Thursday, December 5th Commentary
Before I plunge headlong into the cesspool of Rob Ford's tenure as Mayor of this incredible city, let me stress that the contents of the latest document dump that came out late yesterday afternoon are, for the most part, hearsay. They are transcripts of wiretaps of the Dixon Bloods speaking to each other on phones and is proof of nothing. There are also police interpretations of what some of the gangs 'street talk' meant but in my view there's not enough there to convict Rob Ford and throw him in prison. Not yet. Will that time ever come? I don't know.
Here are the new unproven bits which I consider to be most relevant.
2 months before the story broke about the video of Rob Ford hauling on a crack pipe, Ford was trying to buy that video. The gang bangers said he was offering 5-thousand dollars and a car which one gangster found laughable and said he would demand 1-hundred-50-thousand. That could be viewed as attempted blackmail. This was several weeks before the video story broke which seems to put the lie to the Mayor's inference that he didn't know anything about a video or that he was in a drunken stupor and couldn't remember. We don't know if Ford ever paid for the video but obviously there was a copy on the hard drive police recovered.
In April, a month before the video scandal erupted, the wiretaps set up to ensnare the gangbangers indicate that Ford was at 15 Windsor Road, which he says is a residence and which police say was also a crack house. Some of the gang bangers were arranging to get drugs for the Mayor because he supposedly was asking for drugs. A number of conversations indicate Ford spent hours there doing drugs with several thugs. This was supposedly the party at which one gangster stole the Mayor's phone.
As this information unfolds, Ford freaked out about the stolen phone and got his friend Sandro Lisi on the hunt. Lisi had phone conversations with a gang banger and is believed to have said the Mayor would make sure the Dixon Bloods got a lot of heat put on them if the phone wasn't returned. Lisi supposedly worked out a deal…marijuana for the phone. Ford got his phone back. The gangsters say the marijuana they got was from the Mayor's stash.
There's reference to Ford doing all kinds of drugs…even a mention of a slang word sometimes used to discuss heroin, but again this is second and third hand information. What the gangsters did discuss was they had several photos of the Mayor in, quote "f-ed up situations."…but they loved and respected him.
The mayor's claim of late has been that he has nothing left to hide. It's all out on the table. This new material would seem to put the lie to that as well.
Some weeks ago I spent time establishing that people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol lie, time and time again. That Rob Ford lied is evident and self-admitted. It appears to be a pattern of behaviour.
What we're trying to establish now is what else has he lied to us about? Could you ever trust him again? I won't.
You can see a lot more about the latest document dump and reactions to it on our website: newstalk1010-dot-com. You can also vote on our online opinion poll about this.
In this day and age it is virtually impossible for anyone to live solely on the Canada Pension Plan and while there are other government payouts for the elderly, with not separate pension, life is very tough.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her counterpart in PEI have been pushing for a better CPP payout. Ontario has actually threatened to set up its own Ontario Pension Plan if Ottawa doesn't agree to expand the national plan.
Wynne sits down with Prime Minister Stephen Harper at 4:30 this afternoon on Parliament Hill. There are a number of agenda items and the CPP is expected to be one of them.
We are already getting a sense that this is going nowhere.
Kevin Sorenson, the federal minister responsible for pensions say he has studied the Ontario/PEI pitch. In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Sorenson says "it is not a modest proposal" and "there would be a huge cost to Canadians."
In relative terms that may well be true. The problem is the alternative is worse because most people are not saving nearly enough for their retirement on their own. In the early 80's the household saving rate was 15 to 20 percent. Since the late 90's, the rate has fallen below 5 percent and if that continues...the prospect of working people today having a decent existence in retirement looks gloomy.
Many politicians are paranoid about touching so-called entitlements for fear of infuriating their elderly constituents but this is one that must not be ignored. It's as simple as pay me now...or pay a lot more later.