The good ship Ford has hit a shoal. Yesterday, Toronto's controversial Mayor was found guilty of contravening the municipal Conflict of Interest Act, and a Superior Court Justice ordered him removed from office, because he spoke to and voted on a council motion that would have had him repay $3,150 in improperly solicited donations from lobbyists for his football charity. However, this case was just one example in a long line of head-scratching incidents that have transpired in Rob Ford's political and personal life.
Ford's belligerent style of anti-governance has finally caught up with him. Something had to give, and this relatively small (compared to some of his other outrages) misstep was the proverbial last straw. Our drunken, illegally driving, bird-flipping, shouting, swearing, public service abusing, libelous, fight-prone mayor makes Mel Lastman look good. Here follows a list of controversies he and (at times) his brother have found themselves at the centre of:
Prior to Ford's first election to City Council, he was pulled over for a DUI in Florida. He initially denied the charge when it came to light during the 2010 Mayoral campaign.
In 2002, long before he became the Mayor's whip, Councillor Mammoliti alleged that then-councillor Ford called him a “gino boy.”
In a council session, Ford complained about a line item in a community grant to help fund Toronto Pride, because it explicitly included transgendered and transsexual people. The mayor said: “Number one, I don't understand a transgender. I don't understand. Is it a guy that dresses up like a girl or a girl that dresses up as a guy? And we're funding this?.... We're funding this for, what does it say here, we're giving them $3,210."
Ford suggested in a council session that only gay men and IV drug users contract HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. When challenged on the facts, the Mayor said: “How are women getting it? Maybe they are sleeping with bi-sexual men.”
At a hockey game in 2006, Ford was ejected after shouting a string of offensive remarks at other fans, and then denied even being present when the incident was reported in the press. Among his comments were “Are you a fucking teacher? Do you want your little wife to go over to Iran and get raped and shot?”
In 2007, he told cyclists it was “their own fault” if they were killed in collisions with cars and trucks.
Ford made comments in a 2008 council meeting about 'orientals' who were going to 'take over' because they “worked like dogs;” he later apologized and said he had meant to laud good work ethics.
After being elected Mayor, Ford refused to distribute official correspondence to the city's largest newspaper, due to a long running dispute over a story about his behaviour on the field while coaching football.
He has skipped multiple council and executive committee meetings in order to coach football. When confronted about it, the mayor remained unrepentant.
Last year, Ford famously gave the finger to a woman and her 6 year old daughter, after they confronted him for driving while on his cellphone.
Ford outsourced the printing of City business cards for himself and his staff to his family's company, billing four times the usual rate it costs the City to do it in house.
After the a crew with political satire show This Hour Has 22 Minutes showed up at Rob Ford's house to film a scene with the Mayor, he called 911 twice for assistance. During the second call, the Mayor reportedly swore at the dispatchers: “You...b-tches! Don't you f-cking know? I'm Rob f-cking Ford, the Mayor of this city!”
Toronto Police have visited Rob Ford's house on numerous other occasions in response to 911 calls. Hours after the CBC incident, they were called again for a domestic dispute in which the Mayor had reportedly been drinking. Ford had also been charged in 2008 with assault and uttering threats against his wife after a similar 911 call; the charges were later withdrawn.
A Toronto Star reporter who was on public land (which the mayor planned to purchase) near Rob Ford's house was forced to flee after the Mayor charged at him with his fist raised, verbally threatened him and stole his cellphone.
Ford's brother Doug, who thought that Toronto needs more donut shops and less libraries, told Canadian literary legend Margaret Atwood that she should shut up about cuts to libraries, because she isn't an elected official. The councillor also said he had no idea who she was.
After the Ford brothers' transit plans were defeated earlier this year, Doug also jeered at his colleagues on city council, calling the government body a “hokey-pokey, mom-and-pop shop” and a “nanny state.”
Ford was photographed reading while driving along a Toronto highway. Asked later about the incident, the mayor admitted he 'probably' had done it. He subsequently refused repeated public urging from his brother, mayors of other cities and the Toronto Police to hire a driver.
In September, Rob and Doug took to their Newstalk1010 radio show to deride the media (including Newstalk1010). Among other comments, the Ford brothers referred to the media as “a bunch of little sucky little kids” who “whine and cry and moan”.
Following a mass shooting at a party on Danzig Street in Scarborough, the Mayor said he wanted the federal government to use immigration laws to banish Toronto residents convicted of gun crimes.
Ford directed city staff to perform thousands of dollars in repairs to roadwork and a culvert near his family business (Deco Labels and Tags), in time for it's 50th anniversary party.
Ford, who has often lashed out against inappropriate use of city resources by politicians, called the TTC operations chief to ask why a 'shelter bus' had not arrived to pick up his team after a game in which police were called to quell an altercation on the field. The TTC official then called the operations centre, resulting in a second bus being diverted from its route to Ford's team. Passengers on the bus, which ran along one of the city's busiest routes, were forced off and made to stand in the rain.
Strangely, although Ford claims he will fight 'tooth and nail' to keep his position, documents obtained by Freedom of Information legislation have shown that he is largely an absentee mayor. In fact, not only has he repeatedly skipped work at City Hall for football, he has also directly used the city's staff time and resources to coach football.