The Rob Ford Radio Recap: Free Parking
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The Rob Ford Radio Recap: Free Parking

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.

Sunday was a beautiful day to stay inside and listen to the Ford brothers’ radio show! Actually, it was a terrible day to stay inside and listen to the Ford brothers’ radio show. Hopefully you didn’t, and you’re reading this recap instead. Either way, let’s find out what hi-jinks Rob and Doug got up to.

1:10: Rob and Doug talk about how they would totally be willing to discuss revenue tools for building public transit, but council is just too dang busy with all this casino stuff and other important work for taxpayers. Coincidentally, the Metrolinx report on those revenue tools is due May 27, and the whole idea is for council to meet beforehand so that Toronto has a say in the matter. But whatever, what’s the future of Toronto’s transit when you can have another debate about whether Queers Against Israeli Apartheid should be allowed to march in the Pride Parade.

1:14: Rob and Doug talk about transit planning details, which feels a lot like Michael Scott talking about what makes a good manager. Doug mentions the transfer point to connect to the Scarborough SRT, and it seems he just learned about this. He doesn’t like it.

1:18: Rob and Doug scoff at former ally Paul Ainslie’s (Ward 43, Scarborough East) motion to institute a 30-minute dinner break at council so that labour laws are complied with. Rob suggests that a reason to vote against it is that councillors will just play hooky and not come back after dinner. To which I pull out my hair, because for four months of the year the mayor plays hooky after lunch to coach football.

1:26: Rob says that if the Liberal government wanted revenue tools for public transit, they would have been announced in the provincial budget. Which is something premier Kathleen Wynne has consistently maintained is not the case. Rob’s not really a “process” guy.

1:27: Rob, fire-breathing conservative, says he’s pretty ideologically balanced and he’s misunderstood that way. Doug tells the mayor—the same one who refuses to attend Pride Week, who refers to social programs as ineffectual “hug-a-thug” plans, and who opposes monthly social assistance being increased from $606 to $620—that he’s two steps to the left of the Liberals on social issues. I’m beginning to think this radio program is just a way of promoting tourism to whatever reality Rob and Doug govern.

1:36: Rob talks about how awesome casinos are, and how Toronto will be getting the $100 million in hosting fees he promised. It’s true that there was a report from the CBC on Friday that said this, but about an hour later the Globe and Mail said it was incorrect, and everyone was all, “Yeah, that sounds right.” Maybe Rob has hit the Globe and Mail‘s paywall already this month.

1:42: Doug crows about how business loves Toronto and it’s doing great. He does not mention that on Saturday construction manufacturer Caterpillar announced that it was closing a Toronto tunnel-boring machine plant in Doug’s ward. As a result of the plant closure, 330 people will lose their jobs.

2:09: There’s a segment about mental health, and Rob says he’s surprised at the prevalence of mental-health issues. He and Doug ask good questions about the range of mental health disorders and how they can be difficult to recognize. It’s one of the better segments they’ve had on the show.

2:19: Jack Dominico is on the show to discuss the intercounty baseball team he owns, the Toronto Maple Leafs. (No, not those Maple Leafs.) The team plays at Christie Pits. Rob makes Dominico an unprompted promise that parked cars there won’t get ticketed, and Jack is delighted. There you have it folks, get on the Ford radio show and win free parking over the airwaves! Like Monopoly, but with the mayor as Moneybags!

2:20: We learn where Jack Dominico stands politically. He tells Doug that the sooner he gets the Liberals out, the better, and invites the Etobicoke North councillor to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a game.

2:26: As part of the week’s preview of events, Rob urges people to go to McDonald’s on Wednesday to support Ronald McDonald House and kids with “some sort of disease.”

2:29: Ford jokes that since there’s a council meeting Wednesday, he’ll have to set up a little TV under his desk to watch the Leafs game. It’s kind of endearing, in a hapless George Costanza sort of way.

2:29: Rob asks Doug what he or the provincial Tories would do differently than the Liberals, and adds that the NDP should bring down the Liberal provincial government. Doug winds up in a classic Doug rant, during which he says he wants to upload the TTC to Metrolinx to create a regional transportation system, and, and…and Rob cuts him off, because we have to go to commercial.

2:36: Aaaaaand we’re back. Doug says he doesn’t speak for Tim Hudak, but he does speak for Doug Ford. He wants Andy Byford to run Metrolinx. He wants to make the province fiscally stable while increasing service levels. He wants to increase funding to classrooms. He wants Toronto to have a strong mayor system. He boasts about how the city found 10 per cent efficiencies in the first year of Ford rule, five per cent in the second year and flatlined in the third year. Rob adds that it wasn’t even hard.

Where to start? Okay, so uploading the TTC would essentially prevent Toronto from doing any of its own transit planning. The promise to improve fiscal stability while also increasing service levels sounds awfully familiar, and it wasn’t too honest when it was used as a slogan in 2010, so I’d be skeptical today. The claims of 10 per cent, five per cent, and a flat budget are flat-out wrong, although the most recent budget was close to being flatlined (there was a small increase). This was an incredibly difficult and agonizing process for many people.

It’s one thing to try to duplicate the Ford 2010 electoral strategy, but it’s another to promise the same style of governance, which, at the municipal level, has neither upheld its promises nor served the public good. Sure, this is Doug talking, and we’ve all learned to roll our eyes. But the point is we shouldn’t have to.

2:48: Rob: “I think we have enough money as is, it’s just completely mismanaged.” So we don’t want the casino now? I’m confused.

2:49: Caller Will says Rob and Doug have many supporters. Will doesn’t like the Liberals, whom he calls buffoons, and he urges Doug to run provincially. We really need Torontoist readers to call in to provide some balance.

2:52: Gary calls in to say he wants to start a Ford Nation coalition to re-elect Rob, but Doug mentions something about there being penalties for campaigning too long before election day. He directs Gary to the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition.

2:54: Doug says Rob will do a tour of every single ward in the summer. I say to Rob: I will totally join you on that tour.

2:55: Doug reiterates his support for the private sector building a tunnel under the Gardiner and charging a toll. In other news, I reiterate my support for a glittery unicorn for every Torontonian.

2:59: Rob refers to Doug as a potential premier, and I make my “Oh shit, that’s a terrible idea” face, which I should really turn into a GIF.

3:00: Doug finishes the show with an indication of his priorities. “God bless the people in the GTA and Toronto, and, most importantly, God bless Ford Nation.”

Raccoon Nation, we are done listening to our radio show. If the recap was extra cranky, it’s probably because it was a beautiful day and there were cherry blossoms and Hot Docs to see and Jane’s Walks to be enjoyed and I was stuck inside listening to Rob and Doug. So I give an extra cranky rating: One out of five cherry blossoms.