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“I Won’t Back Down,” Ford Pledges at Campaign Launch

Last night, Toronto's embattled mayor launched his re-election bid surrounded by hundreds of supporters.

Mayor Rob Ford officially launched his re-election campaign last night with a promise to keep taxes low and to fight for accountability at Toronto City Hall. In a speech that lasted almost half an hour, Ford repeated his widely disputed claim of having saved taxpayers a billion dollars, and assured supporters he would find more “efficiencies” if given a second term.

“I’ve got a message for all those caviar Calvins, and those special-interest Sallys: you said it couldn’t be done. Well, guess what? We got it done!” Ford said to screaming supporters from the stage at the expansive Toronto Congress Centre on Dixon Road.

Ford never directly referred to the scandal and dysfunction surrounding his administration. No mention was made of the loss of almost all members of his original staff team, the ongoing police investigation, the notorious videos, or his admissions of having purchased and smoked crack cocaine during his term in office. His speech, though, was nevertheless a clear response to his critics and detractors.

“No matter what mud gets thrown at me, I won’t back down!” said Ford.

His slogan-heavy speech contained no new policy ideas—instead, it played directly to the loyalty of his supporters, who interrupted frequently with chants of “You’re number one!” and “Rob Ford for mayor!”

Residents from across Toronto and the GTA came to take part in the festivities. The event had the feel of a political party convention: Ford marched to the stage led by a band of bagpipers, with dozens of sign-waving supporters in tow. The massive crowd was a mixture of steadfast supporters, memorabilia hunters looking to pick up some Ford bobbleheads, and curious residents interested in experiencing the Ford Nation phenomenon.

While Ford was speaking, there were nearly a thousand people crowded around the stage or seated in the front section of the main hall; the rear section, which had tables set for several hundred more, was virtually empty. Many of the hundreds who formed lengthy queues to buy bobbleheads promptly exited the main hall after making their purchases.

A recurring theme among the Ford supporters we met was the belief that he stands with poor and middle-class Torontonians. “He’s not about trying to make it better for the rich folks; he’s trying to make it better for the people who don’t have,” said a young man named Troy. “And that’s the biggest reason I support him, ’cause I don’t got much.”

Anna, who said she planned to vote for Ford in the upcoming election, echoed this sentiment: “He’s working for all the people. And that’s something I support, ’cause I’m not a wealthy person.”

Apart from Ford’s brother and campaign manager Doug (Ward 2, Etobicoke North), Councillor Vincent Crisanti (Ward 1, Etobicoke North) was one of only three sitting councillors in attendance at the event (Cesar Palacio, of Ward 17, Davenport, and John Filion, of Ward 23, Willowdale were the others). Crisanti praised Ford for delivering his message to average Torontonians, and said the councillors who voted to strip Ford of most of his authority last year would be compelled to support him if he’s re-elected on October 27. “When you’re the mayor of the city and people vote you in, council has to listen to that message,” Crisanti told us in an interview following Ford’s speech.

Not all those in attendance were sure Ford could overcome the adversity he’s faced in the last year. Arvind, a resident of the Yonge and Eglinton area, said Ford’s downtown-versus-suburbs message was losing steam. “I think Ford developed it as a strategy, and I think it might come around and bite him in the ass this time around, “Arvind said. “I don’t think we’re as divided as he makes it out to be.”

CORRECTION: April 18, 2014, 2:20 PM This post originally neglected to mention that Councillor John Filion was in attendance at the campaign launch and that Doug Ford is a sitting councillor.


  • istoronto

    How was last nights party a campaigning launch? Ford has never stopped campaigning. He has done more campaigning in the last four years than actual city business.

    • AllanG

      To be fair, he didn’t mention campaigning until a year into his tenure as mayor.

  • Bumbaclot

    “Caviar Calvins” and “special-interest Sallys” were the best ones. Some of the rejects: welfare Walters, cycling Cecils, educated Ednas, latte sipping Lauras, libary [sic] card Linuses.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      “Caviar Calvins”

      Jaysus, Rob, get a better speech writer.

      • Bumbaclot

        Hard to attract the Alice Atwood calibre writers when you’re paying them off in hot dogs and fridge magnets.

        • dsmithhfx

          Bye Jayzus you have a way with words, Bumbaclot!

          • TheSotSays

            And Lard Thunderin Fxy but you too have a way with the words, the pretentious ones. It’s too bad you couldn’t larn yourself to put em in a properly constructed sentence.

    • TheSotSays

      That’s an interesting cast of villains but how be we add Double Dipping Chows and Jumping Jacks.

      • estta

        Well, Double Dipping Chows isn’t alliterative, for one. Also, your comments are bad and you should feel bad about them.

        • TheSotSays

          Well there was an enormous amount of whining and screaming a year or so ago when everyone was trying to give your dazed,double dipping, tax plundering NDP candidate a nick name that started with a “D.”

          And if you want to see bad you should take a closer look at your chosen candidate. I believe that as a community we’ve had enough of seeing our pockets picked and marxist ideology rammed down our throats.

          • dsmithhfx

            Rob’s got his fat fists shoved down our pockets to the tune of $1500 in new taxes per household for his Scarborough gravy subway.

            Chow’s gonna rap his knuckles with a metal-edge yardstick, and tell him to keep his filthy paws off our money .

            You should be well pleased, you little ingrate.

          • TheSotSays

            I guess “fat” from you is another example of NDP bigotry. Well done!

            But unfortunately if the intention of the NDP collective was to replace Rob Ford you made a big mistake when you chose a flakey, tax plundering candidate unacceptable to anyone but yourselves.

          • dsmithhfx

            We’ve been “Robbed”. It won’t happen again.

          • TheSotSays

            I sure hope Munch Mihevic can find you a job pouring cement because your days on the “gravy” train will be over in October.

          • dsmithhfx

            Rob’s billion$$$ gravy subway will be over. Tell us why that is breaking your heart. You want to rip off taxpayers? You like wasting our money? What?

        • OgtheDim

          Oh, I’m sure in his heart of hearts, he knows how bad he is at trolling.

          Doesn’t want to admit it yet, though.

          Problem is, I don’t think giving him time to get better at trolling will end up with success.

          A troll more to be pitied it seems.

  • K@

    Just as one must tolerate/accept repugnant ideas with true free speech, one must also accept an ignorant and/or intellectually retarded segment of the electorate in a free and open democracy. But MAN, it’s really, REALLY hard to do!

  • Steveinto

    “He’s not about trying to make it better for the rich folks; he’s trying
    to make it better for the people who don’t have,” said a young man
    named Troy. “And that’s the biggest reason I support him, ’cause I don’t
    got much.”

    Yet he caters to those that can afford more, cancelling the VRT and passing it to transit users.

    • Jacob

      Not to mention backroom deals helping out all his rich buddies, like land developers, nightclub owners, boutique airline owners, etc…

      Yup. Nothing elite about that. Good, common folk.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      None of that matters though. It’s all about perception. Troy thinks the other politicians aren’t doing anything for him and the rough around the edges Ford is speaking his language, so of course he must be sticking up for the little guy. Ford has crafted this image and until those people start perceiving him differently he’ll retain his Ford Nation base. I recall an article in the Globe where a woman who is a low-income earner said she supports Ford even when he votes against programs that would benefit her. Why? Because at least when he’s voting against something that would help her, he is honest about it. Not like those other politicians with their fancy words and blow dry hair. Reason and facts really won’t dissuade those who staunchly support Ford. They’ll stand by him even when he’s sticking it to them in favour of his rich friends.

      • rich1299

        Its disturbing how truth is irrelevant to politics.

        I’ve often thought the reason various gov’ts were jacking up tuition costs by cutting support for post-secondary education was to ensure fewer citizens developed the critical-analytical thinking skills needed to see through their political BS. Especially low income and working class citizens who need to be convinced to vote against their best interests. No one thinks advertising/propaganda affects them but it does, if it didn’t work it wouldn’t exist.

      • Notcleverguy

        In other words bob, you can’t fix stupid.

  • OgtheDim

    Crisanti is going to be so lonely a year from now.

    • TheSotSays

      Not you though. You and your oafs will be gathered together greasing Clayton Ruby up for another run at the Mayor.

      • dsmithhfx

        No need, Rob’s already on his way out. He just doesn’t know it yet.

      • OgtheDim

        Yeah, still not good at trolling……..

        • TheSotSays

          Heigh ho Clayton Ruby! Three cheers for “OgdDerp The Good – at Nothing.”

        • TheSotSays

          Three cheers for “OgdDerp The Good – at Nothing”

    • Notcleverguy

      I’m just going to label Crisanti as a crack head now.

  • TristanTerrific

    Rob Ford said he was “one of us”. I haven’t inherited a multimillion-dollar business from my dad. I am sure there are few people there who are in his shoes. How does he think he understands what it is like to be a single parent, or a parent? He spend his time hanging around with hoodlums. Pffft.

  • AllanG

    “Massive” crowd? 1,000 people? 2,000 people? That’s “massive”? For a rock star of Ford’s stature? For someone next to Jesus? C’mon Cole. Ford has nowhere to go but down.

  • wklis

    The family bought themselves a plaything, a fire truck, for the launch. Yet, Rob would rather reduce the numbers of firefighters and fire trucks in Toronto. Despite not only the population increase, but Toronto does have a large number of commercial and industrial properties. How many firefighters and trucks had to be used on the fire we had at a mattress factory in the Dufferin & Eglinton area?

    Toronto is not Detroit, where they are clearing out old buildings and leaving empty fields.

  • OpportKnocks

    Since the mainstream legal campaign financing methods have dried up for them I suggest this innovative financing strategy. Doug gets a wad of $100 bills from Deco and hands them to constituents in the Dixon Road area, who immediately donate $75 back to the campaign. Win-win, good for the campaign, good for the local drug trade.

  • CYW

    “He’s not about trying to make it better for the rich folks; he’s trying to make it better for the people who don’t have,” said a young man named Troy. “And that’s the biggest reason I support him, ’cause I don’t got much.” I don’t support RF but I’m willing to entertain this POV. Somebody tell me, using simple, accurate facts, how he’s made life better for people who don’t have. Are you really better off now than you were four years ago? How? What’s different? I’d really like to understand. I, personally, don’t see any marked improvement. Subway is still crowded and run down and more expensive …. streets are full of potholes … we’re no closer to resolving the waterfront issues … the airport question … unemployment is still high …. what’s better about any of that?

    • torontothegreat

      /me thinks Troy has more than Troy thinks he does…

      • OpportKnocks

        I’m guessing “Troy” is really Troy Gonsalves –

        He is pro-Ford and constantly posting online about how fabulous Porter is and now great the planned island airport expansion will be.

        • torontothegreat

          Makes sense since he works for Porter, which means he has more than most. What a f’n whiner.

  • Ahala

    This looks like it was the coolest eight-year old’s birthday party ever.

    • dsmithhfx

      The Ford regime turns four in October. Then it’s arrested development.

  • Notcleverguy

    So according to Troy, The poor are expecting the mayor to do stuff for them instead of bettering themselves. Interesting, seems to fly in the face of everything Ford and Ford supporters say. What a sad and miserable bunch of people, and just as disingenuous as their lying crack hero.

  • Notcleverguy

    This is the first thing I thought too when I read the article.

  • SonuvaScrimbro

    The face of Ford in the photo up top? That’s the expression of someone who can’t believe how easy it is to get some people to swallow unbelievable amounts of s— and come back begging for more.