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article imageMeeting the Toronto mayoral candidates: Rob Ford Special

By Andrew Moran     Aug 31, 2010 in Politics
Toronto - Leading Toronto mayoral candidate Rob Ford spoke to this journalist on Tuesday where he explained that Torontonians trust him "to stop the wasteful spending and end the gravy train at City Hall."
Rob Ford, the son of former Member of Provincial Parliament, Doug Ford, is a 10-year Councilor serving Ward 2 in the northern Etobicoke area. Prior to his election bid in 2000, Ford ran a multi-million dollar family business that has expanded into places like Chicago and New Jersey.
Latest polls show that Ford is still ahead and leading the candidates: George Smitherman, Joe Pantalone, Sarah Thomson and Rocco Rossi trailing him. Prior to last week’s Toronto Star-Angus Reid poll, Ford was ahead of Smitherman by 12 points.
Ford spoke with Digital Journal about his political stance, why his message is resonating with so many Toronto residents and his economic viewpoints.
There is so much enthusiasm amongst Torontonians for your campaign, why do you think your message is resonating with the people of Toronto?
Toronto mayoral candidates (from left to right): Rob Ford  Joe Pantalone and Rocco Rossi.
Toronto mayoral candidates (from left to right): Rob Ford, Joe Pantalone and Rocco Rossi.
“They know I’m going to stop the wasteful spending. They know I’m going to stop the gravy train down at City Hall. They trust me, and they don’t trust Mr. Smitherman because of his billion dollar e-health scandal. They don’t trust Mr. Pantalone because you can’t have someone who stood beside the mayor and all of a sudden say they have found $100 million.”
“It just comes down to trust and people know I’m going to abolish the car registration tax, the land transfer tax, there won’t be $12,000 retirement parties, they aren’t going to be renting suits and French lessons, and all the other nonsense that is going on at City Hall. When I’m mayor, the party is over and the gravy train is going to come to an end and people know that and that’s why my message is resonating with the people.”
You have made allegations in the past that Toronto City Council is corrupt. What makes you say that? Is there any specific example you can provide?
“I would love to tell you but it’s all on camera. All of the information and all of the deals, for example the Beaches deal, the 20-year deal with Tugs behind closed doors. I wish I could tell you. I wish David Miller would release the documents and make it squeaky clean to release the documents and show everybody but the deals that I call corrupt, or scandalous, or other terminology you’d use, but they happened behind closed doors and it’s problematic. I would love to deal with this to tell you and when I become mayor, I will release the documents to show people to let them decide.”
The economy seems to remain stagnant and local economies can vary within a nation. In your opinion, which level of government do you believe can have more control or influence in a local economy? Or should there even be central economic planning?
“Well all three levels of government have an impact on the economy. Obviously, the federal government can have the most amount of impact because they’re dealing with the most amount of money. But when you’re dealing with local, you’re dealing with local development, and I think it’s crucial that local development is transparent and held accountable to the taxpayers because a 30-storey office building, or a residential building going into someone’s backyard, is going to have an impact on the community, whether it’s negative or positive and it will force people to have a say on it, and the federal government and the provincial government doesn’t have anything to do with that but municipal government does. I think it’s crucial that people understand how elections work.”
“At a municipal level, when I go door knocking, believe it or not, people don’t understand they get three votes: one for mayor, one for council and one for school trustee. The first question I get asked is: What party do you belong to? Well, there are no parties at a municipal level. I think we have to educate people as to how a municipal government works. Then I’m sure, there will be more involved but a municipal government has more of an impact on your lives than the federal government ever will.”
Mayoral candidates (left to right): Rocco Achampong  Rob Ford  Joe Pantalone  Rocco Rossi and George...
Mayoral candidates (left to right): Rocco Achampong, Rob Ford, Joe Pantalone, Rocco Rossi and George Smitherman, speaking at the Heritage Toronto debate.
When it comes to your political stance, is there any way you can define yourself? Are you a conservative? A liberal? A libertarian?
“I call myself a Red Tory. I’m between a liberal and a conservative. I’m a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. Some people say you’re between a liberal and a conservative; I’m not far-right conservative and I’m not far-left liberal. I’m a right-wing liberal or a left-wing conservative. However you want to define that. I call it a Red Tory.”
Mr. Rocco Achampong recently called you “callous” and your positions are nothing but “vacuous polemics,” what is your response to that?
“It’s not even worth responding to. I have no response. I’m not worried about what other candidates say. I just care about one person: the taxpayer. They’re listening to my message, they’re responding to my message and that’s why I’m doing so well in the race right now. I don’t care what other candidates say about my campaign. It's irrelevant."
In your opinion, who has been the best Mayor of Toronto and why?
"Mel Lastman because he created a lot of jobs, he was vibrant and he was a businessman.”
The next time you can see Ford is at the Carol Cook’s BBQ Fundraiser on Sunday in Scarborough at Warden Avenue and Lawrence Avenue East.
Digital Journal is continuing its series of speaking with mayoral candidates. On Thursday, Digital Journal speaks with Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone.
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