Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he isn’t homophobic and that his campaign to have a rainbow flag taken down from outside city hall didn’t have anything to do with his feelings about Toronto’s Pride parade. Meantime, his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, says they are being bullied by gay rights activists.
“I am not homophobic,” Ford said in a YouTube video released Tuesday. “I will go to anyone's house, anyone's place to help them out. I take offence when people say that to me.”
The comment comes in the second episode of a campaign-centric YouTube show hosted by the Ford brothers. The series began last week with clips of an episode highlighted by Ford’s admission that he lied about his drug history because he was embarrassed.
This week’s hot topic was Ford’s position on gay rights, but also included the release of a “hit list” of current councillors the brothers would like to see defeated in the municipal election on Oct. 27.
Here are all the highlights from this week’s episode:
Pride flag at city hall
Mayor Rob Ford courted controversy earlier this month by proactively refusing to attend Pride parade and saying he would not change who he was. He then launched a campaign to have a ceremonial rainbow flag removed from city hall.
The flag was hung at the start of the Sochi Olympics in protest to Russia’s anti-homosexuality laws. Similar flags have been hung outside city halls in many other Canadian cities. In Toronto, the flag was hung on a ceremonial flag pole after an application from a citizen’s group was approved. The flag did not replace a Canadian flag, at least two of which are located nearby.
"This is about the Olympics. This is about supporting our athletes. This is not about your sexual preference. I support our athletes. I support the people who have trained four years to go to Russia, to Sochi in Russia, and there is no reason, no reason I see we should be putting up a Pride flag during the Olympics,” Rob Ford said. “This is about being patriotic to our country. I am not homophobic. I will go to anyone's house, anyone's place to help them out. I take offence when people say that to me. This is Canada. Our Canadian flag should be up there, not the Pride flag."
Added Doug Ford: "You may want to bully us into things, but. That's how I feel sometimes, Rob. I feel like I have been bullied into something."
The insult list
Here is a list of names and insults the Ford brothers hurled at various targets during their show:
- "A bunch of yahoos"
- "A bunch of cowboys"
- "There's a bunch of pigs at the trough"
- "They are bullies"
The Ford Nation hit list
Ford started the show by naming a list of city councillors he wanted to see defeated in the October election. Ford has previously threatened to bring the power of Ford Nation down on various councillors who didn’t support his agenda or spoke out about his personal issues. During a mesmerizing council session in November, during which councillors voted to strip several key powers from the mayor’s office, Ford made bizarre comparisons to the Kuwait war.
“This, folks, reminds me of when ... Saddam (Hussein) attacked Kuwait. And President (George) Bush said, 'I warn you, I warn you, I warn you do not attack.' Well, folks. If you think American-style politics is nasty, you guys have just attacked Kuwait,” Ford said at the time.
“And you will never see something, mark my words, friends. This is going to be outright war in the next election. I will do everything in my power to defeat you guys."
In the Tuesday YouTube video, Ford directly urged viewers not to support at total of 18 councillors, although he conceded his real hit list includes all but five of Toronto’s 44 councillors. The five included Doug Ford – who has said he is not running for re-election.
"These people have gone out of their way to, I think, personally ruin Toronto, increase taxes, strip me of my powers and you know what? It's time to put up or shut up. I've had enough of it."
Here is the list:
- Gord Perks – Ward 14 Parkdale-High Park
- Janet Davis – Ward 31 Beaches-East York
- Adam Vaughan – Ward 20 Trinity—Spadina
- Joe Mihevc – Ward 21, St. Paul's West
- Sarah Doucette – Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park
- Shelley Carroll – Ward 33 - Don Valley East
- Glen Baeremaeker – Ward 38 Scarborough Centre
- Mike Layton – Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina
- Kristen Wong-Tam – Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale
- Paul Ainslie – Ward 43 Scarborough East
- Josh Matlow – Ward 22 St. Paul's
- Mary-Margaret McMahon – Ward 32 Beaches-East York
- Chin Lee – Ward 41 Scarborough-Rouge River
- Raymond Cho – 42 Scarborough-Rouge River
- Paula Fletcher – Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth
- John Filion – Ward 23 Willowdale
- Maria Augimeri – Ward 9 York Centre
- Gloria Lindsay Luby – Ward 4 Etobicoke Centre
Rob Ford took shots at his key mayoral rivals, including several who haven’t officially entered the race. He specifically continued his strategy of attacking conservative John Tory.
"Our friend at CivicAction wants to tax people. The first thing he did when he got in at Queen's Park was to give everyone a 35 per cent pay increase to MPPs. If that's the kind of leader you want. We are talking about John Tory. We are talking about Olivia Chow. The people who are the first ones to give themselves a pay increase. We are talking about the Karen Stintzes who flip-flop from LRTs to subways. We are talking about the David Soknackis that ran the city into debt as the budget chief for David Miller."
The full episode is posted above, so feel free to watch through the whole thing. But with eight months left in the mayoral campaign, you can be sure that the Ford brothers will repeat everything contained within a few more times.
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