By Edward Keenan
Rob Ford likes to say he’s a mayor who can be judged on the mantra “promises made, promises kept.” And his brother continues to call him “the most honest politician in Canada.” But from where we’re standing, it appears the mayor has actually broken quite a few promises, and told a lot of lies. So many lies. So many broken promises. Some large, some small. Some serious, some absurd. Many people have debunked claims and fact-checked statements, but as Ford prepares to campaign for re-election on his record, we thought, why not make a modest, ongoing effort to compile them? This, in the spirit of Andrew Sullivan’s long-running quest to detail the many lies of Sarah Palin, and at the suggestion of Kevin Wilson, is a regular feature documenting the trail of untruths and lost hopes. We’ll add more every day.
One of the first incidents in which Rob Ford was caught telling an emphatic lie that was easily disproven was way back before he became mayor, in 2006. For a recap, we can simply refer to a single CBC story from that time that outlined the incident from beginning to end. It all started when a couple complained about a drunken, abusive Rob Ford sitting beside them at a hockey game:
According to a couple sitting nearby, Ford was boisterous and insulting, shouting obscenities before he and a companion were escorted out of the arena by security guards.
The offended couple has written a two-page complaint to the city. Dan and Rebecca Hope of Enniskillen, Ont., say they didn’t know Ford was a city councillor and have no political axe to grind.
(The complaint, not detailed in the CBC story, included allegations Ford called the couple “right-wing commies” and asked the man if he wanted his “little wife to go over to Iran to get raped and shot.” Also that he handed out business cards.)
When asked by the press about it, he denied the whole thing outright and suggested someone was out to get him:
He told the [National] Post at the time he hadn’t been to a hockey game since Christmas. He continued his denials this week when the Toronto Star picked up the story. “This is unbelievable,” he told the Star. “I wasn’t even at the game, so someone’s trying to do a real hatchet job on me, let me tell you.”
Of course, that was a lie. As he admitted when it became clear he was going to get caught:
But Tuesday, Ford made a 180-degree turn, admitting he had lied about the incident and apologizing for his behaviour at the hockey game. “I reflected on it last night, and talked to my family. I came forward and admitted it. That’s all I can do. I mean, I’m not perfect,” said Ford.
The gist of that apology would become familiar in subsequent years. As we’ll see as we go along.
Photo: In May 2013, Rob Ford wears his Maple Leafs jersey while greeting a constituent on McHappy Day. Edward Keenan/The Grid.
Read more of Rob Ford’s Weird Lies and Broken Promises here.