After appearing at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series Friday, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford spoke to reporters about why he personally asked top city officials to order road repairs outside his family business in time to mark the 50th anniversary of Deco Labels and Tags.
Elizabeth Church, The Globe and Mail: Why did you personally ask staff to do paving outside your family business?
Ford: They didn't do any paving. Let me cut to the chase here. This is very simple. Like I've done over the last 12 years, if there's potholes, they have to get fixed. If you go up to Greensboro [where the Ford family business, Deco Labels and Tags, is located,] I think you can see it quite evidently, the edges of the road, there's huge pieces of concrete, uh, asphalt that were missing. The culverts were ripped up. That's city work that had to be done. Deco didn't get any preferential treatment here. I have done this over and over and over when people call me. Potholes should be fixed in the city between three and five days. We waited three to four years. And, whoever's saying that we jumped the queue is an outright liar. We never jumped the queue. We just wanted to have the road fixed because we had hundreds of people coming. And if someone twists their ankle, the first thing that people would say [would be] 'Well, you knew there was potholes there and you never called them in.' That's all we did."
Church: Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong [an ally of the mayor] says you need to separate your role with the business and your role as ....
Ford: So what am I supposed to do?
Church: Get someone else from Deco to call.
Ford: Okay, you know what? Then they'd be saying that we're hiding behind someone at Deco. I have nothing to hide. We went out there, no, hold on. We went out there and got the potholes fixed. What is the prudent thing to do when you're hosting a party. You want someone to twist their ankle on a city road? No. 'Cause then we'd be sued. So I, we didn't get anything done out of taxpayers' money, it didn't cost ... the taxpayers had to pay for, obviously, to fix the road, but that had to be done anyways. And when you're hosting a party, that's the prudent thing to do. You don't let someone twist an ankle when you know you're hosting hundreds of people. So that's the bottom line."
Reporter: Was this scheduled work Mayor Ford?
Ford: No pothole's scheduled. When you go out, when someone calls me, I've been doing for years and years and years, someone calls me and says, 'Here, got out and fix it.' I do it for hundreds and thousands of businesses. I've done it for hundreds and thousands of homeowners. If someone has a pothole in front of their house, in front of their business, I got out and fix it, just like I did for our company. Nothing, there was no difference here."
Reporter: Don't you understand about the optics of this?
Ford: "There's no optics. There is no optics."
Councillor Doug Ford interjects: "Why don't you trying calling on your street? We'll be there in five minutes."