2014 Villain: Rob Ford
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2014 Villain: Rob Ford

Nominated for: giving us one more year of being the worst mayor this city has ever had.

Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains—the people, places, things, and ideas that have had the most positive and negative impacts on the city over the past 12 months. Cast your ballot until 5 p.m. on December 30. At noon on December 31, we’ll reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.


So here we are again: Rob Ford has been nominated as a Villain for a record-breaking fifth year in a row.

This Villain entry for Ford may not be quite as long as some from previous years. In part, that’s because he’s not mayor any more; in part, it’s because Rob Ford spent a fair amount of time in 2014 out of the public eye, first when he went to rehab (even if it appears likely that he took it about as seriously as he has taken every aspect of his public life) and then when he withdrew from the mayoral race to undergo chemotherapy for the cancer that is threatening his life. Rob Ford managed to be slightly less embarrassing, incompetent, and harmful to this city, if only by default.

But even working on a lighter schedule than normal—and for our slacker, arrive-at-work-at-noon mayor, that’s saying something—Rob Ford still managed one more year of being the worst mayor this city has ever had. He kicked off the 2014 by drunkenly slurring in Jamaican patois, then engaged in a shameful and dishonest attempt to prevent the raising of the Pride flag at City Hall during the Olympics. Needless to say, he then snubbed World Pride. There was yet another conflict of interest, and then another, and then another, and then another, because Rob Ford doesn’t really give a damn about the ethical issues of using his office to get favours for himself or his business.

He once more acted like a petulant child during the budget process, and, as he has done every year, demonstrated that he really didn’t know the ins and outs of the budget process beyond being able to find small, relatively meaningless expenditures about which he could grandstand. He conducted a mayoral campaign that was, as usual, an endless parade of lies and advocated for a subway strategy that was made from fantasy numbers, preying on the casual voter’s lack of knowledge about transit. He complained about the expense of buying umbrellas for Sugar Beach and lied, trying to claim that it had been approved behind his back.

And when he got caught once again uttering ethnic slurs, allegedly smoking crack, and saying he wanted to “jam” Karen Stintz, he went to rehab—and came back offering insincere, self-serving apologies. And then, of course, we all found out he had cancer, so Rob Ford just decided to count on Ford Nation giving him the council seat in Ward 2—a bet that turned out to be well-advised—because he was too sick to be mayor, but apparently not too sick to be a city councillor. (He is already making noises about how what he really wants to do is run for mayor again in 2018, because Rob Ford has his own set of priorities, which are always Rob Ford–specific.)

And all of this, he managed in a year during which, for almost four months, he was effectively not really doing much of anything other than convalescing.

Rob Ford clearly likes being mayor. He doesn’t like doing the job of mayor, mind you, judging by how he does it. But he likes wearing the fancy chain and doing more or less as he pleases and having people take him seriously. So he’s going to stick around, health permitting, and make sure he’s in the public eye as much as humanly possible, act as obnoxious as possible at council meetings, and bide his time. He’s just spent four years being a blithering, incompetent, potentially criminal, lying, irresponsible, bigoted bully, but as he’s said himself, he’s not going to change.