Liveblog: Conrad Black Interviews Rob Ford
One is a convicted criminal, one faces a growing range of allegations. One is known for using very big words, one for using barely any at all. Watch along with us as they congratulate themselves on their leadership and honesty!
Our two bellicose and bloviating blowhards, Rob Ford and Conrad Black, broadcast brilliant bombast for bemused boomers. Or something like that.
Monday night on Vision TV, Rob Ford is interviewed by the one man who might be more deluded than he is. Billed as a “Conversation with Conrad,” on The Zoomer (That’s boomers with zip, for you non-zooming types) the one-on-one is a rare, lengthy interview granted by the mayor of Toronto. Whether anything of substance comes of it remains to be seen—Vision teased a bit that Rob would be willing to do a drug test—but we’ll follow along with a live blog anyway, just in case.
12:00 And we’re off! We are introduced to Rob’s football-adorned office to circus-like music, which shows that someone at Vision TV has some perspective.
12:01: Rob is showing Conrad around the office. He shows off the cartoons about him, and the photo of him and Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion fishing. There’s something unsettling about Rob Ford engaging in small talk with Conrad Black, but here we are.
12:06: Conrad introduces Rob Ford as “the most famous Canadian in the world,” which probably kills Conrad on the inside.
12:07: Already Conrad uses the word “vendetta” and Rob claims he’s not an alcoholic. What an efficient show!
12:08: Rob says the city is booming. No Rob, you’re wrong, the city is zooming. Toronto is the city with zip.
12:10: Conrad says that even the Toronto Star concedes that Rob Ford has saved the city $650 million. It has not. A recent Star article stated the number is closer to $350 million.
12:11: Rob Ford: “If there was an election today, I’m very confident I would win.”
12:14: Conrad: “Rob, a good conservative does more for the little people than the socialists do.”
12:15: Rob uses the phrase “St. Clair LRT disaster”, and says that his opponents want to “St. Clairize” the city. Perhaps one of the oddest legacies of Rob Ford will be turning St. Clair into a verb.
12:20: Rob says that council’s recent move to strip him of his statutory powers is illegal. He has not sued.
12:22: We are now talking about office budgets, and Conrad can’t stand the hypocrisy on council. Oh, irony, how I love you.
12:23: Conrad says that Rob put forward a balanced budget, and asks why the mayor’s council opponents (that is, almost everyone) wanted to raise taxes more. This is an inaccurate characterization of the budget, and Conrad should read Torontoist to catch up.
12:24: Rob says he was embarrassed about being drunk at the Air Canada Centre, which is an odd statement, because he is currently laughing. He also claims that he wasn’t lying about not being at the game, because journalists asked about the wrong visiting team (they did not).
12:26: Rob says that what he really has to do is lose 60 or 70 pounds, because he’s really impressed when people lose weight. Okay, losing weight is great if that’s what you want, but please recognize that there are so many other serious issues to address that affect you and the people you love.
12:30: Conrad says that Rob didn’t even do what Ralph Klein did when he was drunk, and make fun of the homeless. Rob says that he helps the homeless a lot, adding that “I won’t give them money, because you don’t know what they’ll spend it on.” Not said: Rob Ford has also assaulted people while drunk, said racist remarks, and has been accused by his staffers of showing up to work intoxicated, drinking on the job, and drinking while driving. This is not something to dismiss with an offhand joke.
12:31: Rob Ford says council has started the gravy train in the two weeks since he was stripped of his gravy-fighting powers. Damn gravy lovers!
12:32: Rob says that he wants the next election to be about policy, because he “knows he’s run the city better than any mayor ever has.”
12:33: Rob says that he supports frontline police officers, but has an issue with Police Chief Bill Blair. Rob thinks the chief is too political and used Sandro Lisi as a prop to get to him. Darn you for watching that incriminating video of me, William Sterling Blair! Why couldn’t you let me allegedly smoke crack and be blackmailed in peace?
12:34: Conrad asks Rob whether anyone has blamed the death of Sammy Yatim on the mayor yet, because he has been blamed for everything else. What a hard-hitting journalist.
12:35: Rob says he’s willing to provide a urine test for drug use, right now. Black declines his offer, and we are all relieved.
12:36: Conrad asks if Toronto is going to build over the railway yards, and Rob says sure, if the private sector wants to.
12:37: Rob says he’s never been to New York City, but he has been to Buffalo.
12:38: Rob says that you won’t see any financial scandals with him as mayor like you did with Miller or Lastman. Conrad looks quizzical, as if trying to remember something, and says, “I don’t remember any financial scandal in…the Lastman administration.” Rob Ford corrects Conrad Black, reminding him of the massive MFP scandal. Presumably, for David Miller’s scandal, they mean that some councillors expensed bunny suits, because that’s outrageous.
12:45: Conrad uses a sports analogy. Rob is gleeful.
12:47: Rob invokes his family to try to get the media to stay away, saying that his six- and eight-year-old children are terrified, worried that their dad might die, and that it’s ripping their family apart. To avoid this worry, Rob says that he is willing to go to City Hall to debate anyone about the issues and answer questions. It’s a promise he has previously stated but did not fulfill. However, Torontoist will happily take him up on this opportunity at his convenience so that he can show how he keeps promises and further the City’s discourse. Get back to us!
12:48: Rob says that his wife Renata gets bothered with questions and comments when she goes out shopping.
12:51: Conrad asks about the pesky media, and asks Rob to list the most offensive moments with the media. Rob says that Star reporter Daniel Dale was in his backyard in May 2012, taking pictures of his children. This is patently untrue. Rob characterizes Dale here as something like a pedophile rather than the award-winning journalist he is, and it is completely unfair. Previously, Rob said he was helping his kids with their homework, not that they were playing, as he claims now. And previously, Rob said that he was alerted to Dale by his neighbour, and now Rob claims he saw Dale himself. Conrad asks if Dale was on public or private property, and Rob concedes it was public, but really close to his fence, so it was basically his.
Rob is not good at keeping a consistent story, while Dale’s has never changed. Rob Ford owes Daniel Dale an apology, and a promise that he will no longer spread these untruths as he tries to earn sympathy from a rightly skeptical public.
12:51: Rob cites Marg Delahunty as a threatening figure, and explains that he couldn’t figure out whether the character was a man or a woman. When Conrad learns that she was from This Hour Has 22 Minutes, he informs Rob that the mayor is fortunate not to be familiar with a program of such provincial humour.
Well, that was the interview. Black was as fawning as one could expect, and projected his difficulties with the judicial system onto Ford’s own situation. But really, did we expect anything else? This was an interview featuring the two Torontonians most out of touch with reality, so it was wishful thinking that we would get any great insights. Instead, we got further lies to justify the mayor’s behaviour, and a willing host to provide a platform for his claims. Let us never watch The Zoomer again.