Can the king of Toronto reclaim his throne during re-election?
When Rob Ford enters a room, it stays entered. The 44-year-old mayor of Toronto is built like an apple—round, shiny and red—that is, if said apple had a thinning head of blonde hair, weighed roughly 300 pounds and was prone to leaking sweat and profanity in seemingly endless streams. It’s been an interesting year for the mayor, whose first term has been marked by more scandals than Scandal, more crack references than New Jack City and more patois than The Harder They Come.
While not charged with any crimes, he was stripped of many of his powers by the Toronto city council, and even saw members of his own staff re-assigned to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly. However, none of this has stopped him from seeking re-election in October, and if anything, it all seems to have made him more sure of himself. Predictably, Ford has a posse, one that includes his older brother Doug as well as several noticeably (and understandably) nervous assistants.
After profanely—but good naturedly—bemoaning the lack of Canadian beer in the studio, he pours himself a Red Stripe and takes a seat. Good to go.
Interview by Russ Bengtson (@russbengtson)
Mr. Mayor, thanks for sitting down with us. If you don’t mind, let’s get right into it—and just to let you know up front, some of these questions might be a little difficult.
That’s not a problem at all. I mean, what haven’t I been asked at this point? Trust me, all I want to do is continue doing the best job I can for the taxpayers of Toronto. That’s it. Besides, I read the latest issue of your magazine while driving over here. Nothing you ask could possibly offend me.
Wait, you read the magazine while driving?
Sure, do it all the time. Hey, I keep one eye on the road. Most of the time anyway.
Great. So look, even if you haven’t been formally charged with anything, shouldn’t the overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence of your, let’s say, recreational activities, preclude you from seeking a second term?
"Recreational activities." Haha, I should have used that one. Look, haters are gonna hate. And we’ve all made mistakes. I’ve apologized, haven’t I? Many times. But you people persist on bringing up old stuff. What comforts me is that they persecuted Jesus, too.
But there’s nothing in the Bible about Jesus smoking crack.
There isn’t anything about him NOT smoking crack either, is there?
Just because he’s the Son of God, he can’t make a mistake while in a drunken stupor? Everyone’s done it. Bet you He did and they just left that part out. Or maybe it was mistranslated. I mean, please. The guy turned water into wine, which, incidentally, is a talent I wish I had. Or at least the ability to turn regular fries into poutine...
Fine, I don’t think either of us is terribly conversant in Aramaic anyway, so…
[under breath] Speak for yourself, Môre.
...why are you seeking re-election, knowing that this “old stuff” will constantly come up?
That’s a great question. Because I only care about the taxpayers of Toronto. I was elected to do a job, and I’ve done it. I’ve saved the taxpayers a billion dollars in three years. A. BILLION. DOLLARS. [Spills beer.] Crap. Doug, pass me another Red Stripe? That part won’t be in there, right?
Rob Ford just happens to love Biggie, and Rob Ford thinks Biggie’s lyrics serve as tremendously useful guidelines for contemporary society. —Rob Ford
Oh, of course not.
Where was I? Oh, a billion dollars. I’ve done nothing but save money for the taxpayers of Toronto. And if I happen to get a little hammered every once in a while, and maybe—allegedly—smoke some crack, what of it? It’s a high-pressure job, I can’t blow off some steam?
Well, not literally.
Fucking wise ass, raas claat. So it go. I’m a right-wing fiscal conservative and a social liberal. Am I a little too socially liberal for some people? Then that’s the cross I have to bear.
Are you an alcoholic? A drug addict?
No. Not at all. Alcoholics go to meetings. [Laughs.] Do I drink too much sometimes? Does a moose shit in the woods? Was I arrested for DUI in 1999? Yes. Have I been drunk in public many times in the 15 years since? Sure. Have I done regrettable things while drunk? Assuming those videos I’ve seen on YouTube are actually of me and not old Chris Farley SNL skits, apparently so. But that doesn’t make me an alcoholic. Because the first step is admitting it, and I’ll never admit it.
Would you consider rehab?
For what? I just told you I’m not an addict. Look, we all make mistakes and we all move on. I have, why can’t anyone else seem to? I’m cutting back. This is my first beer today. [From the background: "Third, Mr. Mayor."] Who said that? Bernie, did you say that. You’re fired. Where was I? Right, third beer. Am I not allowed to enjoy the same things my constituents do? This senseless persecution has to stop.
So assuming you do win re-election in October, what’s the first thing you’ll do in your second term?
Well, the first thing I’d do is have the 10 Commandments posted in city hall, as a reminder of what we should all be working towards. Sometimes the oldest laws are the best and the taxpayers deserve the best government possible. I plan to continue giving it to them.
Isn’t that a conflict between church and state?
First off, that’s not really a thing in Canada. Do your research. And besides, I was talking about Biggie’s 10 Crack Commandments—and before you even bring it up, don’t try and give me the whole “oh, Rob Ford’s a crack addict because he’s citing ‘The 10 Crack Commandments’.” Pure coincidence. Rob Ford just happens to love Biggie, and Rob Ford thinks Biggie’s lyrics serve as tremendously useful guidelines for contemporary society. Like “that goddamn credit? Forget it!” isn’t a sound governing principle. Biggie would have made an amazing leader had he lived, bless his soul. I keep Life After Death right next to The Art of War, The Prince, and Being and Time.
Sure. I can see that. But what about “Keep your family and business completely separated. Money and blood don’t mix like—”
You don’t have to cite the whole verse to me. I know my Biggie, bomba claat. Come on, Doug, let’s get out of here—this interview is over. Take my beer and give me the keys.