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Rob Ford says goodbye to Jim Flaherty

- April 10th, 2014

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Mayor Rob Ford paid tribute to Jim Flaherty at City Hall Thursday shortly after news of the former finance minister’s death broke.

Here is Ford’s complete speech:

“It is with profound regret that I’m speaking to the people today. In this time of great sadness, I wish to offer my deepest condolences to Jim’s wife Christine and to his sons Galen, John and Quinn. 

Jim will be remembered as a relentless fighter and a champion for the people.

He will deeply be missed by everyone who had the good fortune of knowing him. 

Jim served in the provincial legislature with my late father, Doug Ford Sr., and was a close friend of the family for many, many years. 

I can never thank him enough for his friendship and his loyalty through the years.

He was an honourable man, husband, father and politician who dedicated his life to his family and to the Canadian public service. 

As the finance minister Jim had a stabilizing influence on the Canadian position in the international financial community.

He kept the country on track in the most difficult of financial times. Canada would not be where it is today without the efforts of Jim Flaherty. 

It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that I say goodbye to a very special friend. 

We love you, Jim. We’ll miss you.

Rob Ford really hates streetcars

- April 10th, 2014

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Mayor Rob Ford at Soccerworld on Wednesday (Ernest Doroszuk, Toronto Sun) 

Mayor Rob Ford came out Wednesday saying Toronto has “a terrible transit system compared to other major cities in the world” and promising, again, to try to phase out streetcars (story here). 

Ford’s anti-streetcar rant provided a lot of insight into how he sees transit in Toronto and if you’re a transit fan, you’re probably going to disagree with everything he said.

The mayor argued congestion is “only going to get worse.”

“As Toronto grows there is going to be more cars, there is going to be more congestion,” he said. “There is no magic solution.”

But Ford argued subways were the only form of transit that would get people out of their cars.

“I know one thing, I won’t get on a streetcar,” he said. “If I have an option of driving or streetcar, I want to get in my car.”

Although mayoral candidates John Tory and Karen Stintz have promised to focus on building a downtown relief line as the city’s next major subway project, Ford repeated Wednesday that a downtown relief line is the third most-important line on his subway wish list.

He wants the city to complete the Sheppard subway from the end of the existing stub to the Scarborough Town Centre and then build a Finch subway before focusing on a Downtown Relief Line.

“People are getting ignored up in North York, people are getting ignored in Scarborough,” Ford said.

Mayor Rob Ford’s backstage pics

- March 11th, 2014

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Councillor Doug Ford sent me some behind the scene pictures from Mayor Rob Ford’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel last week.

As you can see in the pic above, Mayor Ford was hamming it up with his dressing room door the night he appeared on Kimmel’s post-Oscar special. On that show, actor Kevin Spacey ended up cracking jokes about the mayor (story here).

A day later, Ford was the main event on Jimmy Kimmel Live (story here).

Now Doug Ford says Kimmel will be a guest on the mayor’s YouTube show, Ford Nation (story here).

Here’s some more Ford family snapshots from their Hollywood trip:

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Councillor Doug Ford, Jimmy Kimmel, Randy Ford (the mayor’s other brother) and Mayor Rob Ford

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Doug Ford, Mayor Rob Ford and Randy Ford with a Jimmy Kimmel pool table

 

What time is it in Ford Nation?

- March 9th, 2014

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Mayor Rob Ford – or at least whoever runs the mayor’s Twitter account – might want to double-check what time it is today.

Ford’s account tweeted out a reminder to folks last night about the time change.

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The only problem is that tweet was wrong – the clocks are supposed to go forward an hour overnight not back an hour.

Leave it to the Ford camp to turn a simple time change into another embarrassing episode for the embattled mayor.

Other people on Twitter – who remembered that you spring forward/fall back when it comes to daylight saving time – were pretty quick to point this out and crack more jokes at the mayor’s expense.

It is worth mentioning Ford has testified under oath that he doesn’t run his own Twitter account (it came up during his conflict of interest trial) so it is entirely possible the mayor had nothing to do with this blunder and is aware the clocks spring forward this weekend and fall back in the fall.

Ford’s Twitter account eventually got it right.

The original tweet was deleted and this one went out:

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Hopefully all the clocks will be right in the mayor’s office on Monday.

Meanwhile, Ford’s rival David Soknacki – who appears to run his own Twitter account – tweeted this last night:

Quite the contrast between these two mayoral candidates even on Twitter.

UPDATE: 

Dan Jacobs, Mayor Rob Ford’s chief of staff, confirmed Sunday that he was the one who tweeted the daylight saving time tweet from the mayor’s Twitter account.

Here is what Jacobs told me via email on Sunday:

“This was my error, I had just been talking with friends that it’s spring forward, and when I posted the tweet I wrote it backwards.”

The story of Ford’s Twitter account messing up daylight saving time was picked up by several U.S. media outlets on Sunday.

Unfortunately, USA TODAY ended up making its own Twitter error – tweeting out a photo of Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother, with the story rather than Rob Ford.

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Five minutes later, the newspaper tweeted out a correction:

 

Jimmy Kimmel has hardly been a Rob Ford fan

- March 2nd, 2014

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A photo of Jimmy Kimmel and Mayor Rob Ford in Los Angeles on Saturday posted on Mayor Rob Ford’s Twitter account

Mayor Rob Ford is slated to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday night.

The encounter is surprising given the fact Ford is only an international celebrity due to the fact he’s smoked crack cocaine so you’d think he’d try to steer clear of drawing more attention to that scandal in an election year.

But it is even more surprising because Kimmel has been cracking jokes about Ford for “probably a year” – to use the Ford vernacular.

Here’s a rundown of some of Kimmel’s Ford wisecracks:

April 2013

In April 2013, Kimmel was one of the first U.S. late-night hosts to joke about Ford. He mocked Ford for walking into a City-TV camera at City Hall and described the mayor as a “man of significant carriage.”

May 2013

Kimmel had an actor portray Ford to mock his crack cocaine scandal when it first broke. That led to a lot of late-night gags at Ford’s expense.

June 2013

Kimmel mocked Ford’s ongoing crack scandal saying he was “absolutely in love” with the mayor. He joked about Ford’s spin at the time that the scandal was helping get Toronto “on the map.” The comedian went on to roll out a map with the title, “Cities in which the mayor has been accused of smoking crack.”

“You’ve got Washington, D.C. with mayor Marion Barry, you’ve got Toronto with Mayor Rob ford and that’s it — a pretty exclusive club, very small club,” Kimmel said at the time.

“Despite all the controversy he refuses to resign. He said he’s hard at work for the people of Toronto — incredibly hard at work — in fact, he hasn’t stopped working for the last 79 hours in a row.”

November 2013

Mayor Rob Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine while in a “drunken stupor,” leading to a lot more Kimmel jokes.
Here’s a clip:

November 2013

After the crack admission, Kimmel used a clip from the city council meeting where Ford admitted to buying illegal drugs.

Kimmel played the Jeopardy! theme song during Ford’s long pause to Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong’s question asking the mayor, “Have you purchased illegal drugs in the last two years?” Ford eventually answered, “Yes, I have.”

“Really at this point the only shocking allegation you can make about Mayor Ford is he was caught eating a salad,” Kimmel joked. “It’s amazing, it’s as if Toronto has a 400-pound Andy Dick running the city.” 

November 2013

Kimmel had Chris Daughtry perform “The Ballad of Rob Ford” song. The song chronicled the exploits of “the drunk-driving, crack-smoking Mayor of Toronto.”

December 2013 

Jimmy Kimmel has been having festive fun with Ford all week on his show, Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Kimmel used the audio from Ford’s crack-smoking confession with a scene from the Christmas special, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town. He gave Ford’s voice to the evil mayor in the classic TV show, Burgermeister Meisterburger.

A day later, Kimmel presented the 12 Days of Rob Ford.

December 2013

After Mayor Rob Ford danced to Bob Marley’s “One Love” on the council floor with several other councillors and city bureaucrats, Kimmel questioned, ”Are they all on crack?”

Kimmel also mocked Ford for sarcastically telling councillors he was “super, super, super, super, super, super, super sorry” for calling them corrupt a day earlier.

“It is not just food, he super-sizes everything,” Kimmel joked.

The U.S. host went on to say that the Rob Ford experience “has been very educational” for Americans.

“Canadians are much, much weirder than any of us had any idea they were,” he joked. “They seem so normal but they’re not, they’re different … these people are coco-nutso and we could be in danger.”

January 2014

Kimmel delivered more jokes at Mayor Ford’s expense when he was caught on video ranting in Jamaican Patois in the Steak Queen in Etobicoke.

“While we’re on the subject of natural disasters have you seen the latest episode of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford?” Kimmel asked his audience.”Rob Ford has been quiet for a couple of months, he claims he has been exercising, he hasn’t been drinking, he even hasn’t done crack he says – and that’s big for him because he loves crack. Unfortunately the streak of good behaviour appears to have ended last night.”

Kimmel went on to run the YouTube clip of Ford’s rant.

“It would appear that Mayor Ford speaks Jamaican too,” he joked. “Just when you thought he couldn’t possibly pull another nugget out of his bag of crazy he gets drunk and speaks Jamaican in a Steak Queen. When you’re the best, that’s what you do.”

Pointing to the fact Ford admitted he was drinking that night, Kimmel  questioned what the mayor meant when he said he was drinking a “little bit.”

“What’s a little bit to Rob Ford, a pony keg?” he asked. “He’s back folks, he’s back for an all new season of Super Mayor.”

He ended his Ford jokes with a shot at another Canadian celebrity.

“Thank you Canada, this almost makes up for Justin Bieber,” Kimmel said.

The legend of Mayor Rob Ford goes to Mardi Gras

- March 1st, 2014

Mayor Rob Ford – who denies he’s an international celebrity – appears to have been the theme of at least one Mardi Gras float in New Orleans on Friday night.

The float, not surprisingly, focused on Ford’s crack-smoking behaviour which first made headlines last year.

This has to be the first time a Toronto mayor has been featured on a Mardi Gras float (although it is hardly something to celebrate). 

You’ll note that the crack scandal led to Ford being asked not to take part in Toronto’s Santa Claus parade but it is the only reason he managed to make it into a Mardi Gras parade – at least in spirit – in New Orleans.

 

David Soknacki brags about his lack of notoriety

- February 28th, 2014

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Mayoral candidate David Soknacki is proudly touting his lack of name recognition as a reason to vote for him.

Soknacki – who is a former budget chief and city councillor – is running to replace Mayor Rob Ford this year but, unlike the mayor, he hasn’t smoked crack cocaine so he’s not an international celebrity (NOTE: Mayor Ford denies he’s an international celebrity).

On Thursday, the Soknacki campaign released an ad on Twitter to mock his lack of global fame and draw attention at the same time to how the mayor’s antics have made him a frequent topic of late-night comics:

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Hours later after the mayor lashed out at Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair (story here), the Soknacki campaign released this ad:

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Pretty slick moves for a candidate at the back of the frontrunner pack.

Mayor Rob Ford … Denver Broncos fan

- January 27th, 2014

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Mayor Rob Ford came out Monday sporting a Denver Broncos jersey ahead of this weekend’s Super Bowl.

Ford showed up to City Hall wearing an Orlando Franklin jersey. Not surprisingly – if you know Ford – he kept it on for a press conference decrying the 2014 budget on Monday afternoon.

The mayor – a hardcore football fan – has made no secret about the fact he’s rooting for the Broncos this year (story here) and that he’s a fan of Franklin who grew up in Toronto.

The Broncos declined to comment Monday on Ford’s apparent support but Franklin did take to Twitter to thank the mayor for his support.

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Here’s how others on Twitter reacted to Ford’s Broncos jersey:

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly hires Mayor Rob Ford’s old spokesman

- January 24th, 2014

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Isaac Ransom is back in the City Hall fish bowl but now he’s working for Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.

Ransom worked in communications for Mayor Rob Ford until the crack scandal broke last year. He resigned on May 27 with press secretary George Christopoulos.

When police documents came out featuring details provided by Ransom, Ford publicly promised to sue him, Christopoulos and former chief of staff Mark Towhey. He has never followed through on that lawsuit.

Ransom will be working as Kelly’s Director of Communications and Media Relations. He starts on Jan. 29.

“I am pleased to welcome Isaac to my office and my team,” Kelly said in a statement sent out late Friday. “Isaac brings a wealth of knowledge in communication practices and media experience from his time at City Hall.”

It should be interesting to see how Ransom interacts with the Fords here at City Hall.

Here’s an e-mail he sent about Councillor Doug Ford during his tenure in the mayor’s office that came out this week due to a freedom of information request:

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Here’s Ransom’s letter to the City Hall press gallery today: 

 

January 24, 2014

Dear Members of the Toronto Press Gallery:

 

It is with reservation and some sadness that I have made the difficult decision to leave the Office of Councillor Peter Leon.  I have made this decision with a heavy heart and I will always cherish my time in his office.  However, there is comfort knowing that my support and advice will still be readily available to Councillor Leon through my new role as Director of Communications and Media Relations to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.

 

Over the past three months, Councillor Leon has had great faith in my abilities to help set up a new office and lead his staff.  I would like to thank Councillor Leon for his confidence and the opportunity to serve his office.

 

Councillor Leon has and continues to thoroughly impress with his commitment to public service and the people of Ward 3.  Councillor Leon’s tireless work ethic and willingness to transcend party lines to make good decisions for all Torontonians is truly refreshing at City Hall.

 

As of January 29, 2014, I will begin my new role in a full time capacity.  I look forward to the opportunity to serve the Office of the Deputy Mayor.  Mr. Brian Johnson, will assume the role of Executive Assistant to Councillor Peter Leon upon my departure.

 

In the coming weeks and months I look forward to working with each of you.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Isaac Ransom

Mayor Rob Ford’s new slogan?

- January 23rd, 2014

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A new poster showed up in Mayor Rob Ford’s reception area on Thursday.

It isn’t clear whether the poster is Ford’s new mantra, a message to his staff or inspiration for the fish in the aquarium.

Now if there is anyone that knows about carrying on, it would be Ford – although he’d probably find it easier to “carry on” if he practiced the “keep calm” part a bit more often.