Ford Tough

I’ve been reading so much of the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star lately that I’m probably going to be having poutine for lunch, beaver tails for dessert, and start thinking hockey is interesting. I don’t fully understand the politics of Toronto, but as I understand it, Etobicoke, Ford’s district, was a suburb that was annexed a decade or so ago, and the urban elites who staff the city papers seem to think Etobicokers have come in and messed up the place. Here’s the Globe’s lede for today’s Ford story:

When reporters descended on the mayor of Toronto’s house the day after reports he had been seen smoking crack, a man in a blue T-shirt and sunglasses was waiting by the road to intervene. Before long, he was standing between videographers and Mayor Rob Ford’s SUV, ensuring Mr. Ford could drive away.

That piece is about David Price, yet another former Etobicoke hash dealer in Ford’s administration. Meanwhile, over at the Star:

After passing the $200,000 crowdfunding mark to raise the money needed to buy a video that appears to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack, U.S.-based website Gawkerstill hasn’t made contact with the people in possession of the video.

One pleasant change from US media is that the Star doesn’t feel the need to shit all over Gawker every time its name is mentioned.

Another development: of the two Somali crack dealers who shared rocks with Ford, one is dead in shooting at a nightclub, and the Star learned yesterday that the other one was injured in the same event. I may be jumping to conclusions here, but it does appear that smoking crack with Rob Ford is dangerous to one’s health.

30 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    It’s not a scandal unless there were some revised talking points.

  2. 2
    beltane says:

    @Baud: The fate of the free world hinges on whether or not this was about smoking crack or the act of smoking crack.

  3. 3
    Bitter and Deluded Lurker says:

    I moved to Canada from the US in 2008. Ford was a long-time councillor representing Etobicoke, and by all accounts he was very responsive to his constituents. The guy who fixed my water heater the year before last said he lived down the street from Ford and that he thought the guy was great.

    My theory is that he would have made a passable mayor of Etobicoke. Unfortunately, he’s in way over his head as mayor of amalgamated Toronto, the fourth largest city in North America. I think the stress has exacerbated his existing substance abuse issues, and he’s just gotten completely out of control. I don’t expect to see the guy live to 50 unless he gets some help.

  4. 4
    Svensker says:

    @Bitter and Deluded Lurker:

    Our appliance repair guy has done lots of work for Rob Ford and is always saying what a great guy he is, too. I think he should go back to Etobicoke (the “k” is silent, btw, for all you furriners) and get some help, as well. We won’t be mad at you, Rob!

  5. 5
    NonyNony says:


    (the “k” is silent, btw, for all you furriners)

    Ah. So the fact that he’s from Etobi-COKE and he was caught smoking crack isn’t the wordplay joke that I’d expect a Canadian Jay Leno to make?

    And who would the Canadian Jay Leno be anyway?

  6. 6
    Bitter and Deluded Lurker says:

    @NonyNony: I’m not sure there is one, but I don’t watch a lot of TV. Rick Mercer is the only one I can think of, but the format of his show is more like a cross between Colbert and the Daily Show. His old show, 22 Minutes, is still on and more closely resembles the Daily Show. Although according to Wikipedia 22 minutes was on the air a couple of years before the Daily Show.

  7. 7
    Anya says:

    As a half Somali, I like to protest this constant mention of the ethnicity of the drug dealers. First, the one who got killed is not a Somali; second, these kids were probably born in Toronto so why are they otherized?

  8. 8
    PIGL says:

    @Anya: thank you.

  9. 9
    Nutella says:


    Yes. Somehow the papers never describe people as “Doug Ford, a city councilman and Irish-Canadian drug dealer” or “Rob Ford, Irish crack user and mayor of Toronto”.

    We white people get a lot more “alleged” and a lot less specificity about our immigrant ancestors.

    (Note- Assuming Irish descent from the name. Don’t actually know which European countries the Fords came from.)

  10. 10
    GregB says:

    Ford, like a rock….of crack.

  11. 11
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    The Etobicokers came in and trashed the place, and it wasn’t their place to trash.

    Heard this song before, I think.

  12. 12
    Steeplejack says:


    And who would the Canadian Jay Leno be anyway?

    They can have our Jay Leno.

  13. 13
    canuckistani says:

    Alan Thicke is our Jay Leno.

  14. 14
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: you really need to check out his policy history and the hippie-punching before you get that.

    Go hit the Toronto Sun site, and make sure you read the comments sections.

    The Nile is a river in Egypt; Denial is a river in Ford Nation.

  15. 15
    belieber says:

    “I’ve been reading so much of the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star lately that I’m probably going to be having poutine for lunch, beaver tails for dessert, and start thinking hockey is interesting.”

    Have you ever actually been to Canada? Are you really that naive?

  16. 16
    Ecks says:

    Putting the coke back in Etobicoke. I like it.

    I’m not sure Etobicoke is particularly more crazy than the rest of the city. It’s a geographic tag that covers a long strip of urbanation with some pretty poor areas at the bottom (home, I am not making this up, of internet meme “rapper” Chuggo – video N remotely SFW – note the shoutouts to Lakeshore; that’s S. Etobicoke), then there’s some tonier bits in the middle, and some pretty grim a bit further up, with a little Somalia tucked somewhere near the top (Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods – there’s a little Italy, little Portugal, Little Bosnia, several Chinatowns, you name it).

    Toronto used to be an agglomeration a bit like NYC, with five cities (i.e., boroughs) and an overarching metro council that covered cross-border issues like transit, but in the 90’s they were flattened into one super city by an extremely right wing provincial government. Ford is having to work overtime to be more stupid and embarrassing than the first post-merger mayor, and that guy was from North York, not Etobicoke. Mel Lastman, ho boy. Mel did stuff like appearing in cut rate commercials for his son peddling no-money-down furniture. When Toronto was up for hosting the olympics, Mel told a panel of international journalists that, no, he had never been to Africa because he was afraid of being cooked in a big pot.

    BTW, it’s pronounced, for no apparent reason Eh-toe-bi-coe. Not that you care.

  17. 17
    PIGL says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch: absolutely this.

    Mistermix’s take on this is the opposite of true.

    The “Urban Elites” were fine with the mayor, because he was elected bv exurban yobs to punch hippies, bust unions, cater to their automobiles, and rid the city government of all the faggy commie artsy stuff of importance to the people who actually Live In The City, but contrary to the interests of the Conservatives who want to milk the economic benefits of a major world city while not having to pay anything to support it. The City of Toronto was forcibly amalgamated with the surrounding municipalities to achieve exactly this political end. The result is a sequence of mayors who hit their level of incompetence in a suburban used car lot, but can talk an aggressive bullying anti-union line. It is possible that the Urban Elites now find the mayor embarrassing, and also no longer helpful to their agenda. But our blogger and our commenters are just silly and facile, and frankly, too incredibly sloppy and lazy to even consult Google, if they would project the Your Village’s response to the Clintons in the 1990 onto the situation in Toronto, a different city in a different country, 20+ years later. Please stop doing it.

  18. 18
    Ecks says:

    @PIGL: To be fair, of the three mayor’s Toronto has had post-amalgamation, only two of them have been off-the-charts wacky. The middle one wasn’t particularly notable.

  19. 19
    NickT says:

    Once again Rob Ford demonstrates that it ain’t just a linguistic link between hash and assassin.

  20. 20
    PIGL says:

    @Ecks: “wasn’t particularly notable”… much so that I have no recollection whatever. But then, I don’t actually live in Metro, just visit three or four times a year. The best thing that could come out of this is deamalgamation. I hope the current government will consider it. It would be a lasting blow against the Conservatives, and better for the former Metro, and for the surrounding areas.

  21. 21
    Seanly says:

    Be careful who you annex I guess…

    I like Atrios’ take on the scandal – odd setting of mystery country Canadia, unbelievable character Ford, but good TV.

  22. 22
    Ferdzy says:

    Long-time lurker, first-time commenter here.

    Fascinating as the Ford saga is, there is more – much more – going on in Canada at the moment.

    Background: Prime Minister Steven Harper was, through the creaking antiquity of the Canadian electoral system and a little judicious cheating, elected to a majority government by a minority of Canadians. He lost no time in firing everyone in a position monitoring the safety and ethics of the country, and either not replacing them at all or replacing them with Conservative stooges. Most other government positions of any significance also got the stooge treatement.

    Some of those chickens are now coming home to roost; Senator Mike Duffy’s expense claims have just been sent to the RCMP

    and Senator Pamela Wallin’s may not be far behind.

    Then there’s this: the former head of CSIS (Canada’s equivalent to the CIA) has just been arrested in Panama on fraud charges related to a hospital management gig…

    I figured everything would collapse in a rotten heap eventually, such being what happens when you have a government consisting almost exclusively of grifters, but the chickens are coming home to roost much sooner than I could ever have hoped. It’s almost enough to make a person believe in karma.

  23. 23
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @NonyNony: I saw what you did there.

    And as a non-Torontonian (Greater or lesser) citizen of Ontario, I feel moved to point out that the distinction between Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and Toronto has existed only in the minds of the citizens of Toronto for at least twenty years. To the rest of us, everything from Whitby to Mississauga is the same damn place.

    If you are still stuck in the same traffic jam on both sides of a border, it’s a safe bet the border isn’t really there anymore.

  24. 24
    Dave Ruddell says:

    Toronto used to be an agglomeration a bit like NYC, with five cities (i.e., boroughs)

    To nitpick, it was five cities plus one borough (and three of those cities used to be boroughs). Why is everyone always forgetting East York?

  25. 25
    aimai says:

    @Nutella: But don’t you wish they were?

  26. 26
    aimai says:

    @Ecks: Can I ask is Lost Girl supposedly shot in Toronto? Its a bit everywhere and nowhere and often pretends its somewhere in the US but it is distinctly Canadian and I’ve wondered about the cityscape and its significance.

  27. 27
    Svensker says:


    Mel told a panel of international journalists that, no, he had never been to Africa because he was afraid of being cooked in a big pot.

    And our son, who has lived in Toronto a few years longer than we have, told us the politics were boring here.

    Always thought that Ontario was filled with quiet, polite Calvinists and Anglicans, not to mention sober-sided leftie atheists. Now I find out the place is filled with Catholics (not that that’s a bad thing) and wackers who could give Michelle Bachmann a run for the money. Who knew?

  28. 28
  29. 29
    Ecks says:

    @Dave Ruddell:

    Why is everyone always forgetting East York?

    I believe your question answers itself :)

    @Mary – no, it’s the crime too :)

  30. 30
    Ecks says:

    @aimai: No idea, sorry. Tons of stuff is filmed in Toronto, though, that is ostensibly set somewhere else.

    @Svensker: Nah, Toronto politics aren’t that ideologically insane, more just small town corrupt. You get the ideological nasty stuff more at the provincial and Federal levels. America has been a bad influence.

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