Federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney says Ford “embarrassed” city and should step aside

Federal employment minister Jason Kenney said Tuesday that Mayor Rob Ford should step down.

He said that Ford “has brought dishonour to public office and the office of mayor and his city,” and that he “should step aside and stop dragging the City of Toronto through this terrible embarrassment.”

At city hall, deputy mayor Norm Kelly took on some of the powers formerly belonging to the mayor. Frosted glass was installed in the city “fishbowl” where some of the mayor’s staff used to work. The locks were also changed on the room as it is no longer part of the mayor’s office.

Some of Ford’s key staffers, including chief of staff Earl Provost and director of policy Sheila Paxton now work for the deputy mayor.

Also Tuesday, The Toronto Star reported that  according to court documents filed ahead of Wednesday’s attempt by the media to get more information, the video of the mayor smoking what appears to be, in police language, “a narcotic” was filmed in February.  Ford has said he smoked crack cocaine over a year ago.

That claim is far from the only inconsistency in Ford’s story. According to Canada.com and  Global, Ford lied three times in the first two-and-a-half minutes of his interview with Peter Mansbridge, which aired Monday night.

Here’s what those publications say are “lies” by the mayor.

  1. Ford said he was elected with the largest mandate in Canada’s history. Mayor Mel Lastman had 100,000 more votes in the year 2000 election than Ford did in 2010. Lastman also had four per cent more of the vote in ’97 than Ford received in 2010.
  2. Ford claimed to have the lowest tax increase in a major North American city. Both Windsor, Ont., and San Antonio, Texas, as pointed out in Metro, have tax freezes. Also, as Global points out, the Scarborough subway extension will result in a property tax and development charge increase in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
  3. Ford claimed to have shown up for work every day for the last 13 years and to have always been “straight as an arrow.” Ford’s attendance record is far from perfect and the records are publicly available. He has been absent from council or committee 84 times for 440 meetings. Also, his former staffers told police he has been drunk at the office. Those allegations have not been proven in court.

There are several other inconsistencies in Ford’s story.

Ford said he has never been charged or convicted of anything. While it’s true that he wasn’t charged during project Brazen 2, he pleaded no-contest to charges of drinking and driving in Florida in 1999. He was also charged with assaulting and uttering a death threat to his wife. Those charges were dropped.

The mayor also told Mansbridge in the CBC interview that he never drove while drunk. Not only does this contradict his own admission to reporters Thursday that he has driven drunk, it also runs contrary to his DUI in Florida and uproven allegations from Project Brazen 2.

In his Tuesday interview with CP24’s Stephen LeDrew, Ford said he has only known alleged drug dealer Alexander “Sandro” Lisi for two years. In the reference letter he wrote for Lisi, Ford claimed that Lisi worked on his 2010 campaign.

Ford also claimed to have “won” his campaign compliance audit. It’s true he wasn’t kicked out of office, but the ruling on the audit was that Ford overspent on his campaign by about $40,000.

The other inconsistencies in Ford’s story are debatable. Ford says he saved the city $1 billion. The Toronto Star says this isn’t true.

The truthfulness of his latest claim will only be revealed with time: Ford told LeDrew he had a “come-to-Jesus moment” and vowed to never drink or do drugs again.

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Editorial Cartoon: November 20, 2013

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