn’t want to “aggravate” other orders of government, and then turned his back on the reporter to make a Super Bowl bet.

Rob Ford Comes Clean

0:52: We are now at the question portion of the show. Councillor Doug reads one from Sandra in Bangkok, “Why did you lie about your substance abuse problem when you were initially asked?”

1:03: The mayor responds, “I do not have a substance abuse problem.” (Recently, Ford allegedly spent an hour in a Vancouver pub’s bathroom, then emerged speaking gibberish, before proceeding to have several drinks.) “Did I experiment with drugs? Yes, I have. Why did I lie? I think everybody in the world has lied,” he said. “I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to tell the truth. That’s the only answer I can give. That’s as straightforward as I can be.”

Here’s the thing: The truth, particularly when you’re privileged to serve as a public leader, is not a sometimes food. It is especially important when you are embarrassed about things in the public interest, because those are the things we should most know and discuss. In case you think Ford’s honesty about his dishonesty is a one-off sorry not-sorry deal, it is not. He gave the same “we all lie” spiel when he took questions for one hour from City Hall’s ethnic press council in January. During that exchange he also said that he is a changed man, and his drinking (which he said was overblown by the media) was in the past, “I can assure you, those days are gone.” A few hours later he was intoxicated at Steak Queen.

And The Cup Goes To…

0:06: And now Rob and Doug’s YouTube show has wandered to a predictable realm: sports. Doug likes the Chicago Blackhawks and Rob likes the Anaheim Ducks, and no one cares. At least, we don’t—not enough to recap that particular debate in full.

Verdict: Two out of five Dougcoins

Thanks for reading, and God bless you, Raccoon Nation.


  • NYCBoy2305

    Originally Posted by ??? from

    The attorney I spoke with confirmed my TPS source’s certainty that charges are coming. That warrants were issued specifically targeting Ford after Lisi has been charged is significant. Lisi would have only been arrested and charged after the police had a case so the new warrants show Lisi as a collateral arrest as expected and put Ford directly in the bull’s eye of Brazen 2 confirming him as the main subject of this investigation.

    I’ll say it again: Rob Ford will be charged.

    What’s taking them so long? Why hasn’t he been charged despite apparent ample evidence of crimes committed? Det. Sgt. Giroux and his team must make this case airtight before charging Ford. We know how slippery he is. When charges are laid, they will come with a 100% conviction guarantee and that’s what Brazen 2 detectives are working on now.

  • PabloYYZ

    David, the Fords just keep coming back like a recurring ear infection (I was going to refer to something else, but decided to maintain some sense of decorum). You have both my thanks for your clarifications on what is true and what is Fords, and my pity for continually being given such a wretched assignment. I hope Torontoist is paying you well for this one. Hopefully this Ford Nation assignment will be as short lived as the last one.

    • dogface

      Wretched assignment? I bet this is the best assignment in all of journalism!! “Uh guys, we need you to report on the Fords lies, can you fill a thousand words?”. “I think we can keep it below a thousand boss”.

  • Nigel

    I read (yesterday, I think) that Rob wants to be judged on his record, not his personal life.
    Just hope that by October that will be his criminal record.

  • Mojo

    I teared up a little as I read this. Bless you, Torontoist, and your snarky recaps. How I’ve missed you.

  • mlwjones

    David, what drugs do you consume to endure the task of analyzing such total bullshit? I’ve tried listening to his show and I just can’t do it without breaking things, sobbing with despair, and/or searching for jobs in Calgary.

  • MER1978

    Now that we’re in the middle of a campaign surely city staff can demand that their names or positions be removed from campaign materials when they’re being used to support a lie?

  • wklis

    Will this sci-fi video series result in this duo appearing at the next Fan Expo Show?

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Are they joking? A subway on Finch? A case could be made for half a dozen to a dozen other lines. The last thing the Yonge line needs is another feeder to overload it at rush hour, and the last thing the TTC needs is another underperforming line to burden the budget.

    • PabloYYZ

      But…but…but…someone’s got to get to the tank farms.
      Subways-to-tank-farms! Subways-to-tank-farms! Subways-to-tank-farms!

      • toronnamamma

        Tank farm?

        • PabloYYZ

          Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline flows just a little north of Finch Av. At Keele there are a series of oil storage tanks (a tank farm) and at least one distribution centre.

          That’s really only part of the issue, though. Finch Av. is generally surrounded by light industry or low-density housing, which is hardly capable of supporting a subway.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            That describes most of Sheppard at the time that line was put in. Billions of dollars in development and 12 years later and it’s still a ghost line (ridership growth is actually slowing).

          • OgtheDim

            Finch West is capable of supporting an LRT, given the amount of people who use the 36 and the amount of people who feed into Downsview using the 108, 106, or 107 buses or even the 84 buses that turn north.

            Finch West subway changes everything in that area.

          • bobloblawbloblawblah

            If I’m not mistaken a Finch West LRT was part of Transit City. The people on Finch West will wait a long time for a subway.

          • OgtheDim

            Sorry, I was more obtuse then normal…I meant the Finch West station that will be on the Spadina line….edited for clarity.

          • PabloYYZ

            Definitely agree on building a Finch West LRT, it was already part of TC.

          • tomwest

            Finch West LRT is still funded and approved. Barring a change of provincial govt. or City flip-flopping, it will happen.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            I’ll believe it when I see tracks in the ground.

          • tomwest

            My statement? Or that it will happen?

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            That it will happen. They’d already started digging the Eglinton line when it was cancelled. Transity City was fully funded and vehicles in production when it was cancelled. This is what passes for transit planning in Toronto/Ontario.

          • Punned_It

            Yup! When Ford cancelled it it cost the city $165 million. Then the switch to a subway cost another $85 million, plus lost us $400 million in funding. That’s 650 million. I wonder if any of that’s included the billion he still says he has saved us?

          • AllanG

            The Fords tried (unsuccessfully for now) to divert the Finch LRT funding to the Scarborough subway extension. That is the real goal – stop LRT expansion. Looks like it’s too late to stop Eglinton but you never what can happen if Hudak ever wins power. His record is to cancel Toronto transit programs because the “rest of the province” shouldn’t have to pay for Toronto’s needs. Attacking Toronto and its transit system is all part of the Cons vote-winning strategy.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      But there’s votes to be bought up on Finch. The people on those other lines are pinko, lefty, bike riding, latte sipping elitist toffs who want their snobby downtown relief line so they can ride in comfort to meet with their comrades for brunch and plot the continued repression of good, honest, hard working folks who only want the gravy stopped at City Hall.

      • AllanG

        Remember that Mammolitti stated that his constituents are prepared to wait 50 years for a subway but don’t want any other form of rapid transit like the proposed LRT.

    • istoronto

      There will never be a subway built under Ford’s watch. Getting the shovels into the ground for a subway, any subway, would mean that Ford would have to cash in one of his stronger political poker chips. As long as the debate on building subways continues and nothing gets started, Ford will continue to scream “Subways! Subways! Subways!”, with no intention of actually building one.

      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        Yet the man has the gall to bill himself as a “subway builder” which is how he portrayed himself at the recent debates in Scarborough. The people who trust this arrogant buffoon because they are mad at City Hall are the very ones hurt by his ineptitude and lies. Ford lacks the people skills and the understanding of government to get something as complicated as a subway line built. It took Miller a number of years to get the planning and funding for Transit City in place. Ford couldn’t do that. He’s too busy partying.

  • Spek

    When Doug says that if you dug into the lives of every politician in the world, you would get a real eye opener… does he include himself?

  • Steve Fleck

    “Problem: when the “biggest achievement” that you cite in three years as a Councillor is that you donated some cash, then you are not particularly
    good at your job. Because you are not elected to dispense donations
    from your personal wealth, but to tackle systemic issues with the tools
    of policy and persuasion available to you via your office”

    This is the “magic” of the Fords. This sort of thing appeals massivly to Ford Nation types. They figure, what great guys the Fords are – dipping into their own pockets to pay for things like this, Doug forgoing his salary, paying for their own trips and other expenses, even when on city business( note how the Fords go out of their way to make a big deal out of that). Of course, Ford Nation types don’t understand the issue you raised, David, nor the conflict of interest, the actual incompetence, or the hypocrisy and incongruence, that if these guys can afford all this, are they really every-day-guys, like they are?

    • toronnamamma

      I agree. And Doug said that this was ‘seed’ money. I understand that in a business sense, seed money is what enables you to get started and grow your business. But a playground is not a business – it will never become a self-sustaining entity. So what Doug did is give them 5 grand for a some equipment, and I’m guessing that kind of money does not go far towards paying for commercial-grade playground infrastructure. So, Doug maybe bought half a slide. And this was his greatest achievement?

      • Steve Fleck

        Agreed. However, the key thing is that Doug essentially bought the votes of most of the people that know about that play-ground in that area. With all due respect, those folks clearly can’t understand the nuanced but MASSIVE difference, in Doug, or any politician for that matter, finding that money and help through the appropriate channels, vs. just reaching into his own pocket. It’s ironic, because both Rob & Doug go on an on ad nausem about democracy, yet, that example that Doug gave of an “achievement”, contravenes completely the whole process of democracy! But Ford Nations types are OK, with all that. They love those “ordinary guys”! Goodness me, they are being played badly for fools!

        • toronnamamma


  • Mike

    I tried to watch a bit of their YouTube show, entirely out of curiosity. I couldn’t make it through even one segment because they just seem so awkward in front of the camera. If that’s how amateur their Sun show appeared, it’s easy to see why they were dumped after one episode.

    • Steve Fleck

      You don’t need to see much, of either Ford in person to conclude they are incoherent, incompetent*, irresponsible and immature. The radio show was similar, as was the ill-fated Sun TV show. Good heavens the bar is set low in Ford Nation.

      *Actually, Rob Ford admitted under oath under cross-examination in the conflict of interest trial, last year, the one time recently that HE HAD TO BE HONEST, that he had been incompetent in his role as Mayor.

    • dsmithhfx

      The Sun show was cancelled after one episode, because it took too many hours of filming (5 hours to record, 8 to edit), to get an hour of ‘useable’ (didn’t reveal the Fords as complete babbling idiots) footage.

  • vampchick21

    Does anyone else get a very strong creeper vibe from Doug? It’s been bugging me for a while, just how creepy he is.

    • Steveinto

      Did you catch his comment a group of concerned parents and young people that came to city in support of the pride flag.

      “That’s your democratic right, and I’m glad to see you ladies down here”
      and “We could bring a thousand mothers down in favour of Rob.”

      • Konstantine

        I really wonder if he believes the bullshit he spews?

      • vampchick21


  • Konstantine

    LOL! Awesome read, thanks David.

  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    I’m about about 100 pages into Robyn Doolittle’s Crazytown and when one reads the “behind the scenes” stuff about Ford’s 2010 campaign it’s surprising that these two dimwits even got elected given the number of roadblocks, the number of times Ford went off message and the generally chaotic state of his campaign early on. Nick Kouvalis worked some supreme, dark magic in getting Mayor Bobblehead the Mayoralty. It will take some even darker magic for Ford to win next time. It still staggers me that nearly 400,000 people thought RoFo was the best choice.

  • Some times I just thinks

    When is the next one? I love infomercials even if I know I’m not going to buy the product!

  • dsmithhfx

    What, show up at noon, sign bobbleheads, meet NFL or retired boxer/whatever sports dude, sneak out for a crack break, drunk drive home… is that not the job description, because Rob’s aced it