Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has fired his chief of staff, Mark Towhey. No reason has been given. He was relieved of his duties and escorted from the premises by security this afternoon.
Meanwhile, it's been an entire week since three reporters from two different publications revealed what they witnessed in a video that allegedly shows Rob Ford smoking crack, calling Justin Trudeau a "fag" and the students at Don Bosco "just fucking minorities". It's been a whole week, and our mayor has said almost nothing. He hasn't admitted he has a problem nor strongly denied the allegations. I'm convinced his strategy is to avoid the issue in the hopes it will simply blow over.
Has Mark Towhey been fired because he disagreed with this awful strategy? Has Mark Towhey been fired because of this crack controversy?
With Rob Ford still in office, we have many questions but few answers.
Here is what the video shows: Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, is the only person visible in the frame. Prior to the trip, I spent a lot of time looking at photographs of Rob Ford. The man in the video is Rob Ford. It is well-lit, clear. Ford is seated, in a room in a house. In one hand is a a clear, glass pipe. The kind with a big globe and two glass cylinders sticking out of it. In the other hand is a lighter. A slurred voice off-camera is ranting about Canadian politics in what sounds like an attempt to goad Ford. "Pierre Trudeau was a faggot!" is the one phrase the lodges in my mind. Ford, pipe in one hand and lighter in the other, is laughing, and mildly protesting at the sacrilege. He seems to keep trying to light the pipe, but keeps stopping to laugh. He is red-faced and sweaty, heaving with each breath. Finally, he finds his moment and lights up. He inhales.
The photo above from the Gawker story "shows Ford hanging out with a number of people. The gentleman standing to his right, flipping the camera the bird, is Anthony Smith. Smith, a 21-year-old college student, was killed two months ago outside a Toronto nightclub in a gangland-style shooting".
Update: The Toronto Star's Robyn Doolittle and Kevin Donovan have also seen the video and believe it to be Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. They have many more details here.
The following guest blog entry was written by Mark.
If you don’t have much time in Toronto, make your trip a truly Canadian experience and only visit that which you won’t find elsewhere.
While Toronto has some of the best museums in North America like the Royal Ontario Museum, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection is the only major public art gallery devoted to collecting and exhibiting only Canadian art. The permanent collection consists of almost 6 000 artworks by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries, and First Nations, Inuit and other artists who have made a contribution to Canada’s artistic heritage.
Learn about Canadian origins and head down to the Black Creek Pioneer Village – a recreation of life in 19th century Ontario. Here, you can explore more than forty historic 19th century buildings, decorated in the style of the 1860s with period furnishings and actors portraying villagers. The village is populated with ducks, horses, sheep and other livestock and is mostly self-explored, although many of the individual sites will have a guide inside to explain details of the structure.
If you’re not familiar with the country’s national winter sport, the Hockey Hall of Fame, dedicated to the history of the sport, is a great introduction to the game. Even better, go watch the Toronto Maple Leafs take to the ice.
Get on a streetcar. Toronto has the largest streetcar system in the Americas in terms of track length and ridership. It’s also the only large-scale streetcar system existing in Canada. While they might not be as efficient as the subway system, the streetcar is still a great and unique way to get around town and a good opportunity to see some sights and sounds.
Walk. Toronto has plenty of eclectic neighbourhoods worth seeing. If you want a little more information, take one of the free walking tours with the Tour Guys and explore the downtown core. The city also has designated Discovery Walks which highlight both the natural and human history of the region. These can be found with brown circular signs along the route and highlight other regions such as the Belt Line, Garrison Creek and the Humber River as well as the downtown core.
While there are places to enjoy the night life, the city is currently debating the development of a new casino resort. Until it’s established, rather keep your gaming to the likes of Jackpot Capital Blackjack online and keep your Toronto tour truly Canadian.
Eat - lots! Toronto is considered to be one of North America's top food cities. It has the same variety as New York or San Francisco, while the compact, safe, and clean downtown core ensures that many renowned food neighbourhoods and restaurant venues are within a quick and pleasant walk's distance of one another.
Right after Mad Men on Sunday night, I clicked over to TVO to watch Last Call at the Gladstone Hotel.
I had seen the documentary about the dramatic transformation of Toronto's oldest working hotel from post-war flophouse to its current incarnation as a hip, artist-driven boutique hotel before, but wanted to give it a second viewing.
You've likely heard the news that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has hired his old football coach as Director of Operations and Logistics.
Dave Price was Ford’s high school football coach back when he was a student at Scarlett Heights. Now, Dave Price is Director of Operations and Logistics, and Toronto taxpayers are paying his 6-figure salary. Trust me, titles like that don't come without a 6-figure cost.
You're likely wondering what the Director of Operations and Logistics is responsible for at City Hall.... Ford won't say. His staffers won't say, either.
Kevin Donovan is an investigative reporter at the Toronto Star. He has won three Canadian Association of Journalists Awards, one Michener Award and three National Newspaper Awards and you might know him as the guy who broke the ORNGE story.
Kevin Donovan co-wrote the Star story that Rob Ford was asked to leave a gala event celebrating the Canadian armed forces last month, because organizers were concerned he was impaired.
It’s an open secret at city hall that the mayor has battled alcohol abuse. Those closest to him are concerned for his health and the impact it has on his job as mayor of Canada’s largest city. Current and former staff have told the Star of repeated attempts to persuade the mayor to get help for more than two years and as recently as November. All attempts have been rebuffed.
In response to this story, Rob Ford has called it "an outright lie". His brother and unofficial spokesperson, Doug Ford, has also denied the allegations. Doug and Rob both believe the Toronto Star is out to get them and anything the Star writes that puts Rob Ford in a negative light is a lie.
Make no mistake, I don't take delight in the fact our mayor has a substance abuse problem. I sincerely hope he gets help, and my issues have always been with his flawed logic and regressive approach to city planning. He's a leader who won't raise a flag for the Pride Parade, but won't miss a photo opportunity with the pandas. He's a leader who will scream "subways, subways, subways" but won't tell you how we'll pay for the subways. And when an investigative journalist presents overwhelming evidence about our mayor being asked to leave a gala event, even confirming it with councillor Paul Ainslie, chair of the government management committee and a strong ally of Ford, Rob Ford, his brother and his camp stick with plan A: deny, deny, deny.
In this instance, it's a true shame. Rob Ford needs help, and step one is acknowledging he has a problem. Until Rob Ford accomplishes that, my fear is this will only get worse.
As a proud Torontonian, I've had to endure several Rob Ford scandals since he was elected to city council. Here's a list of Rob Ford controversies if you require a refresher. Of all the Rob Ford controversies, the one that's disturbed me the most is this latest one involving Sarah Thomson.
The news broke Friday morning and I refused to rush to judgement. I watched the story unfold, listened to all sides and stayed quiet until now. I hate how many Rob Ford supporters, many I consider friends, have politicized Sarah Thomson's claims and have painted Ford as the victim once more. Earlier today, Ford even used his 1010 radio show to wonder aloud if Thomson is "playing with a full deck". A comment on this very blog seconds ago gloated "from all the media response this weekend it is fairly clear that the story is a hoax".
Whenever Rob Ford is called out for something he's guilty of, his first move is to lie to us. He's a notorious and proven liar. Remember that Leafs game when an inebriated Rob Ford went off on that Durham couple? He denied that ever happened until the evidence was so overwhelming he had to come clean.
Remember when Rob Ford was asked if he was arrested for pot possession in Florida? He denied that ever happened until the evidence was so overwhelming he had to come clean.
The man has absolutely no integrity, and when a woman came forward on Friday to accuse him of inappropriate behavior, instead of supporting her people seem to exert great energy dismissing and discrediting her. I agree 100% with Sarah Thomson's statement below.
I am not the kind of woman who sees chauvinism everywhere or believes in reckless denunciations. But Mayor Ford was behaving inappropriately, and there was clearly something wrong with him during the CJPAC event.
He must be discouraged from over indulging to the point where he is groping or making lewd comments, and women should not put up with it when it happens. The Mayor was outrageous, he acted horribly, and I won't be intimidated by the whitewashing he has tried so hard to generate.
Decades ago powerful men who sexually assaulted women would call them "hysterical," or "crazy" to debase their credibility. It pushed many assaulted women into silence. Today Mayor Ford stated that he wondered if I was "playing with a full deck" try to discredit me. He will not push me into silence and I hope his accusations do not re-ignite the old fears that once silenced women.
We need an ongoing dialogue to ensure respect for women in the workplace and to create an inclusive and safe society for all.
Feel free to dismiss my opinion as well, because I've had many issues with our mayor over the years. This is undeniably true. I don't trust Rob Ford, I don't agree with his politics, I don't like his personality and I wouldn't want him leading my condo board, let alone my beloved city. When I see people labeling Thompson as a whack job and sympathizing with Rob Ford over this issue, it angers me.
I had to click over to the blogto.com article to see for myself. Here's their list of the top 10 one-hit wonder bands from Toronto.
Len - "Steal My Sunshine"
Snow - "Informer"
Alannah Myles - "Black Velvet"
jackSOUL - "Can't Stop"
Choclair - "Let's Ride"
Love Inc. - "You're A Superstar"
Toronto - "Your Daddy Don't Know"
The Pursuit of Happiness - "I'm An Adult Now"
Platinum Blonde - "Crying Over You"
Boys Brigade - "Melody"
Right off the bat, having listened to radio in this city for over 30 years, I can tell you this is an awful list. Many of these artists are not one-hit wonders by any definition, and as we've discussed, the standards for one-hit wonders keep dropping.
Just off the top of my head, from my 680 CFTR days and Q107 Top Ten At Ten days, I can tell you Platinum Blonde had several big hits in Canada, The Pursuit of Happiness had a handful and Allannah Myles was all over the radio with "Love Is" before she even released her biggest hit "Black Velvet".
As I scratch my temple, I remember Snow making a comeback with the hit single "Everybody Wants to Be Like You". That means, just off the top of my head, I can confirm four of this top ten list had multiple hits in Canada.
Love padlock are a custom by which padlocks are affixed to a fence, gate, bridge or similar public fixture by sweethearts at an increasing number of locations in the world to symbolize their everlasting love.
Last week, I saw love padlocks blossoming on the Eiserner Steg bridge.
The most love padlocks I've ever seen were affixed to the Pont des Arts, Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor and the Pont de l'Archevêché bridges in Paris.
Here in Toronto, love padlocks were removed from the Humber Bridge due to concerns over aesthetics and structural concerns if the bridge were to become a love padlock destination.