Friday, November 1 Commentary
Before I get into the Rob Ford story, keep an eye on the wind. It's very strong and power failures can be expected but thus far nothing big in the GTA except for 2-thousand customers in Uxbridge. 4-thousand customers north of Fergus also no power.
Alright, here's what happens next in the Rob Ford saga. His friend, accused drug dealer Sandro Lisi, is to appear in court this morning at Old City Hall downtown for his first appearance on a new charge of extortion while trying to retrieve a recording. We hope to find out if the recording is the one of Mayor Ford appearing to smoke crack.
There will be other court proceedings today and over the next couple of weeks as media outlets try to get access to much of the material that was blacked out by the judge in the hundreds of pages of documents police submitted to get the warrant to file the drug charges against Sandro Lisi. Including in the redacted material are the intercepts, the wiretaps police used. They have photos and videos of clandestine meetings between Ford and Lisi. They have hundreds upon hundreds of phone calls between the two men...as many as 18 a day so they obviously have what was said on those calls which would give us better insight into this who sordid matter.
Nothing yet on whether the Mayor will be at city hall today but rest assured one of our reporters will be there just in case.
As for NewsTalk 1010's The City, which the Mayor and his brother Doug co-host on Sunday afternoons, we have not heard from the Ford's about whether they plan to do the show, nor has the management of the radio station decided whether to continue keeping the Ford's on the air. They're getting pressure from some listeners to drop them.
I am not going to go into a great deal of detail about all that came out yesterday. If you listen to the station you've heard plenty of it and you can go on our website: newstalk1010-dot-com for extensive coverage and I encourage you to do so because what you will find is disturbing, infuriating and sad.
If you are a regular listener to News and Views, my disdain for Rob Ford has been evident for some time. I've called him stupid, bullheaded, a liar. No change in those views, if anything they're reinforced by what we saw and heard yesterday. I'm also left with the feeling that Rob Ford is a pathetic human being.
On one hand I want to strangle him. On the other I know he needs help but he's clearly in denial and he's not likely to ask for help until he hits bottom. Some would argue that as a result of yesterday he's at bottom. Clearly he feels he is not.
The Mayor went home yesterday afternoon, put on his Leafs jersey and took his kids out trick or treating. A human, fatherly touch to be sure and I assume there were some neighbours, members of so-called Ford Nation...some refer to them as Ford crazies...who cheered him on. It wouldn't surprise me if he showed up for work at city hall today, creeping in the back door to avoid reporters. He seems to feel that if he just bulldozes his way straight ahead, all will be okay.
Not this time. The big lie about the video. The skulking around in weird places with a known convict suspecting of drug dealing. Exchanging packages and envelopes. More than 3-hundred phone calls between the two men over a month and half...many at all hours of the night. The use of at least 3 city hall employees to either make contact with Sandro Lisi or get in a vehicle with Lisi briefly, get out and drive off.
My gut tells me Rob Ford will not quit as mayor and legally there is no way to remove him from office. Hypothetically even if he were to be convicted of a crime he couldn't be removed. In Ontario you have to be convicted and sentenced to jail or prison time before you can get booted out.
Stepping aside temporarily to get treatment....I think we're beyond that. Besides, if the issue is drug addiction of any form, you can't just hop on a plane, go into rehab for a few weeks and come back straightened out. It takes a lot of work to, first, stabilize and two to get the kind of treament you need to cope with what will be a life-long affliction. To try to juggle being mayor, seeking re-election and treatment....nigh on impossible.
So what do we do? We have to force him out and we could try a couple of things.
First city council could bring the business of government to a grinding halt until the Mayor steps down. Councillors might want to consider rotating boycotts of council meetings and committee meetings. Make sure there are just enough councillors absent so there is no quorom so nothing can be voted upon.
There's also another possibility. Rob Ford has often said he only does what the taxpayers want. Let's see if he's a man of his word. Tell him what you want. Either Rob get out or Rob get help. Call him. He claims to respond to all phone calls.
Here's his number: 416-397-FORD. Thats 416-397-3673.
If you like Rob Ford, he needs your help.
If you can no longer tolerate Rob Ford, Toronto needs your help.
If either matters to you, it's time to act.