A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘rob ford

[URBAN NOTE] “‘Toronto needs Doug Ford’ …”

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The National Post‘s Natalie Alcoba reports on Rob Ford’s recorded statement of support for Doug Ford’s mayoral bid.

Hours before he begins his chemotherapy, Mayor Rob Ford released a recorded statement in which he vowed to beat cancer and urged his brother Doug Ford to jump into the mayoral race, “wholeheartedly, right now.”

It’s the first time the city has heard from the mayor since he was hospitalized with a tumour last week which has since been diagnosed as a rare form of cancer called liposarcoma. Mayor Ford withdrew from the mayoral race last week and Doug Ford put his name forward, but the councillor has been at the hospital with his brother, not on the campaign trail.

[. . .]

“Last week I asked my brother to carry the torch and continue the work we started together,” the mayor said, sounding drained and with a raspy voice.

“Toronto needs Doug Ford as Mayor. There’s so much at stake in this election. The city’s future and the issues facing Toronto can’t wait. So, I’m encouraging my brother to jump into this race, wholeheartedly, right now.” He went on to tout his brother as a caring man with a “vision” and said he deserves credit, too, for the last four years.

“I could not have accomplished what we did without him,” said Mayor Ford.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 18, 2014 at 7:52 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • blogTO shares photos of the Eaton Centre immediately after its opening in the 1970s.
  • Crooked Timber’s Chris Bertram comes out in favour of a federal United Kingdom.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that Australia is set to buy ten submarines from Japan.
  • Eastern Approaches picks up on the travails of the Crimean Tatars.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes how Slovakia is a bad model for Scotland, not least because a large majority of Czechoslovaks wanted the country to survive.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a study that has a frankly optimistic projection for Iraq’s Christian community over the next half-century or so.
  • Spacing Toronto’s John Lorinc describes Rob Ford’s trajectory as a Greek tragedy. I’m inclined to agree.
  • Torontoist and blogTO share reports of how Torontonians and others react to Rob Ford’s cancer diagnosis.
  • Towleroad notes European Union pressure on Serbia to improve its gay rights record.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the issues of Crimean Tatars as well and suggests that the Russian government maintains bad population statistics.

[URBAN NOTE] “Rob Ford diagnosed with ‘rare,’ ‘aggressive’ cancer”

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From Canada.com:

Doctors have determined the tumour in Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s abdomen is cancerous and the mayor will now undergo chemotherapy.

The official diagnosis is liposarcoma, a maligant tumour that arises in soft tissue, said Mount Sinai’s Dr. Zane Cohen. The “very difficult tumour” is large in size at 12 centimetres long and wide. Another smaller tumour — about two centimetres— was found in the mayor’s buttocks, behind his left hip.

Dr. Cohen said it’s also a rare case, comprising only one per cent of all cancers.

“We think it’s a fairly aggressive tumor. These types of tumors are often slow growing. To get to the size that it is now is often several years,” said Dr. Cohen. He could not specify what stage the cancer is in.

Dr. Cohen said after speaking with 45-year-old Ford and his family, the decision has been made to go ahead with chemotherapy, starting with three days of in-patient treatment followed by 18 days of “washout” before repeating. He could not rule out the future possibility of radiation treatment or surgery. The initial round of chemotherapy will begin within the next 48 hours and doctors plan to reassess in 40 days time.

Liposarcoma is apparently a treatable cancer with a high survival rate, but the medical experts consulted on CBC were surprised that Cohen didn’t engage in surgery first. This, to them, suggested that the cancer had spread substantially.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 17, 2014 at 10:37 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Don’t count out Doug Ford just yet”

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Spacing Toronto’s John Lorinc makes the point that Doug Ford still might win.

In many ways, Tory is trying to rebuild the Lastman coalition, which has as its core centre-of-the-road midtown and suburban homeowners — some on the right-wing of the Liberal spectrum, and some of the centre-left end of the Tory universe. He also had, and was clearly courting, that subset of red-meat conservatives who agreed with Ford’s program but got tired of his antics, probably because they were getting in the way of delivering on his aforementioned program. Lastly, Tory’s camp almost certainly includes some moderately left-of-centre voters who would normally be members of Chow Nation but have opted to cast their ballots strategically so as to ensure that Rob was gone, once and for all.

That coalition, I’m guessing, is a whole lot less cohesive today than it was last week, and here’s why:

For the red meat conservatives who drifted into Toryland, Doug, surely, is the real deal. While he’ll shoot his mouth off and say impolitic things, he’s not going to run into the bushes and drink vodka, nor is he going to show up on pirated cell phone videos with a crack pipe in hand (if such videos existed, they’d have been in circulation by now). In other words, he’s Rob without the blushing, whereas Tory continues to radiate that kind of wishy-washiness one can contract by hanging around Liberals for too long.

Now, for the Tory supporters who are nose-holding progressives (you know who you are), Chow in the past week or so appears to have started to find her voice and show some passion. Moreover, she’s launched a compelling attack on Tory’s Smart Track scheme, and in fact scored big last week when she vividly demonstrated that his preferred route would pass directly through some building parcels on the former Richview expressway right-of-way on Eglinton Ave. In an election where transit is the dominant policy issue, Chow’s critique seems increasingly credible vis-a-vis Tory’s plan and its questionable financing premises, and that fact alone may be changing some minds.

In other words, Tory’s support could begin bleeding both right and left, creating — at least in the interim — a far closer, and tenser, race than we’ve witnessed to date. Whether Chow can turn her slide around remains to be seen. But what does appear likely is that Tory’s double-digit lead may begin to shrink.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 16, 2014 at 7:41 pm

[FORUM] How much sympathy do you feel for Rob Ford et al?

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By this point, almost everyone reading this blog will have been apprised of the news that Toronto mayor Rob Ford has been hospitalized for a large abdominal tumour. Given his father’s death from colon cancer, and Ford’s own history of hospitalizations, the news is not good.

How do you feel about this? Do you feel much sympathy for the man? He is a human being suffering what might well be a terminal illness (ignoring steadily-growing pain for three months is a bad idea), a husband and a father and a man loved by many in his community. He is also, as is abundantly documented, a frequently crude and multi-faceted bigot who has brought shame to Toronto with his numerous ill-judged behaviours.

What do you think of it all?

Written by Randy McDonald

September 14, 2014 at 3:59 am

[URBAN NOTE] Five links on the Doug Ford candidacy for mayor of Toronto

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As reported by Global News’ Anthony Robart, a Doug Ford candidacy might well be quite popular.

Doug Ford is starting off his late entry into Toronto’s mayoralty race in a strong second place, even surpassing previous support for his brother Rob Ford who quit his bid in the midst of a health crisis, a new poll suggests.

The poll from Forum Research Inc. conducted the day Rob Ford dropped out shows Doug Ford at 34 per cent with more than one third support, seven points behind front-runner John Tory who sits in the lead at 41 per cent. Third place contender Olivia Chow has 19 per cent support, the poll says.

On September 8, a similar poll put Rob Ford’s support at 28 per cent, compared to Tory’s 41 per cent.

The poll also says one-third of voters are part of “Ford Nation,” the titular title for Torontonians who support the family. Of those who approve of Rob Ford, 80 per cent support Doug, the polls says.

CBC considers the challenges for Doug as he tries to supplant Rob.

“In some ways, Doug Ford’s best hope and best positioning is that he’s like his brother in politics and personality, but without the scandal and without the unquestionably poor judgment of a man who hasn’t been in control of his life,” Daniel Tisch, president of the Toronto-based public relations firm Argyle Communications, told CBC News

“The challenge though, is that he really is not the same as Rob Ford. He hasn’t shown the same populist instincts, certainly. He certainly comes across as a bit of a pit bull in the way he communicates and I think that’s going to be a challenge.”

Before his brother dropped out of the race to deal with an abdominal tumour, Doug Ford had sworn off municipal politics, having no intention to run as a councillor in this year’s Toronto election. But now, with roughly six weeks left, Doug Ford is back in the ring, going for the top job against mayoral candidates John Tory and Olivia Chow.

In MacLean’s, Ivor Tossell argues that the brothers are not interchangeable.

There’s been plenty of suspicion that this is all the result of some kind of cunning switch, in which the Fords have found a pretext to swap Doug into Rob’s flagging campaign, and carry the family to victory. Given the Fords’ inclination to lie about their private lives over the last four years, you’d be excused for your suspicions. But this kind of scenario doesn’t stand much scrutiny. Never mind that giving someone a grave illness isn’t really a viable campaign trick. Doug Ford isn’t Rob Ford, and he’s almost certainly not going to win this election.

Related posts:

Rob Ford quits mayoral race

Ford statement: ‘I’ve asked Doug to finish what we started’

What we know about Doug Ford

To those who suspect that Rob Ford was swapped out by Team Ford, it’s hard to imagine that he would back off except in dire circumstances. There persists to this day a misconception that Doug was the brains of the operation. It was never true. Rob Ford is the mayor who refused to resign when he was caught smoking crack, or when caught smoking crack again. He has pushed through being thrown out office by a judge, police investigations, global ridicule, addiction and rehabilitation. Too much baggage, you might say. But part of Rob Ford’s enduring appeal is that he endures. For his loyal base, his baggage is what keeps him afloat.

That, and his bizarre set of superpowers. Rob Ford was a singularity, a politician unlike any other. However he broke the law, sullied his office or abused the public trust, he emerged looking like a victim, a nice guy who just wants to help who’s been put upon by sundry demons. He seemed to enjoy nothing better than talking to citizens one-on-one, even if that never proved to be a good way to run a city.

Doug, on the other hand, has none of these gifts. He spoke well on Friday night, and is a focused worker, but he possesses none of Rob’s natural buoyancy. The joy that Rob took in using public office to speak with people one-on-one – on walkabouts, in endless phone calls, door-knocking in housing projects – is nowhere to be seen. (On one community housing visit alongside Rob, Doug was busy handing out $20 bills.) His default emotional tenor is grievance; his single driving thought that government should be more like the private sector.

Unlike Rob, who usually controlled his temper in public, Doug has a tendency to go on the attack at the slightest provocation, spinning ad-libbed conspiracy theories about people out to get him, be it Kathleen Wynne or the Toronto Police. This has landed him in endless trouble, having picked losing battles with everybody from Margaret Atwood (remember that?) to Police Chief Bill Blair, repeatedly crippling his brother’s agenda. Doug Ford has spent the last four years waging a permanent war on everything, and losing. None of this bodes well for a high-profile campaign.

But the basic problem with Doug Ford’s candidacy is that it assumes that the Fords are a political party, when really they are a cult of personality. The Ford brand might have started with Rob and Doug’s father, but it reached its greatest heights on the strength of Rob’s compelling personality, with its strange brew of belligerence and pathos. His support might not be fully transferrable in the first place.

Spacing Toronto’s John Lorinc is appalled by the Ford family’s political strategies.

For voters across Toronto, as well as those living on the steppes of Ward 2, the apparent promise at the centre of the Ford family’s dramatic and arrogant switcheroo operation is the notion that any one of them is just like the others.

Doug Sr., Rob, Doug Jr., Michael — it doesn’t matter who holds office. What’s important is that the values they claim to espouse — small government, low taxes, private sector service delivery — are basically interchangeable. The given name is unimportant. The brand promise lies in that surname: Ford.

If the idea seems vaguely familiar, that’s because it’s the operating principle behind the fast food industry. What the chains have told consumers for decades is this: no matter where you are in the world, that Big Mac is going to taste the same.

I suspect the Fords, to the extent that they think about such things, probably do see themselves in this way, what with being business people who know they must deliver a highly standardized, manufactured product.

But the real and far more disturbing subtext behind yesterday’s remarkable maneuver is that this family — for all its populist, working-class posturing — evidently regards northern Etobicoke, and even the city itself, in feudal categories. The message in that three-way swap was this: their political authority is inherited, as opposed to earned, and their ancestral turf must be defended at all costs. The very definition of political elite-ness.

The National Post‘s Christie Blatchford compares the Ford dynasty to North Korea’s Kim dynasty.

[E]ven as Doug was being registered at the clerk’s office downtown, so was their nephew, Michael Ford, withdrawing as a candidate for the Ward 2 seat to make room for the mayor, and instead throwing his hat into the ring for school trustee in neighbouring Ward 1.

It was as though it was inconceivable that Toronto, like Pyongyang, should manage without a Ford for every citizen. As Kim Jong-un took over as Supreme Leader upon the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, the Eternal General, in 2011, who himself took over the reins of power from his old man, Kim Il-sung, the Great Leader, when he died in 1994, so were the Fords digging deep into their gene pool.

[. . .]

Who are these people, that faced with the serious illness of one of their own they rally, apparently within hours, to plot and plan and connive? How does that conversation go, I wonder – “Rotten break for you Rob, but now, what will we do about the Ford dynasty?”

And what the heck is this dynasty nonsense anyway? What Ford legacy?

The late Douglas B. Ford, the father of the old mayor and the wannabe new mayor, was a one-term backbench Tory MPP in the long-ago and controversial Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris. Mr. Ford, Sr., was not blessing Toronto with future leaders when he gave the world his three sons and a daughter; what he was doing, with Dear Mother of course, was having kids, period.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 14, 2014 at 2:15 am

[URBAN NOTE] On the foolishness of Rob Ford the day before, with Mike Tyson

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While I feel sorry to learn that Rob Ford has been diagnosed with a large abdominal tumour–his father’s fatal experience with colon cancer, and Ford’s own previous issues, must be weighing on him–the day before his hospitalization Ford was soliciting support from a convicted rapist, Mike Tyson.

Mike Tyson declared Rob Ford the “best mayor in Toronto history” on Tuesday at an unexpected meeting at city hall.

The mayor and former boxing champion spoke to reporters, after a brief closed-door meeting, about their shared experience with scandal, personal problems and the media. “We’re cut from the same cloth,” said Ford.

Tyson said Ford’s problems are no different from anyone else’s, except that he is in the media’s spotlight.

“He has a troubled past because he has 24-hour surveillance of the press,” said Tyson of Ford. “Do you prefer him to be a guy who’s clean-cut but behind the doors you never know what he’s doing?”

Tyson said he prefers to know what the mayor’s problems are, rather than have those problems hidden from the public eye.

[. . .]

Ford earlier said he “idolized” and “respected” Tyson.

Tyson later appeared on local television.

American boxing legend Mike Tyson cursed at CP24 reporter Nathan Downer during a live interview Wednesday afternoon after the reporter mentioned Tyson’s rape conviction.

When Downer asked the boxing star whether he thought his criminal record could damage the reputation of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, whom Tyson met with on Tuesday, the former undisputed heavyweight champion replied angrily.

Controversial former heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson is defending Rob Ford. Tyson met the mayor at Toronto City Hall Tuesday and said public figures deserve the same understanding for their troubles as anyone.

“It’s so interesting that you come across as a nice guy, but you’re really a piece of s—,” he said.

Tyson was convicted of rape in 1992 after an incident the year before in an Indianapolis hotel room with an 18-year-old winner of a scholarship pageant. He served three years in prison. In 1999 he was convicted of assault, and he pleaded guilty in 2007 to cocaine possession charges and driving under the influence.

He continued to curse at Downer as the interview drew to a close. Tyson has been working the media circuit in Toronto to promote his one-man show, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, which he is scheduled to perform at the Air Canada Centre Wednesday night.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 14, 2014 at 12:29 am

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