Rob Ford's on a media blitz, repeating the same tired talking points to Ford Nation in the hopes he will be re-elected next October.
With a glove tap to Matt Elliott, here are his five most frequently uttered lies. If you hear him spew this nonsense, know it's just another Rob Ford lie.
#1: That he’s saved Toronto a billion dollars
His billion-dollar boast includes things like revenue cuts projected over four years that are wrongly classified as budget savings, savings from contracting out garbage collection projected over the seven-year life of the contract, some double-counted savings, and a bunch of vague efficiency savings — many of which are based on hypotheticals and, either way, don’t differ too much from the amounts previous councils have “saved” year-over-year.
#2: That he inherited a bankrupt city
Ford likes to talk about how he inherited a city on the verge of bankruptcy. But he actually inherited a city with a $364-million surplus, an excellent credit rating and a per-capita debt level lower than many other North American cities, including Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.
#3: That he is responsible for the city’s construction boom or falling unemployment
On this subject, Ford has a curious habit of overstating figures for no reason. I don’t know why. The city unemployment rate did go down during his term: from 9.4 per cent when he took office to around seven per cent this past summer. But Ford likes to claim the unemployment rate when he took office was somewhere around 11 per cent. It’s never been clear why he insists on taking a legitimate good news story and throwing in an unnecessary exaggeration.
#4: That he has the support of the people
According to recent poll numbers by Ipsos-Reid, only 34 per cent of people think Ford is trustworthy. When they asked about next year’s election, a full 62 per cent said there is no way they would vote for Ford under any circumstances. When Ipsos polled likely match-ups for next year’s municipal election they found Ford could only count on about 20 per cent of the vote in most multi-candidate match-ups.
#5: That he’s never wasted taxpayer money
On his first day in office, Ford unilaterally put a stop to the construction of four fully-funded light rail transit lines. We later found out that he had no legal authority to stop the work. Before council overruled that decision a year later, the cost of the cancellation was estimated at more than $65 million, with about $45 million in additional sunk costs.
That wasn’t a one-time thing, either. Ford was also more than happy to sign off on at least $85 million worth of cancellation costs related to the previously-approved Scarborough LRT.
Ford’s not free from expense scandals either. In the fall of 2012, two TTC buses were dispatched to pick up the football team the mayor was coaching at the time. There’s also been allegations that the mayor used his staff to help run football teams he coached.
More recently, police surveillance documents released by the courts include interviews with former Ford staffers who claimed the mayor sometimes asked his publicly-funded office staff to run various personal errands for him – everything from picking up liquor to coming to his house to change light bulbs.