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.
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.