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The Globe and Mail

There's promise on the waterfront, however far-fetched

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail



The mayor's office, City Hall. Mayor Rob Ford sits at a vast boardroom table with his brother, councillor Doug Ford, and his chief of staff, Amir Remtulla. Doug Ford swigs from a bottle of Coca-Cola.

The Mayor: Dougie, what's all this I'm hearing about the waterfront?

Remtulla: Mr. Mayor, I briefed you about -

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Doug Ford [interrupting] I'll handle this. The waterfront is being controlled by a cabal of career bureaucrats running out the clock until their pensions kick in. We need to fire them and get it back into the hands of the private sector.

The Mayor: What does the private sector wanna do with it?

Doug Ford: They want to build … [pausing for dramatic effect]… a football stadium!

The Mayor [jumping up and down, wiping a tear from his eyes] Dougie, you're the best big brother a little brother could -

Doug Ford [interrupting] Not for the boys at Don Bosco Secondary, Rob. We're talking NFL. This is a big money proposition.

The Mayor: You saying my boys don't have what it takes?

Remtulla: The optics of the mayor's own team getting an NFL franchise -

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Doug Ford [interrupting] This is about money, Rob.

The Mayor: How much should we charge for the stadium?

Doug Ford [angry] Nothing, you idiot! The city will pay for it. I'm talking about development.

The Mayor [rubbing his hands together] As in a new mall?

Doug Ford: As in parking.

The Mayor: And none of those newfangled skinny parking spots where if you park three SUVs in a row the driver in the middle has to climb out the sunroof.

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Doug Ford: There'll be restaurants, too. McDonald's, Quiznos, Subway and some classy places, too, like East Side Mario's or Kelsey's.

The Mayor: This is going to be so awesome.

Doug Ford: And a monorail.

The Mayor [perplexed] Wha?

Doug Ford: It's like a train, but there's only one track.

The Mayor: Doesn't it tip over?

Remtulla: Actually, it -

Doug Ford [interrupting] Monorails are cheaper.

The Mayor: How deep should we bury it?

Doug Ford: You can't bury something that close to the water.

The Mayor: So it'll be…

Doug Ford [wincing] …above ground.

The Mayor [eyes wide, cheeks flushed, mouth agape] I … I don't know you any more.

Doug Ford: You don't understand. This was a developer's idea.

The Mayor: You're dead to me.

For an hour, the brothers stare angrily at their feet, refusing to make eye contact, while Remtulla gives them imploring looks. Finally, Remtulla speaks.

Remtulla: What if we build the monorail above ground, but then mound earth overtop of it?

The Mayor: Could cars drive on top of the mound?

Remtulla: I see no reason why -

Doug Ford [interrupting] I can live with that.

The Mayor: I love it.

Remtulla: Then it's settled.

All three men smile and shake hands. Doug Ford takes a celebratory swig from his Coke.

The Mayor [leaning back in his chair and perching his feet on the boardroom table] I can't wait to see one of those monorails tip over.

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