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Toronto’s Ford seeks another term

Mayor defends legislative record, may win if police don't charge him

AP

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has put his name on the ballot to run for another term, defying repeated calls for him to step down after admitting he smoked crack “in a drunken stupor.”

Ford was the first candidate to show up at City Hall when registration opened Thursday for the city’s municipal election Oct. 27.

He promised “Ford more years” and called himself “the best mayor this city has ever had.”

“If you want to get personal, that’s fine,” Ford told reporters during a press scrum. “I’m sticking to my record, and talk is cheap. You’re going to see action like you’ve never seen before.”

He was more restrained on Twitter, tweeting a photo of himself signing up to run again and saying simply, “Just filed my paperwork for the 2014 election. Vote on October 27th.”

The conservative mayor of Canada’s largest city has said he would run again, even after the revelations last year about his drug use pushed him into the international media spotlight.

Ford has faced intense pressure to resign over that and other erratic behavior that has embarrassed many Canadians.

The Toronto City Council has stripped Ford of most of his powers, but he continues to receive support from some in the city’s more conservative suburbs. He first won as mayor by promising to “stop the gravy train” of government spending.

Reactions were swift but mixed Thursday after Ford signed up to run again.

“That pathetic excuse for a mayor should get the hell out and stop embarrassing this beautiful city,” said Toronto resident Inna Evtoushenko, 36.

Derek Killins disagreed. “Other than embarrass the hell out of himself and the city as a public figure, has he done anything pertaining to his job that was detrimental to the city’s well-being from a financial or economical standpoint?” the resident of neighboring Waterloo said. “Most people I ask say that he’s done a good job for the city otherwise.”

Ford admitted his drug use after Toronto police announced in October that they had obtained a copy of a video of him appearing to smoke from a crack pipe. News reports of the video first emerged in May, but Ford at first denied its existence.

Court documents released last month detail police wiretaps of alleged gang members who spoke about delivering drugs to the mayor and having pictures of him using drugs.

The wiretaps are evidence in the case against Ford’s friend, Alexander Lisi, who faces trial on drug and extortion charges. The mayor has not been charged.

“It’s too early to tell about Ford’s chances,” said University of Toronto political science professor Nelson Wiseman of the upcoming election. “Ford’s more immediate challenge is whether the police charge him before the election. If they do, he’s toast. If they don’t, the outcome depends on the vote split. I do not believe Ford will win more than about 25 percent of the vote, whoever his opponents are. It is possible, however, to win with under 30 percent, depending on the vote split.”

The Toronto police investigation remains active. “There are still some matters that are being investigated and pursued,” Police Chief Bill Blair told The Globe and Mail newspaper last week.

Other possible candidates include Olivia Chow, a Parliament member and ex-city councilor who is popular in liberal downtown Toronto, and John Tory, a political activist and popular radio host who was runner-up in the 2003 election for mayor.

  • Me Piper

    “Toronto’s Ford seeks another term” (January 4) seems a fair report of the embattled Mayor with the ignoble image. The recent accumulation of negative news about Rob Ford is fuel for mockery, but I don’t think the man should be mocked. In America a city mayor with an image problem as bad as Mr. Ford’s would be forced to resign as both unelectable and detrimental to his party’s election bid. I think the fact that many in the Canadian media and even on Toronto City Council are saying just that is a measure of how Americanized Canada has become. But Canadian politics work differently than American politics, so those problems carry less weight in the Great White North. The Mayor has gotten so much attention as the butt of jokes on American late-night comedy shows that I wonder if American viewers even realize that Toronto is in another country.

    I am not a fan of Mr. Ford but I tend to view the media portrayal of and attack on him as more an attempt to execute a media coup of a duly elected politician than the balanced conduct of a public information business. Maybe I’m wrong but I’m enough of an old fuddy-duddy to draw a strict line between public life and private life.

    It’s true that Rob Ford is neither photogenic nor an eloquent speaker. He
    certainly has used drugs in the past and he has appeared in public both drunk and belligerent. He has not been convicted or even charged with any crime, however. There are extreme opinions both for and against him, but his over all popularity among Torontonians remains high enough for his re-election to appear possible. I have relatives in Toronto who write to me complainingly of the Mayor’s antics, but still appreciative of his policies. His metro transit policies, city budget policies, and labor relations policies are both successful and appreciated there, and that could do the trick for him come election time.