Rob Ford is a work of art. (Photo illustration by Jonathan Goldsbie.)
Asked why he voted against requesting money to repair the homes of the Toronto Community Housing residents he ostensibly supports, Rob Ford said it was pointless, before turning around and making a bet on the Super Bowl.
It was an extremely Rob Ford response to an extremely Rob Ford question.
During City budget deliberations earlier on Thursday, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam moved a pair of motions asking Council to request that the federal and provincial governments include money for affordable housing as part of their own respective upcoming budgets. In particular, her motions called for the other levels of government to each fund a third of the $2.6 billion that the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) requires for capital repairs over the next decade.
The resolutions were largely symbolic, of course, but there was nothing to be lost by voting in favour of them - as indeed every non-Ford member of City Council did. (Giorgio Mammoliti was absent.)
The mayor likes to make a show of fixing TCHC buildings one hole in the ceiling at a time, but fails to grasp what larger, policy-oriented solutions might look like. He perceives problems as a series of particulars, rather than as systemic deficiencies that (in theory) he is in a unique position to address.
In a scrum outside his office, NOW's Ben Spurr pressed him on why he voted as he did.
The video is below, followed by a transcript:
Spurr: There were a couple of motions to ask other levels of government for money for housing. You say you're a big champion of-
Ford (interrupting): Absolutely! I'm the only one that goes into the housing projects and helps these people out.
Spurr: Well, why did you vote against them?
Ford: Why am I gonna go to the federal government, aggravate 'em, and the provincial government and aggravate 'em, when you know that they're not gonna give us, they're not gonna give us the money? Why you gonna sit there and aggravate 'em? They, they-
Councillor Josh Colle (from the rotunda below): Seahawks! Broncos suck!
Another voice from rotunda: Seahawks!
CP24's Cristina Tenaglia (explaining to viewers what's going on): We have some Super Bowl fans down below...
Ford leans over railing.
Ford: Okay. No bets? Take care.
Colle: How much? How much?
Ford: What do you want to put on the game?
Tenaglia (conscious that the scrum is being broadcast live): Maybe, Mayor, maybe-
Ford: Straight up!
Tenaglia: -we could come back to them in a moment, Mayor.
Ford: Straight up!
Colle: How much?
Ford: Fifty bucks.
Colle: Let's do... 20.
Ford: Twenty. Denver. Okay. Alright. (returns attention to scrum, tries to start wrapping it up) Okay, guys, I...
Tenaglia: Mayor, about your three Council colleagues, really quickly, who wanted to kill the Scarborough subway expansion...