My late night chat with Mayor Rob Ford, who tells me how politics works – UPDATED

Last Sunday, on his weekly radio program, Toronto’s mayor offered to generously to sit down with women – over coffee even – and “explain how politics works” to us. A lot of people were astounded and offended by this. I decided to take him up on his offer. I called him and left a voicemail, only leaving my first name and my cell.

Now, I don’t really need any help, politically speaking. I’ve worked on the campaigns of impressive women and I’ve worked on campaigns with impressive women, so I kinda know how this whole politics thing works. But what I really wanted to know was why Ford felt that he – a man – should be giving lessons to us about politics. That’s what I really wanted to ask him.

He called me back last night, very late. (Nobody calls me that late except for my kids and they usually want money, or a ride.) And honestly, for the first few seconds of our one-minute long conversation, I wasn’t quite sure it was actually the mayor.

My first question was asking what he thought women should be doing to get more involved in politics. My second question was if he had any advice to women other than “get your name on a ballot.”

What you really need to listen to is my third question, which was why do you think women need help? Listen to what happens next.

Update: For the record, the entire conversation lasted only one minute.


56 Comments on “My late night chat with Mayor Rob Ford, who tells me how politics works – UPDATED”

  1. Patrick Smyth says:

    He’s a politician, they can be rude. Like most politicians, if he’d known who you were he would not have called. That’s what an adviser would have told him. Fords works down at the Circus under the Dome without a safety net. I think a lot of voters find that honest and refreshing – things lacking in most other politicians.

    • Arnold says:

      No one finds anything about ford refreshing, he’s a child and completely incapable of doing his job. He’s of massive detriment to this city and most of us are embarrassed and counting down the days until no more doofy fords are in office.

      • Dan says:

        incorrect. i find him refreshing as well. if most of you felt that way, he wouldn’t be mayor.

      • Patrick Smyth says:

        You can speak for that many Toronto voters, Arnold, that’s amazing!

        I notice a big change in Toronto since Ford became Mayor too. It’s a lot cleaner and there’s less graffiti. I’m impressed with the new garbage collection. More City Staff and Councillors are undergoing closer scrutiny. He has seen no drop in his popularity and might even benefit from being called a “child” and “doofy” in public. The Fords are confident men. They’re rich and they are well-connected, politically-speaking. I wouldn’t count them out yet, and not until I know who will run against them.

        Most the people I hear complaining now never took any interest in how the City was run before Ford. ‘Johhie-come-latelys’, I call them. The embarrassment I share with them is that we’ve tolerated, and financed these wild-swinging Councils since Amalgamation. It’s crazy. Lastman, “we’re doing subways”. Miller, “we’re doing Transit City”. Ford, “subways, subways but then, no you’re not”.

        Oh that the City was overseen by competent persons! That would be great but, the Fords are only two out of 45. We have a lot more soul-searching to do if Toronto will ever have competent oversight of our Municipal Affairs.

    • ian says:

      so hes an idiot, but at least hes honest about it. jesus, demand more from your politicans if that’s all it takes for you.

      • Average Voter says:

        Ford and honesty are words that do not belong in the same sentence. He will be ousted in the next election in an embarrassing manner. He is politically finished.

  2. Aphrodite Fung says:

    Did you let him know that you were going to record the conversation?

    • Lisa says:

      I would have if he hadn’t hung up on me!

      • Scoopster23 says:

        According to Canadian law, as long as one person in a conversation knows the conversation is being recorded, it’s perfectly legal and usable. (If a third-party records a conversation in which neither of the other two parties know it’s being recorded, that is illegal except in the case of a judge-ordered exemption.)

      • Matt says:

        What a ridiculous excuse. You don’t ask people questions then tell them you are recording them. It should be the first thing you do after saying hello. You have no tact. Reporters have to be underhanded, but still, Mayor Ford was acting in good faith, there is no reason you shouldn’t have either.

    • Justin Tetreault says:

      She didn’t have to. In Canada only one party to a conversation has to consent to a phone call being recorded.

  3. jaredpurdy says:

    Yes, politicians can be rube, but he has demonstrated time and agian that he puts the R in rude!! He’s so unbelievably bad for this city it’s astounding. What is even more shocking is that people, though I’d love to see the demographic breakdown on that, actually vote for him. He’s a cancer on this great city. I’m not the least bit surprised that he hung up on you.

  4. Tom says:

    Only people who share an affinity for rudeness and boorish behaviour find the Fords refreshing.

    • Daniel says:

      That is not really true. Sometimes BS gets a little too much, it’s refreshing to see a political figure who doesn’t have to always filter everything he says. Fact is, you can’t please everyone. Some people hated Miller, others detested Lastman and thought he was a very bad rep for our city. Remember Hall? She was both loved and hated. Obviously enough people voted for him, or he would not be the Mayor, right? I personally do not care what bend, race, gender a politician is, but I do wish they would get their shit together (Politicians in general)

    • Peter says:

      Really Tom? And you would know that because your mother taught you your rude, judgemental ways?

    • Matt says:

      Completely false. If you look at what Ford has done for the city, he’s actually been quite impressive. Even if he is rude (which I really don’t think he is), I don’t really care how polite he is, he gets the job done better than anyone else and he should be in office for that reason.

      What I find ridiculous are the lousy smear campaigns and attempts to get him out of office. Those fiascos cost more of the taxpayers’ time and money than anything else.

  5. @Aphrodite: there’s no need to inform someone you’re recording them, so long as you’re a party to the conversation.

    “In short, it makes it illegal to intercept a private communications unless authorized by the Code (e.g. with a warrant or as part of maintaining the communications system) or unless the consent of one of the parties is obtained.”

  6. Ford Nation are threatened by people who aren’t as stupid as they are. With Rob, they’ve found the lowest common denominator and they revel in his ignorance.

    • glenn storey says:

      it’s true. they feel threatened by EVERYBODY.

    • Patrick Smyth says:

      I don’t know anybody in ‘Ford Nation’ but I suspect there’s a whole lot more “ignorant” people in Toronto. Most residents don’t pay a blind bit of attention to what goes on down there at City Hall. They must think their vote is like a magic wand. Somehow the election will result in a Council with some consistent character, and one that reflects well on the whole city. Unfortunately, when it comes to electing 45 competent overseers the citizen’s vote-in the oddest bunch of councillors every time. Or, there’s a culture there that corrupts. I think that’s the common denominator through all the Councils since 1997.

  7. Joe says:

    I think it’s thoughtful that he took the time to phone you. It’s rude that you taped the conversation and tried to trap him. He hung up I assume because he realized you were asking a loaded question, in the hopes that he would say something wrong. BTW – I didnt vote for him, nor do I support him. You clearly don’t have what it takes to be a politician, and have no respect for the thankless work that it is.

    • Peter says:

      I agree Joe, and well said.

    • citizen says:

      yes well said Joe – but she does have what it take to be a politician – shes sneaky, lies and deceives people – isn’t that what it takes nowadays ?

    • Ted says:

      How on earth is it a “loaded” question?

      Ford said women need help and Lisa asked him what he would suggest. And then he hung up.

      Like in every big and small thing he does, he does not feel he owes anyone, any citizen, any voter, anything. He has no desire to be accountable. Ever.

      • Patrick Smyth says:

        I know loads of people like that. They’re ‘soccer moms’. By her own admission, Lisa knew she couldn’t possibly benefit from talking to Ford. I’d suspect her motivation too, while you are casting aspersions.

        BTW, he’s not a ‘dogs-body’. Do you demand that much from every civil servant you come across? Total submission to a citizen’s demands?

        You should know that a councillor, in the conduct of their personal affairs, improperly uses the influence of Office and misleads a Committee of Council they will not be investigated by the Integrity Commissioner or the Office of the Ombuds.

        There’s more than a few on Council who are not being held accountable. Too many are focused on the Fords and others are getting away with all their shenanigans. All this costs every resident in their wallets. We’re paying for all this jockeying-for-position, gross exaggerations and media frenzies.

    • Jake says:

      There’s nothing loaded about this question. Ford expressed an opinion, and he was asked to justify it. That’s just a regular question

    • Fleck says:

      Thoughtful that he did call . . . but apparently it was very late, which I would categorize as inappropriate. After that it all falls apart from there. Notice that Mayor Ford’s behavior here, in private, is the same as he is in public, invasive, and running away from issues. As usual with Mayor Ford people want to make a big deal out of the individual issues and gaffes. However, if you string them all together, this incident, being one of what is almost a weekly occurrence, you see a man, who’s behavior is inappropriate, who’s incompetent( and here I should note that he admitted this under oath in court), who’s unclear on the issues, and out of touch with the reality of the times.

      This whole business of the phone calls is interesting. Mayor Ford goes on and on about it, while many question the actual time that he spends on-the-job. In some ways it’s reassuring that, he is getting back to people, and making those calls. However, is this really what the Mayor of the 4th largest city in North America should be spending huge amounts of time doing? Being the receptionist and call-center for the city? Is this what Mayor Bloomberg or Mayor Rahm spend hours and hours of their days doing?

      The reality is that Mayor Ford has been almost completely absent of his real duties and responsibilities of Mayor of the City of Toronto. A perfect example of this was the recent FCM meetings in Ottawa. Isn’t it odd that, where critical issues, including infrastructure and transit spending, are being discussed, that the Mayor of the largest city in Canada was not there?

  8. Hans Nick says:

    He hung up on you because he could tell you were fishing to make a story out of this (probably some sort of sensationalized “OMG Rob Ford” incident [which here you have tried, unsuccessfully I might add]).

    I would have hung up on you as well. Shame on you.

    • Er, no. Rob Ford offered to give this advice, she took him up on it, and *he* called *her*. He was very much a willing participant. And given that he has had his calls recorded before, he should be prepared for it by now. And if he’s got such great advice, wouldn’t he want it shared?

      • Patrick Smyth says:

        Is Ford complaining? I’d be very surprised if he is. He doesn’t appear to have any fear of being recorded or talked about in the rudest manner.

        I’m sad to report, the City of Toronto has become a very mean-spirited place since a certain political class had their rattle taken away in November 2010. The hatred is awful.

        I’m sure we’re just getting wound-up again to make us feel we’re important. Not that we have much say at all, really. Look at the squabble over whether it’s 10 or 30 of them who get to decide if they kill the bird or tell the turkey not to worry, Christmas is just around the corner. I’m with Ford on that one. It’s sneaky. You see, at least at Executive Committee deputations are allowed and any councillor can attend, speak and question. Not many did. If something doesn’t get onto the Agenda from there, that’s the rule, that’s the tradition.

        Did Stintz make an impassioned appeal? Was Mihevc there with the Coalition attesting again to the wisdom of their ways? Did Vaughan and Perks depute and remind us again what brave and compassionate councillors they are? You know, like they did for the Casino thing. No, I don’t believe so. Now they’re complaining the same way Stintz complained under Miller when she headed-up the Opposition.

        At Council, we are locked-out with no chance of a say. That’s the sneaky bit. They have their ways of manipulating and producing a desired outcome, regardless of what we think.

  9. […] Thursday night, he called back. She wrote about the whole experience on her blog, and offered the recording of the phone […]

  10. Ted says:

    I don’t get the claim that Ford is “refreshing” because he doesn’t do the “BS”.

    Honestly, I don’t. Because what this shows is he is nothing but BS. He made statements in public and someone is asking him questions about it. He has no response and so hangs up. This is a broken record style with this mayor.

    He says whatever BS thing comes into his head and then, when pressed on it, has no answer and tries to point the finger at others.

    He does this with big stuff and small stuff. He said we could build subways without any additional taxpayer money but won’t answer how and then accuses his questioners of hating the suburbs. He talks about the and respect for taxpayers, but then refuses to answer questions about the costs of tearing up an already built bike-land, and then accuses anyone saying that’s a waste of taxpayer money to be part of the “war on the car”.

    Here’s a classic Ford moment captured on youtube. He’s caught outright lying and then, when asked about it, goes on the attack.

    This is the opposite of refreshing and honest. It is the definition of BS.

  11. Doug says:

    So you were trying to trap him, he caught on and hung up. Smart move Mr. Mayor I would have done the same.
    I find it quite odd that you complain that the Mayor returns your phone call and he is still working at 10:30 P.M.
    He is busy and you were wasting his time, and now ours with this trashy article.

    • Ted says:

      He made a vague statement and said anyone could call him for details, she asked him what he meant, he refused to give details and hung up. In what way is she “trying to trap him”?

      He is avoiding having to answer to the public. Pure and simple. Which is fine. Politicians, especially conservative Harper-like politicians, are experts at this. Just don’t invite people to ask you if you don’t want to be asked. Don’t say you want to be accountable if you don’t want to be accountable.

  12. MoS says:

    Really, Lisa, is that it? You seem to be going to great lengths to inflate this to some sort of significance. I had thought you really had Ford saying something odious.

  13. […] “explain politics” to any “females” who called him at home? Here’s an actual recording of him attempting to do […]

  14. Travis says:

    Dis is fucken stupid yo

  15. Jennifer says:

    I called him as well, left a message, and he called me back that very night. I couldn’t believe it was him, I actually laughed a bit. My original phone message had been quite sarcastic…I said something to the effect of “well, I’m just a girl so I don’t know anything about politics and I need a man’s help…maybe you can tell me what you know and then I can run against you”. He said to me when he called back, well, what do you want to know? I said, well, what do you have to tell me? He said in order to run, you have to be over 18, a resident of Toronto and a Canadian citizen. That’s it, that’s all he said. I said to him I had heard you don’t have to be a Toronto resident, you only have to own or lease property in Toronto to run. To that he said “oh.” Then there was a long pause. I then said “I guess I know a bit more than you about politics, eh?” and he hung up on me. It would be amusing if I didn’t live here….

    • Fred Farnesworth says:

      Congratulations, you sure showed him. Have a hero cookie.

    • Patrick Smyth says:

      Your voting status or ability to vote is not political. There’s a whole lot of rules and regulations that councillors don’t know about. Especially in planning matters but we allow them to make big City-planning decision. That’s political. Does that change your mind on anything?

  16. Reblogged this on Your Today ~ and commented:
    Just when one thinks Rob Ford can’t sink any lower … he does!

  17. He just doesn’t know when to keep his mouth zipped does he?

  18. Franco says:

    The thing about Ford is you can’t shame him. He doesn’t have critical thinking skills, nor an ability to see anyone else’s perspective. In that manner he’s quite thoughtless. He shouldn’t be hanging up on anyone, but that’s how he deals with critics, or people who challenge him: He simply ignores, or attacks them. Somehow he thinks by stating the obvious he’s somehow reaching out to constituents, I simply don’t know what goes on in his brain, if anything. He is more concerned about an upcoming election instead of running the city, it’s all too depressing to fathom how incompetent he is as a person and politician. Anyway, that was hard to listen to, because it demonstrates what a poor leader we’ve been left with.

  19. […] I posted about my telephone call with Mayor Rob Ford a few weeks back, I started getting calls from one of the mayor’s aides. He left pleasant […]

  20. Derpina Herpaderp says:

    Could someone please transcribe the recording for folks who can’t hear?


  21. […] until I had published this post about how Rob Ford called me at night and then hung up on me, I had never heard of Price. Within days, Price was trying to reach me. Here’s one of his […]

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