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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Councillors say the darnedest things

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Video contains a lot of swear words. You’ve been warned.

Ah, councillor Rob Ford never fails to amaze.

We’ve heard a lot about his run in with the law recently, and a variety of other antics. But a video on YouTube (originally found on Toronto Life’s city hall blog by Philip Preville) highlights his interpersonal skills in a close-up manner.

The video shows city hall reporters scrumming councillor Case Ootes after what appears to be an in-camera vote (I’m unsure of the specific vote). The journalists tell him they know how he voted because Rob Ford told them. Ootes tells the scrum that he hasn’t told Ford how he voted. Journalists call Ford out on this who is hovering in the background.

All hell breaks loose when the Globe and Mail columnist John Barber allegedly says something derogatory, though you never hear it on this video. Coming to Ford’s defense, oddly enough, is councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, who Ford once called Gino Boy.

And then Ford goes on the offensive.

While Ford may have a right to be offended by Barber’s comments if they were indeed made, his actions thereafter seem like a scene out of a low-budget afternoon special on how to avoid the abuse of the high school bully and his sidekick.

The incident is not an accurate depiction on the culture of the current city council, though it certainly demonstrates that a few councillors do not have the best conflict management skills.

I’ll leave the rest of the commentary up to our readers. And I promise to post a video in the future of a city councillor who makes a fabulously rousing speech just to counter the hostility of this clip, even one by Rob Ford. If you’ve got a suggestion, send us the clip link, or paste it in the comments below.



  1. At just after 1:06 in the video, Barber appears to mouth some words without actually uttering them, which sends Ford and Mammotiti into a frenzy. This recording is so high school. It’s embarrassing.

  2. at about 1:06+ you can see barber mouthing SOMETHING at ford.

    from ootes’ comments it sounds like it had something to do with the chief of police.

  3. Does Judge Ted Matlow know about this?

  4. It is pretty clear to me that Barber mouths “you fat f*ck.” Don’t watch Ford from 1:04–1:07, watch Barber’s mouth. And if he doesn’t mouth “you fat f*ck,” he’s certainly mouthing something, which is a strange thing to do to someone when you’re holding up an audio tape recorder.

    I think they both ought to have been embarrassed when this happened. But this video was recorded a few years back, wasn’t it?

  5. Well, it’s because he IS a fat fuck.

    This video was more amusing than it was infuriating, as much as I loathe Rob Ford. He’s unfit to even have a paper route, why is he a city councillor?

  6. I’d love to see the video footage of Lastman dressing down Miller and saying, “you’ll never be mayor of Toronto because you say dumb and stupid things.” . . .

    Oh, I’d love to relive that moment but it’s not on YouTube. Maybe someone has that footage and could share it with the rest of us.

    Any chance that an occasional video entry of councillors’ idiocies make it to these pages?

  7. Bloggers spell the darnedest way. (There are two Es. It’s “most darned.” There is no word “darnd,” unless you have a Web 2.0 application in mind.)

  8. Rob Ford complaining of “verbal assault” is a bit rich.

  9. Sure puts a new spin on John Barber though. It’s odd that it’s taken so long for this to surface. That video dates back to the Fantino contract vote I think – two years?

  10. “And I promise to post a video in the future of a city councillor who makes a fabulously rousing speech”

    Does anyone have video of Sandra Bussin lauding citizen participation at the TTC?

  11. The vote in question was an in-camera decision by the Police Services Board on then-police chief Julian Fantino’s contract.

    The motive here was less about an insult that may or may not have been said than trying to end the line of questioning. Ford uninentionally exposed that Case Ootes had likely disclosed the goings on of an in-camera police board meeting, which is against the law. When the media caught on to that, the Save the Chief campaign moved to cover its collective ass at all costs, even chasing a reporter out of the council chamber.

  12. “Screeching fat f*ck” would be more accurate.

  13. Two years after the fact? Get real, folks.

    Seriously, you like David Miller. We get it. Too bad, you know, Rexdale doesn’t agree with you and has voted for him three times.

    But of course, why would you let facts get in the way of a good story? If memory serves me correctly, wasn’t John Barber condemned for those statements?

    Someday, we’ll live in a real city.

  14. hahaha.

    i am convinced that all our civil servants are morons.

  15. I doubt Rob Ford is the only one to loose it from the stress of working in a poorly planned local government from the Harris-Eves dictatorship. I honestly don`t recall Metro council being this crazy. And if one looks at pictures of Toronto City Hall from before amalgamation the number of seats was much less.

    I hear that there is talk of splitting up the TDSB; maybe we should start a movement to restore true local democracy to the citizens of Toronto. Because after all, what does some remote subdivision in north eastern Scarborough that may have been built only twenty years ago have to do with a much more maturely developed part of the city like Trinity Spadina?

  16. “The motive here was less about an insult that may or may not have been said than trying to end the line of questioning.”

    Adam – that is a frankly disappointing attempt at justification and I wonder that you attempt it. If John Barber used those words in the back of the Council chambers, the context is entirely irrelevant – he said them or he did not.

    We may have given up on Ford and Mammoliti rising to some kind of civil discourse but someone who climbs on horses as high as JB does has more expected from him.

    I watched JB’s jawline on the video and am no expert but it didn’t seem to me to be inconsistent with what he was accused of and the instant backup from Mammoliti would have to have been way too well staged for the wit of either councillor.

    Finally I did not hear JB deny saying it. In his shoes and if I had not said it I would have instantly and vehemently denied making such an ignorant remark while doing my job.

  17. Mark, that certainly wasn’t what I was doing. My point is that Mammoliti and Ford were looking for anything to get out of addressing the question about how the vote of the TPSB was leaked. How you could mistake that for justifying what Barber allegedly said is beyond me.

    If Barber did, in fact, say what is alleged I would be disappointed in him. Mostly because he would have let a personal insult distract from legitimate questions that were asked in the public interest.

  18. But Adam, how could Ford and Mammoliti possibly have expected Barber to say what he said – especially Mammoliti who hadn’t even spoken prior to Barber saying what he said?

    If as you posit we are watching two councillors gang… er… um… colluding in the inciting of a journalist to force a diversion, shouldn’t we have expected the other members of the scrums to, I don’t know, write about it maybe?

  19. This will be my last comment on this because there really isn’t any more to say about something that happened so long ago and has had so little long-term impact.

    The tactic Ford used was to pick a fight to distract from the issue at hand. Either Barber gave him a fight or Mammoliti invented one. I can’t tell you which one it is but it is clear to me that Ford intended to fight his way out of the corner Barber had painted him into well before the alleged comment was made (aggressively calling Barber a “socialist reporter” is what leads me to that conclusion).

  20. Note — all the F-words are sending our spam filter into a tizzy (I think the combo of f*t and F…), even some non-swear comments, strangely. so if you must repeat, say fuddle duddle.