Audioburst Search

What can we learn from the life and legacy of Rob Ford?

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Hi this is analysts Nielsen. And I'm the digital editor of the big story but over the last last year I've been working with the team. Every Quincy podcast network to produce another podcast a serialized eight part documentary. The gravy train looks at the life and legacy of Toronto's infamous Mayor Rob Ford. We talk about his political style. The scandal caught the world's attention and the influence he's had on politics today. You can binge all eight episodes of the gravy train now. Wherever you get your podcasts and as a bonus for you today we're going to be playing an episode from the series big story listeners will recognize Jordan's voice in the gravy train as well which brings me to the reason why I'm here today before we get to the special preview of the gravy train Jordan and I sat sat down for a few minutes so I could ask him some questions about the podcast into boat Rob Ford for the record? I have not prepared for this interview nor have I been interviewed about this. So ask away okay. You were working as a journalist. I at the time when Rob Ford was mayor and all of this Stuff was happening. Can you share. Can you describe what it was like to be working in in the media at that time so I wasn't at City Hall. I was editing reporters who were covering it and every every few days basically starting after Ford's election people would all of a sudden stop what they were doing and start watching us some live feed of a press conference at the beginning it was just him making Rob Ford ask announcements about cutting things or the city's priorities are saving the tax payer money but by the end they were daily press conferences that were just nuts and someone that we talked to for this podcast described it as has the only press conferences. She's ever seen that would have a newsroom of journalists just gasp and like you said that and I was insane. Had you ever seen anything like that before and have you seen anything like it. Since I mean I think it must be very similar to cover the trump administration. Maybe so not so much. Now that it's been normalized um he sort of been around for a while but in the early days of his campaign and especially in the early days of his presidency he would just safe things or do things that nobody would see coming and everybody would spend spend the next three days reacting to the difference with Ford is that he would do it in person in front of the cameras live and trump kind of does does it by tweet which then kind of filters it through this whole social media prison. It's very different to know that everybody is watching the exact same thing as you. You right next to you standing next to you and also thinking like what the Hell did you have any idea. At the time that this would become a tactic that would be picked up by politicians around the world. The thing about this whole story is i. Don't think anybody involved in it knew that they were part of like a blueprint in being written or the first of what would become a pattern because at the time it felt so crazy and unique like nothing like that had ever happened before for. And so when you're in this this world where something that's never happened before is happening every few days you'd never stopped to think like. Oh it's it's GonNa be like this now. This is how we do business now. You think that like this is a one off circumstance because this guy is out of control and this guy is crazy and he has an addiction. Problem Mini can't help himself and he has magnetic charisma which is why the public adores him. And it's this whole confluence of circumstances that mean that nothing like this will ever perhaps again except it's obviously not that so no I didn't realize it all at the time. Anybody who says they did is lying. Probably okay last question. What would you want listeners? To take away from the series. Now it's been ten years since rob was first elected mayor and it's been six years since the height of the scandal. Why is it worth looking back on now? I mean aside from all the obvious like we live in a world of populist politician stuff that I tried to convey over the course for some podcast. I mean it's worth examining the cult of personality that existed around rob because you you can definitely talk about the forces that are out there pushing populism and people spreading racism and trying to divide people to keep them preoccupied. Well the rich people steal all our money and you can talk about the way. Politics is going but rob Ford himself was just one of the most unique personalities I've ever seen in any story I've been even remotely associated with and I think you can talk about the larger picture of populist politicians and the rise of these forces beyond our control that we all live with it and that's a valid reason to do this podcast now. That's part of the reason we did it but I think another part of the reason we did. It is because his brother. Doug became premier of Ontario and Robin. Doug were getting lumped together as you know the Ford Legacy in the Ford Brothers and rob was a far more unique character victor than Doug. Doug is actually a really simple character you can you can draw him. It doesn't take much indefinitely. Doesn't take eight forty five minute podcast episodes but there it was a lot to get at with Rob Ford including the way he had just magnetic appeal to a certain type of voter and there are lots of voters who support people. Because they're angry at their opponents or they're angry government and rob had those but he also had people who just loved him in a way that people who voted for Doug in June didn't vote for Doug because they loved him they voted for Doug because they were mad at Kathleen. Wynne and that's understandable but rob was rob was different than that and it was just fascinating to look back and see that everybody thought the same thing. There was nobody that we talked to who either I supported. Robert didn't support rob who thought Robb was a simple person. He was not as great. Thanks enjoy the PODCAST CAST party taxpayers. Money is over ladies. He's a gentleman. We will respect the taxpayers game. And Yes ladies and gentlemen we will stop the gravy train once and for our where did stop the gravy train shrink from came from a focus group because everyone gravy train was something they had in their mind so for one person it was like literally go down down there kick the shit out of the unions getting way too much for another person it was like I like the unions. But the counselors are spending too much money on coffees and cook these munches and baseball all gave tick her someone else gravy train was these tax increases that killing and so they stopped the gravy train. Man something different to so many more people and that's why a blue wide open. I've been to fifty in the polls and Rob Ford. The man the politician the brand. It also meant something different to so many people to most of the world for a few months. He was a punchline. The mayor was charged with being way too exciting for Canada. I shouldn't have gotten hammered. I've never said that in my life tour I would never do that. Got More than enough to get into a large chunk of Torontonians. He was an embarrassment. Yes I have some crack cocaine but no do I am. I know well when I tried it. probably in one of my drunken stupor to an almost identical chunk of the same in city. He was a working class hero. He was an underdog team from a tobacco. He was unpolished and unprofessional and totally unconcerned. About that I take my marching orders from the tax payers knowing they say jumped by say how high to those closest to him. He was a family man. Father a neighbour a football coach. He said I want you to remember. That are always love. You heart with owning my mother to believing leaving and we'll sit down for would be the one I could turn to. For most important. He was also an alcoholic and he was a drug addict. I don't even remember member after some of the stuff that you've seen me they'd have been in. That's a problem. And all of those things were as true during his meteoric rise as they were during the devastating spiral that brought him down to all of us back then he should have been an example that democracy was changing politics was going in a new direction and that the media was totally unprepared for what they were about to face. You Look at Donald Trump and I thought thought look at while he blazed the trail about down with the elites. I'm Jordan he throws your house on the gravy train Story of Rob Ford and his legacy. I remember the night that Rob Ford was elected mayor of Toronto. I'll never forget him. I was in a newsroom. I've always was. I worked in newspapers for fifteen years. I was in a lot of newsrooms and in newsrooms election nights are always the same. They go late eight. You get pizza. You take a nap in the afternoon and you're ready to go till midnight. That didn't happen. This election was shockingly quick less than half an hour after the polls closed rob was proclaimed. Maher he'd been leading heading into election day so it wasn't a total surprise but it felt shocking people in the newsroom gasped it was shocking because from the moment he announced his run for mayor even as he climbed the polls it was just kind of assumed that he couldn't have her actually win. By the time he was elected rob had spent a decade on city council. He'd made it very clear who he was and what he stood for and people who pay close attention to politics in Toronto assumed that a guy like that could never leave this city. They had nothing but disdain for him so they wrote him off and he won syndrome. Interesting is the mayor elect in Toronto. Pretty clear from the results. We have so far that he has won this race. I certainly didn't see the rob fourth thing coming did you. Should we have seen. We have known the story of Rob Ford and all the crazy easy stuff you might be familiar with. Doesn't start on election night in twenty ten and of course it doesn't end there but for our purposes. It's the moment that makes the the most sense. If you're trying to explain more than half a decade later what really mattered about this story because as insane as the story of Rob Ford Ford might seem at times over the course of this podcast. It's the stuff that is no longer insane. The stuff that no longer seems out of place and politics then it really matters. So how did a man like Rob Ford ended up on Toronto City Council in the first place it starts with a politician named Doug Holiday. A Counselor and a toabacco rob's hometown just next to Toronto and Doug Holiday was about to run for mayor and he he had a problem so he walked into the Ford family business just like he walked into our studio for I just I just. I've just got my glasses my phone and her little jacket. In case it rains the Ford family business was called Deco Geico labels and tags. It had been founded by ROB's Dad Doug senior in nineteen sixty two senior ran the business rob and his brother. Doug Ugh worked there and Doug Holiday asked them if they could make him something in. Nineteen ninety-four was running to become the mayor of the city of Togo and and a lot of Corporate last election signs Some of them To buy foursome to I two but they also Doug holiday counselor and I needed them to say a Doug Hawley Maher What I needed was a label to cover that up? As you get to know the Fort's you'll realize this is the perfect origin story for everything that comes afterwards. It's a combination of local connections family. Business deals and a small beginning. That quickly became a burning ambition. Doug Ford Junior did have have a solution to my problem. They could print a label. That did it. And actually he was able to print an third color he printed in red and white. My signs were blue and white so it made my signs quite quite a bit better and as a matter of fact that really looked sharp. It turned out that the fords ended up in politics because Doug holiday walked in with a problem at the right time from there. Doug Junior worked on Doug holidays campaign and Doug Senior went out and became a politician himself by the time the election was over and we won. The fords had bit the bug on politics. The first I heard that Doug Ford wanted to run provincially. There was a nomination going to occur and he typical center for the Conservatives and he was going contest that nomination and I assumed it was dug for junior going to do this turned out it was Doug Ford senior. That was I think the first taste of politics for the fords awards and And they quite liked guess senior did get himself elected and with that Rob Forty guests started paying more attention to politics and eh was probably still in his twenties but Anxious to try to himself rob was a young man and he was working at the family business and looking for something to do with his life after a brief stint at University Greg MacArthur is an investigative reporter and he's spent a lot of time digging into the Toko history of the fords and robs aimlessness was not unusual. There was a whole generation of kids who came of age in the late eighties and early nineties as in the Toronto suburbs who were just kind of aimless drifting around looking for a spark so you had this culture or this subculture where there was a ton of kids with a lot of money and there was not a lot of parental supervision. It was a time when I think parents were like less on their kids leads but where they were going what they were doing. And as a result there was a lot of drug dealing and a Lotta drug usage greg spent a year and a half tracing the Ford Ford Brothers youth through a Togo parking lots and plazas and all the really ugly stuff that he found will come into the story a little bit later but if you want a picture of a Young Rob Ford I picture a slightly slimmer and blonder and happier version of the red faced angry Ford. The world would come to know and if you're wondering what kinds of stories followed that young rob from Togo to city hall. Here's one there's this one story that I've heard from someone who was present. It was totally fitting with Rob Ford's political style Robert. The played football in high school at Scarlett Heights. Their chief rival was rich view. Collegiate and the parents of a rich view student happened to be having a big party for rich view. Kids only and their house and their house was not far from Robs and rob showed up to the party. Scarlett Heights. Football Jacket extremely intoxicated. It was somewhat exclusive was supposed to be just for rich few kids. And he hadn't been invited and he was being asked asked to leave. And then the father had to get involved in this shoving match and the and rob ended up shoving and fighting the father like down the street. That story really reminded me of his his unwillingness to relinquish control or power in any way and just kept pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing like to the point where an entire Party of people were fighting him. That was a very telling that stubbornness the refusal to accept a simple no is part of how Rob Ford ended up on City Council in Toronto. See after his father won a seat. Provincially ROB decided to run for Toronto Council in Nineteen ninety-seven and he lost pretty badly but three years later he moved one word North to avoid the counselor who had whipped him last time and with some help from his dad who oversaw oversaw the same area for the province and who held the family purse-strings the powered his campaign. He won on his second try and so rob went to City Hall in Toronto Down The highway and he walked in and he sat down next. To a whole bunch of newly elected left leaning city councillors including a man named Joma Havoc. And this is where Rob Ford began to find himself. And it's where our story really begins. Good Morning Joma Heck yes. Germany thrones earners from thank you thank you so much for taking the time and Joma havoc being joma havoc happily invited us over. Remember the first time you got to know him how to real conversation with him when he was actually a fairly quiet guy he kept his own. I do not remember as I would with many a new counselor us going for lunch alone. getting to know you kind of moments He kept to himself. It's actually hard to imagine not not being able to sit down and get to know Joma havoc. He is welcoming and gregarious even by these slightly fake standards of a local politician. He looks now and he looked then every bit the left wing. Counselor Stereo type. His half university professor half reformed Hippie. He's he's the type of guy who will offer you homegrown eggs from the chicken coop. He keeps in his backyard. Brash never had a fresh eggs so I'm looking forward to and If you do what was interesting is that the way he was privately or a alone was very different than when he was in front of a Mike in front of the MIC. There was a certain rob and he was Let's call them the ranting counselor. He would get up in it. A pretty well was a canned speech. What does that speech sound like We're wasting taxpayers money That leave people people alone. Get the government out of people's face these Virtually every city department is wasteful. Every so often rob Ford would record a video for youtube yet. His own channel and it was his preferred method of communication and these videos would prove Joe Point about the message at the heart of his brand so at the end of the Gulf passes that we get for free the free board trade membership the free exhibition price the Free Casa Loma Free Conservation. The three hundred pass the free packs the free parking pass you multiply that by forty five members of council. You're looking at MINIMA. Komo Minimum Minimum Savings Twenty to thirty million dollars tax payers money. This is what this is what I talk about of wasted money at City City Hall. This should be eliminated every single budget meeting. I tried to get rid of US may laugh man accounts chamber the infamous slogan would come a little later but the brand the built Rob Ford. That was there from the very beginning. Doug holiday the Guy who helped the Ford get into into politics was now also a counselor in Toronto and so he knew from back in a Toko what rob was all about holidays. Brand was as a penny pincher to just like rob up but he was not prepared for how far rob was about to take it when he got down there. One of the first things he did announce was he was going to follow my lead and he he was going going to try to do some of the things that we've done as mayor of Togoland as we were doing at the new city of Toronto Council I the lowest expenses and so in order to get the lowest expenses offenses to beat me. He simply paid for everything. Which I didn't think was the way to do it? And that will long ways to creating a brand and for him for the couple thousand dollars a year that it cost him to do that. That was something that he couldn't have paid. He couldn't have bought enough advertising ever accomplish what was accomplished because he spent that money. Here's how it works. City councillors have a budget. They can use for things to keep their offices running everything from meals neal's two pencils and paper to Bubblegum if they want to submit it but those expenses go on the public record and the city of Toronto began to publish them on its website right and so if you filed for zero expenses because you could afford to buy everything out of your own pocket you could then go through those records and take some pretty embarrassing numbers about your colleagues and point them out to reporters a rob used that quite well. He had his staff list some of these Expenditures here's of some of the counselors and some of the waste that was going on and some but made interesting reading and some of the papers of course would pick up on that and that again just heightened the brand. It wasn't as though those expenses didn't exist before rob got to city hall. It's just everyone used their expense budget and nobody weaponized it. It was in the budget to be used. Wasn't that it couldn't be done. It's just that nobody's done it before. And this became a hallmark of a council with Rob Ford Ford on it the First Time Matt Rob Ford I was with after I was elected in two thousand and three and it would have been on council and I actually think he sent me a note congratulating me on my victory that's Karen Stance and rob should have been on her team. She was a fiscal conservative. She we knocked off a longtime incumbent and she joined a group that was already forming right-leaning opposition to liberal mayor. David Miller Miller had made no secret of his plans to invest in expensive transit projects and thousands of new affordable housing units and he had given in notably to the a union after an infamous six week. Long strike by the garbage workers left the city streets losing with filth so Miller was an easy target. Get for a team of conservative councillors but the thing is rob hadn't been on a team since high school and he had no plans to join one at city. Bohol rob was not really part of the opposition. We had actually formed an opposition Called Responsible Government Group and rob didn't want to be part of it he was always a loan operator and so he would pick causes as opposed to opposing. David Miller recommending cuts PAT's to the watering of the plants or to Office budgets or to various small items. That made big headlines. He was the man that would find and the dollars that we were just not paying attention to and he's you know say my father would always tell me if you look after the dollars will take care of themselves and he was very much that person did he ever knew With those expenses well he did actually Aronie Asli he had added tallied up my Toxic expenses those and he posted on his website at the time that I took a I think it was a five hundred dollar taxi rod. On years in fact it hadn't taken a five taxi ride on years It was the sum total of all the taxes I'd taken in the year that they'd added up and put as a one taxi ride and why it was so frustrating to me was because I was actually actually in the hospital with my daughter because she had pneumonia new years so I knew for a fact. I didn't take a cab on new years so I did talk to his office. And they did Did Amend it. But they weren't interested in making friends of counselor colleagues. Rob Typically didn't spend his time at Budget meetings our committee meetings. He believed in direct customer service so he gave out his phone number to anyone to his constituents to other constituents institue he wanted them to call him and they did. I was brought up in a business. I was brought up My Dad's business and he said those us to rules and selling the first rule is the customer's always right. The second rule is read the first the customer's always right. Thank you sir you take care and and take that exact same approach to politics when they call me. There's no such thing as below busy arm this and that they're the boss. They deserve when citizens listens called and had a problem grabwood. Go see him. Instead of sitting in a meeting you would drive around and meet voters one on one and like I said not always his voters to this day. If you ask a Torontonian from anywhere in the city what they remember about Rob Ford data other than you know. This is the meth. They will conjure up and the one thing he did do as well as he would take calls from people all all across the city who were frustrated by the city and their counselor. So he it to be candid. There wasn't a lot going on in his community so he had time to be visiting the city in in an everyone else's community and often he would send a message to cancer offices arranging a meeting with their constituent and city staff off and then demanding that the counselor be present at his meeting that he called for a community concern in another area and it was very frustrating resting to be called to a meeting that he'd organized without any concern for whether I actually could fit that into my schedule and then left left the impression with a constituent that I didn't care. Tell me about that meeting. You clearly remember one of them. Oh it was about windows. And it was about a constituent who was complaining about her neighbors new home home that was built and her position was at the windows. Were not in Coordi- with the building code and this battle went on for years because the neighbors just didn't like each other I had got drawn into it until finally I can't do anymore because fundamentally you just don't like your neighbor and so. She called Robert The weird magic. Jack of Rob's common touch was that it didn't matter who else had told you it couldn't be done when Rob Ford came out. He would either convince you that he's the guy who could help. If you or that. Nothing really could be done and that was it. What was amazing to me actually? Was that even though I had gone out. Ah In my personal example. I had gone out with this woman probably three or four times and yet it was only rob could tell her that nothing else can be done and that was again to me. So somehow rob had built up this reputation as the guy who could fix it and yet if he couldn't fix that people believe that it really couldn't be fixed whereas if I said it can't be fixed and they would call the tell it like it is mentality but I later found out. Because when I was running running for reelection she had a giant Rob Ford sign on her lawn when he ran for mayor. The famous thing about rob is that someone would phoned him up and my pipe isn't leaking. Or some bureaucrat. Said no when I want to say yes and rob would fix it. mm-hmm that's Gord perks. He was and still is the counselor for a Western Toronto Ward. He's a tireless advocate for city services and the environment moment in fact that the first time he set foot in City Hall it was not as a counselor but as an environmental activist as you may imagine from that introduction. He was ideologically opposed to rob from the moment. The two Matt but he sat near him and counsel and he has an insider's view of the meth. I just described. No what rob would do is say you are right The system is broken. You should have got better service than that your perception that government is. Your enemy is absolutely correct. I will go fix it and then this is something that only those of us who were here in the building no He would do absolutely nothing to fix it nothing. His success came from telling people they were right not in in delivering fixes to their problems. He was profoundly lazy In terms of understanding how the the city of Toronto worked to counselors like perks who consider themselves progressive it wasn't just robs misunderstanding of government. That bothered then. There was another side to rob that was unavoidable. He made it very plain. Anyone who listening with even half an ear open that he was deeply racist sexist and homophobic from the first day. He arrived at City Hall. Whether you I wanted to call them racist and sexist and homophobic or not robs public comments were frequently offensive and inflammatory and his words and the condemnation that followed became the story early in his first term for example. Rob had called attention to to a large expense submission of an Italian counselor named Giorgio. Ma'am Aliti in Mamelodi alleged that he went much further than that A calling me. A Gino boy is is totally inappropriate. And it's yet another racist comments towards Italians in and of course he came on and he starts smirking at me so I said you should do the same as counts choice. That shut up Dune language. The language they use is racist. And I'M NOT GONNA put up with. I'm I am not a racist and I and I would like to Apologize A. I'm not a racist. I did not say that beyond the slurs or not slurs which were bad enough off. Raab's remarks were often profoundly ignorant. The Way Perks suggested especially for counselor in a city like Toronto even fifteen years years ago. Toronto was one of the most diversities in the world and it had perhaps the largest openly gay community outside of San Francisco and yet and somehow it's very preventable. If you're not doing needles in you're not gay you will get aids. Probably that's the bottom line so that is one example apple here comes another one and just know that there are a lot of these and I could make this episode half an hour longer if I wanted to those lorient people work like dogs. They worked their hearts out. They are workers nonstop. These sleep beside machines. That's why they're successful in life and instead of owning up to it because part of rob was not was being unwilling to own up anything he you know brought stuff that he thought was evidence about. How is really ugly racist slurs were in fact just an ordinary guy stating the facts? No time that I ever offend the Asian community giving them a compliment. Those were all comments that rob made publicly but perks. Who worked on council with him and sat close to him at City Hall describes CBS? Private interactions. Being like that too is sexism was was present in all of his interactions with women And the way he spoke to men about Women House He would diminish objectify them to his colleagues to his colleagues colleagues to to basically any time that He thought he could get away with it. Here's Karen Karen stints again. Later on in Rob Story. She'll become the subject of one of his sex diatribes but we'll get to that story later later for now just know that she didn't really understand him. The thing the thing about rob I never knew if it was conscious or subconscious. I I I didn't know if he was playing a roller that's just. He was the man of the people is the persona rob adopted whenever he was accused of stepping over the line with one of his comments. None of those comments decreased his popularity. None of them really did anything tangible except provoked condemnation from his colleagues and fill a lot of column inches in newspapers see. There were dozens of these stories. Small and large every time. Robb said Org did something. It was a little mini-scandal. Here's a good example. He was kicked out of a Toronto. Maple leafs game and two thousand six. He was screaming aiming profanities at a couple who was sitting nearby. A man asked him to be quiet. Rob asked the man who the fuck you was when he turned to the man's wife and and said do you want your little wife to go over to Iran to get raped and shot then when the inevitable firestorm erupted. He told the media he wasn't even at the game except it was later revealed that he'd been handing out his business cards to everyone sitting nearby and Ford recently apologized for being drunk and belligerent data. GotTa leafs game. They made a mistake. I'm only human. I don't know what to say. I apologize there. Were a lot of apologies and eventually became obvious us that these weren't exactly isolated incidents by two thousand eight. There was plenty of evidence that behind the scenes the Ford family which by then then included rob his wife. Renata and two young children had some serious issues every family has their problems behind closed. Doors as you know. It's just dumb in public life and minor more exposed and others outspoken city Councillor Rob Ford now back at work after shocking allegations by his wife that led to criminal charges. Urgence Rob Ford place to nine one. One call to the police. Late evening March twenty-fifth because of his spouses irrational behavior heavier and as a result of consultation with the police. He left the family home with the children. In what will you'll notice has become something of a pattern. When reporters asked voters about ROB's latest scandal? They stood by him. They really liked rob he was was a man of the people and he was entitled to a personal life. Should he step aside. You'll have to make a pass that I really can't comment You know now. He's been charged with some very very serious offenses. Anytime you dealing with the domestic situation One of the unfortunate reality political life is that is that your private life is public and and these sorts of situations are unbelievably complicated. Require an extreme amount of sensitivity and they really are no business of any of us. I think the allegations against Timur are greatly blown up as a counselor. I think he's great. One of the greater on the council. I think sometimes we. We jumped to conclusions too quickly. That's my personal opinion and I think it will play out in the courts and the fact that he's got. The children probably says a lot in this. This particular case the charges were eventually dropped and the media did not pry further into the counselors home life and rob went back to building his brand as a penny pincher and a man of the people and there was a growing segment of Toronto. who were buying it despite the scandals? Or maybe because of them maybe they normalized him. This is one of those things that I mentioned at the beginning. That might have seemed insane at the time all these scandals making no dent. But that doesn't seem insane insane anymore. Doug holiday who understands exactly where the Ford family comes from can explain why some of the worst stuff to come out of. Rob's mouth just bounced off rob always so what was spoken sometimes he. He didn't have his thoughts in line. But Ah lots of times He made sense if you if you really listen to what he had to say. The thing with rob was I guess some of his personal life Later on it came apart but Politically I thought. Robb was very astute and he he knew from a commonsense standpoint. What needed to be done to manage the affairs of the tax payers who voted and put us on the council? That was the brand. He was helping the little guy all the time. If you phone be come to your house I don't Komo how we could have had time for other things like reading the agendas and following the detail of managing the city. But you you can't be on the phone twelve hours a day or I would sometimes get a call late at night from Rob Ford and it's because my number came up and his assist them somehow and he didn't recognize that it was me and he called in need say Rob Ford returning your call a rob. I called you two weeks ago and it's my it's me and I saw you yesterday. You know like he but he had that system any I think he printed out the list. I don't know and then he'd wherever he was he. Just keep down those numbers. There's a key part of Rob Ford's brand that inspired so many people. It's why they loved him so much so much that no scandal could ever make a dent in the image. They had of him. It's the part of his image that cast it's him as the plainspoken regular guy. The Guy who had come on over to help you out your man on the council if you don't care much about politics that's what matters to you but if you care about politics and the way it works if you care about the bigger picture Heckscher or the policy or the process like Gord perks does for instance. Then it's impossible to understand why people respond spawned so emotionally to Rob Ford is selling because it must seem obvious to you that it will never accomplish anything substantial SANTEUIL. But that doesn't matter to them he would spend absolutely none of his time fixing the things that can be affixed how frequently the bus runs. How many child care spaces? We have Their relative tax rates of of Commercial all in residential properties all the hard thorny problems that actually makes cities work rob never knew anything about any of that he never cared about any of that a- and he never spent one minute on any of that so he had plenty of time to ride around his truck and tell people how great they were. And that's what people liked. It's not that that he solved any of their problems. It's not that he had any particular genius for Building a new political movement. He just managed to persuade persuade people. That The guy who tells you what you want to. Here's your friend and you WANNA have your friend in the mayor's chair. This is the debate at the heart of all event at the heart of Ford's legacy at the heart of politics itself. I'm not joking. The question of whether rob was an idiot playing angry people for fools or a genius tapping into a growing movement. That's at the core of understanding how we view what happened happen next. Doug holiday is on one side and Gord perks is on the other and the truth might be somewhere in the middle. But that debate doesn't leave room for middle by the end of two thousand and nine Rob Ford had pissed off basically weekly all of city council left and right but he'd done that while building himself a substantial base of voters all over the city. Who loved him mostly because he'd called them back and gone to see them? His offensive comments and personal scandals meant that he was portrayed in the media as thuggish buffoon At best but we covered him. I was there. We covered him all the same because those scandals also made for great headlines He had been called a racist assist and a homophobe repeatedly and publicly by counselors and the media everyone else. He'd faced charges of domestic abuse. He'd been mostly absent and the actual day to day operations of the council. He sat on but he had spent the past ten years making calls in handing out business cards and yes riding around in his truck and telling people that they were great so naturally when the calendar turned in two thousand ten and the election came around. Rob Ford ran for mayor. No no one ever thought that this gentleman would be the mayor of the city. Toronto after Ten Years of a watching Rob Ford in enaction Those who had who were with him during those on council at the same time as him during those ten years he would have been perceived as having the lowest skill set to actually undertake that function When he announced that WHO's GONNA run for mayor most of us are I said? Are you serious. Rob The you're going to do. This is day right. I'm serious I'm going to go after you guys. The Way Karen Stints saw Rob Ford in two thousand ten could apply to basically every counselor. He was not a threat part of the mistake we collectively made as we just dismissed him as being irritating instead of recognizing that he was building this base across the city with disaffected voters. That's where the the story of Rob Ford began. Here is where it's about to go this season on the gravy train. He introduces himself by saying something. Like I'm not GonNa have any cancer on this campaign from the get-go his campaign was I'm GonNa use the word corrupt. It was all war all the time. I said you gotTa make a decision. You gotTA choose you want to football or do you want to be the city. They talked about finding empty. She alcohol bottles at his office. They talked about him clearly. Being drunk at evening events trying to decide you know. Did I really see the mayor. snorting coke APPA some women's hand in no party like Rob Ford Party. There's no video so that let's All I can see and people said if you are one tenth of your uncle you have our full support. There was nothing one of his kids that he wouldn't do. He was the one of the first of the right wing. Populist populist screw the government types that have emerged in this in this decade and it worked and I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings the host and Co author of the gravy train and Allison Nielsen and Stephanie Phillips. Our producers and Co Authors Ryan Clark is also a producer and our sound engineer. Rob Purchase Aniello. John Damaso handled archival sourcing for those clips. You hear editorial real guidance came from Claire Broussard. Almost delic and it wouldn't sound this good without them and we had our production assistance Lucas. I and Matthew Moro doing everything else the need to do in a few enjoyed this episode. You better hit subscribe. There's more coming you can also find this podcast. The other one host called the Big Story and about Oh ten or twelve others at frequency podcast network DOT com. They are all excellent. Go give him a lesson.

Coming up next