Silence the Fords? Fat chance
City Councillor Paul Ainslie may have earned the Boy Scout Badge of Bravery for taking on Mayor Rob Ford, but trying to silence him is too big a fight.
In this week’s episode of the Ford soap opera (cue dramatic organ music here), the mayor robocalled Ainslie’s Ward 43 constituents, saying Ainslie betrayed them by voting against a Scarborough subway.
A few hours earlier, Ainslie quit Ford’s executive committee before the mayor could sack him for straying from the flock. Ainslie says it is Ford who has lost his way, calling him a bully and a liar.
Ford blushed at the compliment.
Ainslie complained to the city’s integrity commissioner about the calls. It may have improved his spirits but did not dampen Ford’s enthusiasm for robocalling; the mayor told his weekly radio show listeners he’ll keep using them to inform residents, a threat cloaked in lamb’s wool to other seditious councillors.
He could have let things cool off, but Ainslie poked Ford in the eye, sending a letter to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council last week, saying the Sunday radio show hosted by the Ford Bros. on NewsTalk 1010 should be removed from the airwaves.
It is admirable for a former Boy Scout with no experience in street brawling to square off against a guy who is twice his size, and his karate expert brother, but he has zero chance of winning.
The Fords haven't broken any broadcasting rules, and a mild rebuke would be the worst outcome of Ainslie’s complaint to the integrity commissioner.
You can argue that two hours on the radio every week to bash political opponents (and newspapers) is an unfair advantage, but the point needs to be made by someone other than Ainslie, who has too big an axe to grind.
Besides, why would anyone want them off the air?
I know I’m not the only one who enjoys their urbane banter, especially when friendly callers lob them beach balls (thanks for giving Scarborough a subway, eh) or when they provide elegant explanations of municipal finance.
The program is so riveting that I sometimes tune in for five or 10 minutes.
For the fence sitters who elected Ford last time and will decide the 2014 election, it’s a good way to get to know the real Rob and Doug, if they need further proof of their qualifications.
And with the mayor’s bon vivant lifestyle, there’s always a newsy topic like photographs or the misfortunes of good guys to talk about, or not.
If it was up to me, the Ford Show would not be silenced. You don’t have to listen for long to learn a lot.