The mayor called in to Newstalk 1010 last night to explain his stance on banishing those convicted of gun crimes from Toronto. Here’s a transcript of what he said.
Councillor Doug Ford is known to place spontaneous calls to talk radio shows on which he is being (often critically) discussed.
Last night, Mayor Rob Ford felt a similar compulsion.
Friendly Fire is a show hosted by Ryan Doyle and John Downs on Newstalk 1010 (the same station on which the mayor hosts his own show). It runs weeknights from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. On Thursday’s episode, the hosts were discussing—as many of us were—the recent comments made by the mayor regarding what the Star had termed his “unusual banishment proposal.”
In particular, Doyle and Downs were having difficulty understanding just how and why Ford was drawing a connection between Monday’s Danzig Street shooting and Canada’s immigration laws, especially given that there is no reason to believe any of the people responsible were immigrants. “Well, he seems to be drawing a link between immigration and gun crime,” Downs said. “So, how is that link being drawn, why is he drawing that link? It just seems extremely bizarre. So it’d be great if he could explain himself on that one, I’m curious to know if other people are not a little confused as to why he is calling on the prime minister to clarify Canada’s immigration laws so we can crack down on gun crime.”
Shortly afterward, the mayor phoned in, but the hosts—either unable to hear him or skeptical that it was actually him—dropped the call. (“Hi. It’s Rob. Hello. Yeah, it’s Rob Ford. Hello?” he had said.)
Eventually, the mayor phoned back. And, in his own special way, he explained himself. It begins at about 25:00 minutes into this mp3.
(Doyle and Downs are rather difficult to distinguish based on their voices alone; so while we’ve tried to use contextual clues to determine who was speaking, some lines may still be misattributed to the wrong host.)
Doyle: We’ve also been talking about the mayor, Mayor Rob Ford, who says he will ask the prime minister to look at using immigration laws to banish convicted gang members from Toronto. And I believe the mayor has called in to the show tonight. Uh, Mayor Ford, how are you?
Ford: Good, Ryan, how are you?
Doyle: Good. What, what are your issues tonight, and if you could maybe clarify what you were trying to convey toward the media, towards—
Ford: I wanna clarify what John was saying. I said I’m gonna, I have called, uh, the prime minister to find out if there’s any laws with respect to the immigration and citizenship, um, status and the city. So people are caught—I don’t care if you’re white, pink, or purple, I don’t care what country you’re from, I don’t care if you’re Canadian citizen or not—all I’m saying is, if you’re caught with a gun and convicted of a gun crime, I want you out of this city. And the portfolio for cabinet ministers is Immigration and Citizenship. So I don’t think the other half of my statement came out quite clearly: it has nothing to do particularly with immigration or where you come from, which I think John was trying to say. All I want to do is getting information, which I’m not an expert on—I’m sure nobody is right now, until we talk to the minister, and I can only get that information to the prime minister’s office. So I put a call, uh, into the PMO, and to get that information, maybe, you know, maybe we don’t have a leg to stand on, but I’m gonna do everything in my power to find out, you know, if we can, umm, get rid of these people when they get out of jail. I don’t want ‘em livin’ in this city, so I just wanna clarify the same portfolio is called ‘Immigration and Citizenship,’ it’s not just ‘Immigration,’ so—
Downs: So what do you mean, though, could you clarify in terms of the citizenship angle here: are you suggesting that you want to revoke citizenship, or what is it you’re—
Ford: No. Well, maybe, maybe, um, maybe you can clarify things, John, with me. Umm, when you have a status in a country, what portfolio does that fall under? Your address, your date of birth, your, uh, country of origin. I’m pretty sure it falls under Citizenship. And the portfolio that—
Downs: Well, if you’re, if you’re Canadian born?
Ford: Yeah, well, obviously, your status is obviously under ‘Canadian.’
Downs: Well, when would a Canadian, when would a Canadian citizen like yourself for example, you were born in this country, when did you ever deal with Immigration and Citizenship?
Ford: Well, anytime. If you get in problems in another country, they try to look at your status, I’m saying, what, who—
Downs: That, that’s Foreign Affairs.
Ford: Okay, whoever it may be, that’s what I’m saying. Maybe I’m not an expert on, uh, you know, the ministries, but all I’m saying is if it’s Foreign Affairs or if it’s, uh, Immigration and Citizenship, I want to talk to the PMO, find out if we can—and maybe we can’t—but I’m just trying to, um, clarify that if you’re caught with a gun and convicted of a gun crime, I do not want you living in this city anymore.
Ford: And to find out that information, you have to go, uh, through the PMO, and that’s what I’m doing. So, um, I’m not, I’m not an expert in this, but I am trying to resolve the issue that’s at hand here.
Downs: Mayor Ford, just to be clear here, we’re not talking about you having any inside information as to knowing the immigration status of a suspected shooter or anything to that effect…?
Ford: No, it has nothing to do with that. All I’m saying is I think people have had enough. When I walked through, I call that ‘war zone’ on Monday morning, um, it was—I was mad. I was upset at the beginning, but I was mad, and ’cause I said, ‘This is not the city we live in,’ and um, I said I’ll do anything in my power, um, to deal with this issue. And a lot of people just said, ‘Rob, like, why are they living in this city, no matter who they are?’ I don’t care if you’re Canadian born, I don’t care if you’re a Canadian citizen, I don’t care if you’re an immigrant, I don’t care if you’re refugee, it doesn’t matter to me. If you’re convicted of a gun crime, I do not want you living in this city. And the only way I can find out whether that’s legal or not, or whether we can enforce that, is through, uh, the PMO, and that’s what I’m doing. So, uh, I’m meeting with the premier on Monday to deal with funding for TAVIS [the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy]. And, um, hopefully next week I’ll be, uh, meeting with the prime minister. So I just want to clarify that, ’cause what I heard driving home is not, uh, is not what I said.
Doyle: I-I-I’m still a little confused, but I appreciate you calling. While we’ve got you on the line, I just want to see if we can get your reaction, the premier’s saying—this is according to the Toronto Star—as warning Toronto Mayor Rob Ford not to expect a quick infusion of cash for more cops when you meet next week.
Ford: I just wanna meet with, uh, the premier. Um, I talked to him Monday morning as I was driving to the scene. He was willing to meet with me, which is a great step, and it’s, at least we’re working in a positive direction. And, uh, TAVIS is doing a great job. I think, John, what the problem is, is people don’t give, uh, enough credit to the police when they, when they break in and raid all the guns. We got over, what is it, 200 guns off the street in the last month? They raid all, but no one, you know, gives them, uh, credit for that. All they talk is about the negative things, all I’m saying is TAVIS is working; I deal with, uh, TAVIS all the time. And, uh, I think we need more TAVIS officers out there dealing with the guns and gangs. And the only way we can get that is through the provincial government. The premier said, ‘Yes, Rob, I’m willing to meet with you.’ I’ll be there at 2 or 3 o’clock on Monday, umm, to listen what he says. You know, is it guaranteed that he’s gonna write out a cheque for a few million dollars? No. But at least, uh, I got the ball rolling, and I’m, and I’m being proactive instead of reactive.
Doyle: What have, what have, I mean it’s gonna be a tough sell to the premier, by the sounds of it, at the very least if he’s if he’s cool already to the idea of, you know, not getting, giving you any more money for these police officers. Is there another step, is there another plan? Because, you know, getting money out of the provincial government, it might be like getting money, blood from a stone.
Ford: [laughs] I have to try, and as the mayor, um, I can’t sit back and and, uh, just you know, ah well, turn a blind eye to it, I’m not one like that. I’m gonna go after these, I’m gonna take these thugs on. I call ‘em cowards, spineless cowards that use our city as a shooting gallery, and I’m gonna try, I’m gonna do my very best just like you would or any responsible person would in my shoes to, uh, take care of this problem. And, going back to what I said originally, if you’re convicted of a gun crime, why should you be allowed to live in this city? You shouldn’t! I don’t care where you live, I don’t care if you have family, friends—get out of this city!
Downs: Well you know that the right to, to settle wherever you want within any province in the country, uh, is enshrined in the Charter of Rights, and I don’t think the prime minister is gonna be able to change that.
Ford: Well, you know what, John, um maybe you’re an expert at that, and… [laughs]
Downs: I’m certainly not an expert in constitutional law!
Ford: John, I wish I was as smart as you are, but I’m not, so…
Downs: [laughing] Let’s not get crazy here, Mr. Mayor.
Ford: I-I-I’m trying to do the best I can, and uh, I’m being proactive, so I am meeting with the premier, trying to get money, and I believe the money should be spent on getting these TAVIS officers. I’ve seen the results: uh, they, uh, they get the gangs, they get the guns off our streets, and I’ve seen that, and that’s what I measure investment by. We’re spending money, that’s a smart investment.
Doyle: Mr. Mayor, let me ask you one more question, because normally you know I’m a pretty big supporter of yours, and we don’t have much that we disagree on, but last night we talked a little about the fact that you voted against this 350, I think it was 350 million dollars that the federal government had offered to continue a program. [It was actually $350,000.] Do you have any regrets, now that we see that we’ve had shootings and you’ve talked about the solution being jobs, that program, obviously, encouraged at-risk youth to get into jobs and help the transition—do you have any regrets by voting against that? I know it passed, but any personal regrets?
Ford: Not at all. Not at all. These grants, to me, I call them ‘hug-a-thug programs.’ Um, you have to measure, in the private sector, we call it, it’s metrics. Um, you know what. If you invest money, and you don’t see a result, you can’t measure, um, how many jobs they got back. Last time I checked, they didn’t get any jobs back from all this investment. And I turn around and say, well, we have to increase taxes by, you know, umm, two and a half percent last year, property tax is goin’ up three or four percent. So if we have to increase taxes, but on the other hand, we’re handing out $50 million in free money.
Doyle: But that was, that was federal money, though.
Ford: There’s only one tax—this is, there’s only one taxpayer. Provincial, federal, or municipal, it still comes out of your right pocket or your left pocket. So it doesn’t matter what level of government, it still is only one taxpayer. And I don’t believe in handing out $50 million in free money to have these so-called ‘hug-a-thug’ programs. I’d rather have that money spent on hiring police officers that can produce results.
Downs: So are you saying, though, are you saying that when this cash goes into these programs, that any young person who takes part in those programs is already a thug?
Ford: No, I’m not saying that, I’m saying I want to see results. They’re saying well, you know, we get all these kids jobs and all that. Well, out of that $300,000, I haven’t seen one job created.
Downs: Well, isn’t it misleading to call it a ‘hug-a-thug’ program when we’re talking about little kids who don’t have any records?
Ford: No no, it’s not little kids, you just said it, it’s, it’s, it’s kids that are in trouble with the law and kids that are carrying guns around, I call ‘em thugs. I call ‘em cowards. And if you’re gonna pay these so-called social workers to go out and, you know, give ‘em a hug and say, ‘Here, we’ll help you out,’ and at the end of the day you’re not getting’ ‘em a job, the best social program is a job, and, uh, I can’t, uh, sit here and sit back and say I’m gonna give $50 million away on these programs when there is no measurement, you cannot measure the results. So there’s no, uh, matrix, as we’d say in the private sector… umm, there’s so, uh, I totally disagree with handing out $50 million of free money, when no jobs are created. I’d rather lower the commercial property taxes to encourage people to come to this city and create jobs.
Doyle: Mr. Mayor, we appreciate you callin’ in, and we’re glad we’re your choice when you’re drivin’ home. Thank you!
Ford: Thanks a lot.
Doyle: There you go. Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, tonight.