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Are Rob Ford's views on immigration actually racist?

Posted by Tomasz Bugajski / August 19, 2010

Rob Ford mayorAt Tuesday's CP24 mayoral debate Rob Ford made his latest controversial statement. "We can't even deal with the 2.5 million people in this city. It's more important that we take care of the people now before we start bringing in more," he remarked when the candidates were probed about their opinions regarding the recent Tamil migrants who arrived on Canada's west coast this last week.

His political opponents quickly pounced, though this is only the latest in a series of intolerant sounding remarks. Let us recall his comment that "Orientals work like dogs," or the misinformed notion that "If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn't get AIDS probably, that's the bottom line"?

This is great material for candidates trying to score points against a candidate who might just be the frontrunner.

So is Ford a racist? It does sound like it sometimes. And who knows? He might be. But what about Tuesday's comments?

Ford's platform is based on the premise that this city is broken, in chaos, and incapable of taking care of itself as currently constituted. If you subscribe to this diagnosis, then you'd probably see any new people coming to this city as a problem.

Rob Ford RacistA careful look at the transcript reveals that Ford never said anything specifically about Tamils. He said he opposed Toronto's Official Plan, which foresees the city growing by a million people in the next 10 years. His point, as I understand it, was that more people in general are the problem -- not specifically Tamils or foreign immigrants.

Questioning the wisdom behind these words is something that should (perhaps must) be done, but the statement itself is not, strictly speaking, racist.

I don't often agree with Ford, but he's right to claim that the framing of his comments as prejudicial is mostly "spin and political gamesmanship."

On Wednesday, in what seemed like something more out of reality TV than a serious political campaign, Rocco Rossi tried to confront Ford live on TV at City Hall about his statements. Ford fled the scene as Rossi began speaking, calling the encounter a "political game."

Rossi and Sarah Thomson even staged a joint "rally" on Wednesday to denounce Ford -- though it was more of a press conference scattered with their political supporters holding pro-immigration and anti-Ford signs.

"How many times are we going to let him show his intolerance and true prejudice?" Thomson asked.

Rob Ford RacistBoth candidates were careful with their words. They never directly called Ford a racist, but their speeches certainly suggested it.

On Wednesday George Smitherman said Ford "should hang his head in shame." And Joe Patalone said he wants him withdraw his statement.

Ford is anything but a smooth talking politician who always knows how to express himself in a crowd pleasing way. But it's silly to exaggerate his remarks and use them to say he's a racist -- at least not until there's a real smoking gun. I think this not only for honesty's sake, but because the publicity is only raising his profile.

Photos by the author.



oh for f's sake / August 19, 2010 at 09:02 am
First of all, it ain't racist, so everybody needs to stfu and move on.

But how come nobody is taking on the utter stupidity of the statement?
Nobody can control where an immigrant decides to unpack his suitcase.
News Flash / August 19, 2010 at 09:12 am
Toronto isn't a gated community.
Ryan L. / August 19, 2010 at 09:12 am
Is Ford racist? Based off of things he's said in the past, probably.

Is this statement racist? Not necessarily. It depends on what Ford's intentions were when he said it. Is he concerned about an increased population or that new groups of people who he feels would mooch off an already strained system?

Based off of his history, he probably didn't have the best intentions in mind when he uttered that statement, but are we able to tell other than just assuming?: No.
Rob / August 19, 2010 at 09:12 am
PATHETIC attempt by his miserable competition to pull the race card!

He was simply stating that Toronto's services are already stretched to their limit.

By the way, the 2.5 million Torontonians he spoke know, the ones we need to TAKE CARE OF...include every race, sexual orientation, gender and religion under the sun...
MTL replying to a comment from oh for f's sake / August 19, 2010 at 09:13 am
Not only that, but is a person who moves to Toronto from, say, Montreal also considered an "immigrant?"
Meaghan / August 19, 2010 at 09:14 am
It's politics. Bash the front runner so the other candidates will have a chance. The next guy that takes the reigns as the front runner will then get bashed as well. If Ford was in last, nobody would give a damn.
MTL replying to a comment from Meaghan / August 19, 2010 at 09:15 am
Agreed. It's all just the silliness of Municipal (or "All") politics. People who support Ford don't care, people who don't support him wouldn't have voted for him anyway, and we all grow a little stupider in the process.
Ratpick / August 19, 2010 at 09:16 am
Agree with first comment. Not racist at all -- but utterly stupid.

This guy is interesting as a city councillor side-show, but as mayor he would be another embarrassing disaster.

j-rock replying to a comment from oh for f's sake / August 19, 2010 at 09:21 am
Exactly. Focusing on whether or not it is racist distracts from the fact that it's more dumb than anything else. And it also allows his supporters to dismiss any criticism being as a left-wing smear job. I don't think that Rob Ford is a racist. I do however, think he's an idiot.
Rob / August 19, 2010 at 09:22 am
I don't think they come out as racist but are not explained properly and misinformed.

As for the debate comment, Toronto does have a hard enough time taking care of its own people and providing services for people to the point that the 905 is forced to pay into Toronto's social services program.

However, immigration is federal jurisdiction and thanks to the mobility rights in the Charter, not even the feds can tell people where to live.

I think this particular part of the Charter is problematic. For example, back in the early days of Confederation the government essentially bribed immigrants to live out West to help populate the country.

It would be cool to find a way to get around this part of the Charter and get new immigrants to settle in other parts of the country instead of just Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

I also think such a scheme would probably have to go hand in hand with a revamped immigration system (and working with the provinces) that brings in qualified people and finds immediate work in their field away from the larger cities.

I also think it's very easy for the other candidates to jump on one guy to deflect attention from themselves. Instead of lamenting about Ford why not show us what you would do as Mayor with social services....take the higher ground. Don't settle for scoring cheap political points. Doing stuff like this only galvanizes Ford supporters and his campaign.

Justin / August 19, 2010 at 09:24 am
Ford = Canadian Sarah Palin.

This man is a complete moron and anyone who thinks he has even half of what it takes to run this city is a moron as well.
The Shakes / August 19, 2010 at 09:25 am
Whether this particular statement has undertones of racism or not is beyond moot (i.e. this poll is stupid). Ford's history shows that he is a despicable lout (i.e. no poll needed). At the end of the day he is tapping into the anger people have against Miller. As long as gullible people buy Ford's rhetoric and lip-service, he never needs to answer, the true question - HOW DOES HE PLAN TO "FIX" THIS CITY?

That's what any Ford supporter should be asking themselves before they vote for him. If Ford wins, the Provincial and Federal governments are going to run as far away from him as they can, for fear of catching foot in mouth disease. And with them will go a lot of the city's funding. No matter how successful Ford is at cutting cost, he will NEVER be able to save enough to cover that short fall. So much for "FIXING" the city.

So can all you gullible Ford supporters please try voting with your brain, instead of with the jerk of your knee?
Robyn / August 19, 2010 at 09:26 am
I rarely agree with Ford, but the man has a point. Toronto, as the recipient of a majority of the country’s immigrants, has to deal with the majority of costs resulting from a federal policy, be that settlement costs or infrastructure. But you can’t shut the gates to the city, so the question that Ford is rightly raising is does Toronto get its fair share from the federal government to cover the costs of the immigration policy? Of course, Toronto also reaps the majority of benefits that result from immigration, so it’s a bit of a circular argument, but good on Ford for raising the question. It’s too bad that the other candidates are politicking too much to engage in debate about this.
Bob / August 19, 2010 at 09:28 am
It's like high school. The other candidates are jealous because Fords more popular than them so they have to bring him down. They're all a bunch of mean girls.
Gabe / August 19, 2010 at 09:36 am
Well, racism-debate aside, Mr Ford's statement is short-sighted on many levels - and shows (yet again) that, despite his years as a Councillor, his urban planning knowledge is surprisingly pedestrian.

It's seldom heard that Toronto is over-populated because it's not. In fact, especially in the periphery (Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough), density is arguably too low to sustain. Toronto's Official Plan reflects this.

Just to compare hard municipal services for a 40-foot lot (typical suburban residential frontage) with a 20-foot lot (typical "downtown" lot) we need twice the water/sewage line, twice the paving, sidewalk, snow-clearing, twice the hydro lines - whatever...

Higher density neighbourhoods (and we've generally accepted this from brilliant observers like Jane Jacobs for more than 50 years) is helpful in sustaining public safety, community-cohesion, and general economics - including small business growth.

So to suggest that Toronto becomes a "refugee-free zone" - especially to curb population - is absurd or at least short-sighted. What's next? How about baby-limits? Commuter-limits? Tourist-limits? Or let's just arbitrarily banish a few people (Mr Ford would probably know how many)...

Frankly, it's not stuff I personally want to hear from the Mayor's Office.

j-rock / August 19, 2010 at 09:37 am
Voting for a reactionary candidate because you're angry with the current administration is like going to the grocery store when you're hungry. Whether you wind up with a 5 kg bag or pork rinds in your cupboard, or a fat moron as mayor, you're going to regret it later.
marc replying to a comment from oh for f's sake / August 19, 2010 at 09:39 am
Only God and Rob Ford know if he is racist. In today's politically correct world, accusing an individual of being a racist is usually intended to be a "verbal karate chop" to shut that person up and not allow him to speak his mind, a method to prevent free speech. I don't think that his comments are racist, and I agree with Rob Ford, that in principle, we should manage the people that are current legitimate residents, before committing to "fence jumpers". Sadly, many will believe that he is a racist because of the media coverage. I live in MIssissauga and not in Toronto, but if I lived in Toronto I would vote for Ford for his straighforwardness to articulate his ideology, and going against the politically correct grain of the day. Ford has balls, the other candidates are playing political games, and calling him racist. I would never vote for a candidate that accuses others of being racist without strong evidence. The other are shameful to play this game
Malcolm replying to a comment from j-rock / August 19, 2010 at 09:46 am
Ford's popularity is as much a reaction to the arrogance and cronyism of the Miller era, just as Miller's was a reaction to the sleaze and corruption of the Lastman years. It's the message, not the candidate, that's earning voters. If someone more articulate (and I suppose, thinner and more photogenic) was pushing that agenda,they, and not Ford, would be the frontrunner.
Ryan L. replying to a comment from Robyn / August 19, 2010 at 09:46 am
Using Tamil's as an example of people mooching off the system I'd say is a perfect example of racism.

If you accurately comment on a particular group's work ethic, you might be unfairly generalizing, but wouldn't necessarily be all that racist.

But the Tamil's aren't even one of those groups that come from an area with a different type of work ethic. In my experience, Tamil's have a great work ethic and make every opportunity to learn the language and contribute to society.

Ignorantly claiming that a group of hardworking individuals would be a burden on society so you can make a comment against immigration is just flat out racist.
as if / August 19, 2010 at 09:50 am
While his comments may not in fact be racist, they are highly inflammatory and narrow minded. Rob Ford is attempting to become the mayor of one of the most racially, economically, and culturally diverse cities on the planet and he clearly has a problem accepting and understanding anyone outside of his small circle of comfort; i.e. straight, white, male. I think it is incredibly difficult to take him seriously as a mayoral candidate for the City of Toronto if he can not adjust to the reality of the city's makeup.
Robert La Grange / August 19, 2010 at 09:53 am
This is ridiculous. Nobody seems interested in hearing what Ford says- only in trying to catch him in a "gotcha" moment. Pathetic.

Ford said that Toronto's house is not in order. That is correct. If 1 million newcomers arrive in Toronto and there are no meaningful jobs for them, then we have failed them. That means we need to build this city back up so when newcomers arrive, they have real job prospects in a city that's growing and prosperous.
Rob / August 19, 2010 at 09:55 am
On another note, which I'm sure will be on BlogTO in about 5 seconds, Ford just admitted to being busted for marijuana possession in Florida in 1999...god help
Rob / August 19, 2010 at 09:56 am
my apologies...marijuana bust AND breathalyzer conviction!
Allen / August 19, 2010 at 09:58 am
Its pretty clear Ford is not on a racist rant here but rather is very concerned about the glaring lack of infastructure TO has to support an additional 1 million people. A colleague of mine has worked for numerous years as an ER doctor in Toronto and is appauled by his hospitals growing inability to handle the sheer volume of people coming in on a daily basis. If the next mayor does not have transportation and municipal infrastructure spending/planning at the top of their agenda they might as well pack their asses up and not even run! "The shakes" makes a good point above, and until Ford articulates his plan to "fix" these problems we shouldn't be sold on lip service and rehtoric either.
Elizabeth replying to a comment from Justin / August 19, 2010 at 10:00 am
Agreed! If he's not a racist, he's certainly anti-immigration/anti-refugee which is ridiculous, given the makeup and history of this city, and this country.
TheWord / August 19, 2010 at 10:02 am
I'm not even sure why this is on the table. As far as I know immigration is a federal issue - municipal and provincial levels of government have no say on immigration issues. I could be wrong, so feel free to correct me.
BH / August 19, 2010 at 10:05 am
Oh please. This was clearly dog-whistle racism. The specific content of the statement may not have been racist but the context in which it was said leaves no question. The "we have too many people" discussion only comes up (as it came up this time) when the discussion is about immigrants and refugees. Rob Ford has never said "Oh, we need to stop all these new people coming here from Kingston and Winnipeg!"

The statement was racist. If you can't see past the fact that he didn't explicitly say "I hate members of ethnic minority X" then you have a simple mind.

That being said, the more IMPORTANT problem with the statement is its utter stupidity. I mean, so what if you think the city has too many people? What are you going to do, put up a "LOT FULL" sign at the city limits? How about we get a mayor who actually tries to plan for city growth rather than pretending that it's possible to stop it.
RonCola / August 19, 2010 at 10:10 am
Everyone is a little bit racist and no one admits it. Ford is brave b/c he says whats on his mind.

Ask a non-SouthAsian or non-black person, why don't you move to Brampton and most of the time you'll get an "are you crazy?!?!" look. Why is that?
Rob replying to a comment from TheWord / August 19, 2010 at 10:10 am

...because Ford's sleazy competition brought it up in hopes of him saying something "controversial", and it worked!
EricM / August 19, 2010 at 10:19 am
Yes they are.
oh for f's sake replying to a comment from BH / August 19, 2010 at 10:21 am
Yeah, Toronto only gets non-white immigrants. Righhhhhhhhhhhht.

This is a mountain out of a nonexistent molehill.
warmflash / August 19, 2010 at 10:22 am
I can't wait to see who -- if anyone -- shows up at this rally against Rob Ford. Speaking of which, I wonder if the soon to be Mayor Ford will be attending next year's Marijuana March.
Paul / August 19, 2010 at 10:23 am
I think there is a big point that's also being missed here. Yes, clearly the mayor/city council has absolutely nothing to do with the immigration policies of the country of Canada.

The point is, while answering questions at the mayoral debate someone asked directly for the panelists to comment on the role of refugees in the city. He was asked an honest question, and (whether you agree or disagree) he gave an honest answer. Whenever these two line quotes are used to disparage people in the media, context is always critical.
hbr replying to a comment from MTL / August 19, 2010 at 10:24 am
Not if they're an Canadian citizen, genius...
hbr replying to a comment from MTL / August 19, 2010 at 10:26 am
Why is it when White people comment on race, it's racist...and when ethnic say similar things it's considered a cultural difference?
MTL replying to a comment from hbr / August 19, 2010 at 10:29 am
What if they're a resident, dipshit?
BH replying to a comment from oh for f's sake / August 19, 2010 at 10:35 am
Well the Tamil immigrants they were talking about aren't white, most of the refugees that Ford wants to ban from the city aren't white, and as far as I know Ford has never said he wants to stop the tide of predominantly-white immigrants from Australia.

So yeah I'm going to go ahead and stick with my original assessment: his comments were pretty racist.
oh for f's sake replying to a comment from BH / August 19, 2010 at 10:43 am
What kind of glue are you on because I want some.

Just because the f'ing refugees they were talking about happen to be Tamil doesn't mean he's racist for saying Toronto's services are already stretched to the max.

"most of the refugees that Ford wants to ban from the city aren't white"
wtf are you talking about?

"s far as I know Ford has never said he wants to stop the tide of predominantly-white immigrants from Australia."
what ludicrous straw man bullsh*t this is.

People like you who shriek racism based on flimsy non-existent evidence like this really pis* me off
BIG JOHN / August 19, 2010 at 10:44 am
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of all this politically correct nonsense that goes on in the city.

Ford speaks his mind and I respect him for that. I'm "oriental" and gay, but I'll still be voting for Mr. Ford.
d replying to a comment from Rob / August 19, 2010 at 10:57 am
race pimps
Mike replying to a comment from BH / August 19, 2010 at 11:00 am
So Australian immigrants are now "predominately white"? What about the large number of Aboriginese immigrants from Australia? Don't they deserve a fair shake? Your comments are racist. You're a racist.

See, I can pretend things are racist, too.
BH replying to a comment from oh for f's sake / August 19, 2010 at 11:05 am
"wtf are you talking about?"

What do you mean, what am I talking about? Rob Ford has literally called for a "refugee freeze" and the vast majority of refugees in the world today are non-white. Meanwhile he has never expressed a desire to stop people from moving here from within Canada or from other first world countries.

The day Ford says he wants to stop some white dude from Brockville from moving to Toronto is the day I start taking his "we can't handle any more people" comments at face value. Until then, they are what they are: thinly veiled racism.
Patricia / August 19, 2010 at 11:08 am
I don't think he is a racist. I think it makes perfect sense that Toronto Social Services are stretched to the limit. I think these "REFUGEES" should be put on a plane and sent back. Just remember last years topping of the Gardiner for three or more hours in "protest". People come to the best country in the world and still whine. You can't fix your homeland problems here go back and fix them there.

I am not a racist, I am a realist and am tired of being walked on and seeing people jumping the queue. It may be by boat, plane or just overstaying. Why should refugees get all the breaks that Canadian Citizens have to wait years to get re: subsidized housing. I think this boat load and the next and the next should all be sent back.
warmflash / August 19, 2010 at 11:12 am
Rob Ford's popularity is about to soar. His " man of the people - shoot from the hip " approach is working gangbusters. I was looking at the letter's to the editor in the Toronto Star regarding soon to be Mayor Ford's " racist " comments. And clearly the vast majority agree with Ford. His admission to getting busted for weed only builds empathy. The fact that he forgot getting busted even strengthens his case, as it adds authenticity to the story.

As we all know, Smitherman had a " substance " abuse problem. It's the " substance " that would be worrisome in his case. Which substance?

Most Torontonians over the age of 12 have tried pot. It's not that uncommon. But most Torontonians over the age of 12, have not tried a " substance. "

In the end, I imagine the majority will vote for a pot head rather than someone who plays around with " substances, " and never actually says anything concrete.

If anyone should step out of the race at this point, it should be Smitherman and Rossi.

Sarah Thompson is the only legit alternative to Rob Ford.

In fact she will make a great deputy Mayor.
oh for f's sake replying to a comment from BH / August 19, 2010 at 11:13 am
Keep sniffin that glue.

Now he's racist because of something he didn't say.

marlon / August 19, 2010 at 11:20 am
here's the thing. Ford supporters are slow. When he says that, it is a vague promise to his bigot supporters that he will not be taking in new immigrants to our city. it works because his supporters are so stupid they don't realize he has no say. its a free country once you are in you are in. ford says I'd like Toronto to be a refugee free zone and joe the plumber says 'now there is a candidate who speaks my language'
CP / August 19, 2010 at 11:29 am
just a clarification:

Ford claims the Official Plan will bring in 1 million new people in 10 years - but the actual plan claims only 60k increase for the City of Toronto.

"But the document projects that Toronto’s population will be 2.855 million in 2011 and 2.915 million in 2021, an increase of only 60,000 people in 10 years."

So he's fudging the numbers on that one.....

Just like he fudged the numbers on the Jarvis bike lane - he said it cost $6M but that's for EVERYTHING being done to the street...the bike lane cost about 85k.

This man lies and misrepresents and his supporters don't give a damn because all they want to see is CUT CUT CUT.

And he's probably racist, probably a homophobe, and doesn't have the mental capacity to run a city of 2.5 million (at least he got that right).

More and more stuff will come out and his campaign will eventually fold. BYe BYe Ford
Simuls / August 19, 2010 at 11:40 am
Rob Ford won't even be in the top 3 come a few weeks before election. Everybody stop worrying. His type of support is always starts strong and finishes weak. He'll trip himself up many more times.

Plus, even if he did become Mayor, council wouldn't let him do anything as he's pissed pretty much everybody off at one point or another.
Mike / August 19, 2010 at 11:49 am
I don't think his comments are racist; they're true. There are many things that need to be addressed in the city, and expanding the argument past the municipal level, we see that our healthcare system isn't at the level it should be for the amount of people in our province.

That said, I think the way Ford comes off is pretty indicative of what it'd be like if he had more power. He's like the obligatory uncle/grandfather who means well but says it stupidly or just messes it up in general. He's a better candidate than Dalton McGuinty Junior (Smitherman), but he'd be my second last choice for mayor of the City.

Its a shame that the two front runners for Mayor are two of the worst choices.
mark / August 19, 2010 at 11:54 am
When Ford wins, I will relish the dismay in hippie land. The crying and whining will be music to all right thinking peoples ears. All the dim witted socialist can't add 2+2 and yet think they know how to run a city. Well they have for the past 7 years and where they have run the city is into huge debt, massive shortfalls, failing services, and a city controlled by the very few at the expense of the hard working tax payers of this city. Election day can't come soon enough.
hendrix / August 19, 2010 at 11:59 am
Rob Ford gives white people a bad name.
Rob Ford gives fat people a bad name.
Nick / August 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm
Since when has common sense become "racist"? Toronto's infastructure is already undeniably maxed out so what is the sense of having more people come to Toronto? Let's get our house in working order first! Of course this is a mute point since immigration policies are made at the federal level. Call me a cynic, but I think Rob Ford made his comment, as his many others, in an attempt to seek free publicity and since everyone is talking about him...
Shannon / August 19, 2010 at 12:29 pm
I believe he is racist, I also believe he hates gays and people with HIV. For me I am basing it off his past actions and statements. I find it a little disturbing people want this guy in office. I don't think anybody with his track record in this area should be in office. But that is my opinion and it doesn't make me right or wrong.
Nick / August 19, 2010 at 12:35 pm
I wonder if Ford will blame the "ethnics", to paraphrase Parizeau's explanation of the 1995 Quebec separation referendum defeat, when he loses. You know those orientals are taking over (see!
Stu replying to a comment from Gabe / August 19, 2010 at 12:51 pm
Agreed. His urban planing knowledge is horrible. You might even day he wants the entire toronto modeled after Etobicoke. Making his urban planning knowledge vehicular.
marlon / August 19, 2010 at 12:55 pm
Off topic but how is it that the media has excepted the term 'failed the breathalyzer' instead of calling it what it is which is drunk driving
Diane / August 19, 2010 at 01:32 pm
I applaude Rob Ford! His candor speaks for his sense of responsibility to EXISTING citizens... why in the world would we open our doors and arms to more people when we can't take care of the one's already here. There's nothing racist about his remarks. I'm sure he would say the same thing if there were that many people coming from another Canadian city where we now had to feed, clothe and house them... come on people, enough is enough! Our systems are maxed to the point that people are already leaving Toronto to go north to get away from the crime, drugs, gangs, etc. Fix what's here before taking on more than we can handle!
Andrew Coimbra replying to a comment from Gabe / August 19, 2010 at 01:51 pm
Brilliantly put.

As a side note, how can anyone who is daft enough to say something such as, "If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn't get AIDS probably, that's the bottom line" be taken seriously on any account?
Andrew Coimbra replying to a comment from Gabe / August 19, 2010 at 01:52 pm
p.s. Diane sounds like an idiot.
o.k. replying to a comment from Diane / August 19, 2010 at 02:31 pm
Are you Aboriginal? If not you have no place here as the next person. Diana you prove that there is no hope for society ,Ford is a complete idiot and thus so are his supporters.. only reason I can think why he even has any remote chance.

The media is playing up this guys numbers, no way in hell this man will become mayor, he is a complete nut with no sense of reality. This race would be a complete snooze( already kind of is) if it didn't have Fords constant gaffes.

And lastly I really love when people try and pounce on immigrants. People really fail to see the hard work they put in to make this city work.They do the drudge work none of us don't want to touch... they live in the substandard housing none of us want to... they work the bad hours we choose not too. Yet people like to complain about how these people 'max' out the cites services when they benefit very little from them.
Sherman / August 19, 2010 at 02:40 pm
Racist? I work with people that have immigrated to Canada in the last 10 years, they don't want the Tamil refugees here. They believe, they should go through the proper channels. Rob Ford, speaks his mind and just echoed what most people in Toronto feel, just don't say it too loudly.
Marg / August 19, 2010 at 02:50 pm
No, they are not racist! They are realistic. Services are suffering, full time jobs are scare, health care waits TOO long, housing is limited, 60,000 currently waiting for housing in TO alone? I'd be interested in knowing the figures for around the country...I bet it's huge.

We do a disservice to all that ARE here by bringing more before we are ready...
TheWord / August 19, 2010 at 02:55 pm
The comments on this thread unearth a disturbing level of ignorance - or just plain stupidity. Many of you seem to not know the difference between an immigrant and a refugee. Immigrants have - by the mere nature of being immigrants - gone through legal channels. Refugees are asylum seekers who - while they have not submitted the proper paper work - are here as declared refugees. All of this is for nought since immigration and refugee issues are the mandate of the Federal government - not municipalities. So your idiocy and xenophobia (which I think is really what is going on here, not necessarily racism) is being made obvious for no reason at all.

I think more importantly, anyone who thinks that slowing the flow of immigrants into Toronto (if that were even possible) would solve the problem is either dim witted, has no understanding of the issues, or both. If Rob Ford's best answer to the stretch on social services is to close the gates of the city to immigrants then we have worse things coming. We should be looking for a mayor who can recommend proactive - not reactionary - measures to fix this 'broken city.'

Ford might not be a racist, but these remarks make it clear that he's a populistic mental midget. It mostly just amazes me how many people actually so quickly and readily agree. Those who keep saying that he's "realistic" clearly have a distorted view of reality. If you knew anything about our system of government, the nature of our economy, and our city's history you would know that it is anything BUT realistic.
hbr replying to a comment from Ryan L. / August 19, 2010 at 02:57 pm
yes they have a great work ethic i'm sure....and they also know where we should be sending our peace keeping troops, or so they said during last years many Tamils have we seen killed in Afghanistan?
hbr replying to a comment from TheWord / August 19, 2010 at 03:08 pm
Refugees also seem to have $50,000 to get themselves here...or so the rascists claim.
Diane / August 19, 2010 at 03:14 pm
It's obvious that immigration itself is a very hot topic... most people are usually afraid to broach the topic for fear of being labelled a racist. I think it's time we overcome that fear and start dealing with the issues without having to skirt around it by being politically correct. No, we don't need any more immigrants right now. We have too many in the work force working for minimum wage (or less!) who can't speak the language and therefore don't have the understanding of health and safety - this leads to more people on WSIB benefits... and yes, some of these accidents are even staged! I've seen this first hand. And it's not just accidents in the workplace... there are staged auto accidents all the time. I'm not saying that it's just immigrants doing this, but we're paying from all ends and enough is enough!
Tommy / August 19, 2010 at 05:36 pm
wow.. As a Calgarian considering a move to Toronto in the near future, I've been watching the Toronto mayoral race with a mix of horror and amusement (mostly horror). Being Albertan and thus fairly well acquainted with angry, populist, short-sighted buffoonish politicians, I can honestly say (and I never thought I would) that this guy makes Ralph Klein look like a Rhodes Scholar.
jul / August 19, 2010 at 05:44 pm
I don't think Rob Ford is racist. He was just saying the right thing!
SellThoseOxy'sFord replying to a comment from oh for f's sake / August 19, 2010 at 08:25 pm
LMAO. Rob Ford only likes white people. You can try and trick yourself otherwise, but you will never fool the educated (the ones who wont vote for Ford). He is a proven liar, and abuser. I would like to see him abused.
John Faux / August 19, 2010 at 09:08 pm
The majority of the millions of immigrants expected to arrive in the next few decades are not going to settle in Toronto, but in the Toronto suburbs. However, Toronto will be greatly impacted by this because of traffic congestion and the massive stresses on transit. Most of my life I have not lived in what is technically Toronto, but I commute into Toronto, use the TTC regularly, visit Toronto schools, hospitals, sports venues, Toronto area airports etc. If i have to share the already congested roads with 1 million more people over the next 10 years my life will be much harder. My living costs are going to soar.
Dooky / August 19, 2010 at 09:54 pm
I blame Smitherman for turning this election into a circus. He swayed in thinking he was some big bad hot shot from the provincial liberals - turns out it's a real election, so that means he needs to do what the liberals do 2nd best, trash their competition in the gutter (the tories are #1 at this).

So why should we vote for Ford? Because he "tells it like it is"? Please. This city needs someone who knows how to run it properly, not someone who's good at pointing out the faults of others.

Why should we vote for smitherman? Because if you don't, you're a second rate human.

Why should we vote for Rossi? Because sometimes a mayor needs to be someone with real ideas and not someone who fills the news with catchy sound bites.

Is ford a racist? Who cares.
dean footstink replying to a comment from hendrix / August 20, 2010 at 12:44 am
Everyone should just relax and listen to hendrix....
Smilie / August 20, 2010 at 12:44 am
Why did Rob Ford conclude that immigrants (who came from outside Canada) would be the possible economic burden? Where is the prooof? And when we talk about this issue and mention "immigrants," who are we referring to? permanent residents (who pay taxes but can't vote)? visible minorities (of which majority are Canadian citizens)? or maybe we do not know the difference?

What we know for sure is that 50% of the current population of Toronto are "immigrants." And many "immigrants" choose to become Canadian citizens. In 2006, more than 85% of "immigrants" were Canadian citizens. So once they become Canadian citizens, they are exempt from this prosecution? Probably not, if the colour of their skin isn't "white" or they speak with "accents", or both. This persisting stigma on "immigrants" is what Toronto reeks and that's what tarnishes Canada, sadly.

Turning our eyes on visible minorities, 47% of Toronto's population were visible minorities, according to 2006 census. And majority of them are Canadian citizens. Many of them are born in Canada even, so they are not immigrants even though they appear to be so.

Toronto declared as the city that respects and thrives upon diversity. City of Toronto's motto is "Diversity Our Strength." It is inevitable as a city that has absorbed waves of newcomers to have declared it. If you are to deny this, how far are we going to go back? all the way when "white people" came to this land?

Another fact. More than 90% of immigrants to Canada choose to iive in either Vancouver, Toronto, or Montreal. So, if one of those cities would deny receipt of immigrants, that's a major national and international issue. Does Rob Ford realize this, I wonder?

We all know that there are so many immigrants who worked hard to create jobs and pay taxes in this city. What is there to blame? And if you are to blame regugees under financial protection, are we to question the entire social security of our city including support for low-income population? Where does Rob Ford stand on this?
realitycheck / August 20, 2010 at 04:53 am
I don't like it that Rob Ford is the leading mayoralty candidate. That said, on this issue, he is absolutely correct. I also think that too many of his critics are making the mistake of accusing sommeone of being against immigration when they are really expressing opposition to the current immigration policy. Being against Canada's current immigration policy does not necessarily make one anti-immigrant or racist. In fact, I have several friends who are recent immigrants (under 5 years) and they have a hard time understanding how Canada can keep its immigration rate so high when job prospects are so dismal.

While immigration is a federal matter, it is also true that immigration is placing a strain on this City and hampering our ability to meet the needs of people who are already here. This is something that long-time residents (whether they be native born or immigrants) recognize ... and it's also something that most immigrants recognize after they've been here a few years.

Whether or not immigrants eventually contribute to the Canadian economy is not the issue. The issue is whether current funding models recognize the burden placed on Toronto from the high influx of new immigrants. Statistics show that new immigrants who move to the GTA tend to reside in the City of Toronto during the years when they require the maximum in social supports -- but then move to other parts of the GTA once they become more established and self sufficient. That places an unfair burden on City of Toronto rate payers ... and in fact the current Mayor has called attention to this issue frequently in the past. In other words, the current municipal funding model PENALIZES Toronto. Given their attacks on Ford, either the other candidates don't know this OR they are being dishonest.

Yes, we all know that Canada has benefitted greatly from immigration. But that doesn't mean that current rate of immigration is benefitting the average person given the high unemployment rate. Yes, business groups are always saying that we need to maintain high immigration rates or we will have a shortage of workers... but then these groups have a vested interest in making sure there is a constant supply of cheap and desperate labor. Also, their arguments are looking pretty ridiculous given how high the unemployment rate is.
thisguy / August 20, 2010 at 10:54 am
When was the last time Toronto had a decent Mayor anyway? Why break tradition, right guys.
thatguy replying to a comment from thisguy / August 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm
just to be sure you are saying that rob ford being mayor would be keeping with tradition right?
James Robin / August 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm
No one would hire Rob Ford as a janitor at the City of Toronto , but he is certainly qualified enough to run Toronto as the next mayor.
Csto / August 20, 2010 at 04:55 pm
I agree with Ford 100%. Canada has been an open door for YEARS AND YEARS and I think us Canadians deserve some time to make this city a better place. Ford is looking out for the people of Ontario, isn't that what we want? Don't we want a mayor who wants the best for us and Ontario? Yes, its unfortunate that he will discontinue immigration while cleaning up our city...oh how horrendous. Its time us Canadians do something with this city..this is our home, lets do something for it.
Csto replying to a comment from hbr / August 20, 2010 at 05:23 pm
Well said...well said.
chephy / August 20, 2010 at 07:24 pm
I wish I could watch this race with a mix of horror and amusement from a place that's as far away from Toronto as Calgary. Unfortunately, I have to watch it from Toronto, which wipes the amusement part right out. Who needs a horror flick when you can have Rob Ford for mayor?
fordo replying to a comment from Csto / August 21, 2010 at 05:39 am
well, so far Csto's comment wins the prize for the most spectacular display of stupidity yet. Someone out there seriously thinks Rob Ford would have the power to "discontinue" immigration!? Where do these people come from? The Ford campaign, perhaps? If these are the people that are voting him in, god help us all..
Chengstein / August 22, 2010 at 11:28 am
Why is it racist? He mentioned 2.5M people, that's the entire population of Toronto. I take him to mean that the city can't even deal with all the people (caucasians included). How can that be racist. If he said we can't deal with the refugees or the immigrants here then I can see the point about it being racist.

Plus his previous comments are, no doubt, blunt and ignorant (I know of many asian slackers) but I don't think it was meant as purely as a racist comment.
peter clarke / August 22, 2010 at 12:11 pm
His remarks were NOT at all of a racist nature.

Attempts at character assignation against Rob Ford is not keeping with the beliefs of Canadian Christians, Jews, Islam’s, Hindus, Buddhists, yet media continues down this road that they alone are morally correctly perfect which is one of the biggest lies throughout history.

These types of people with their own flawed personal prejudices have a character flaw themselves as they are not willing to forgive, forget and move on by accepting the reality in life that no one including themselves is a perfect human being.

Unfortunately these holier than thou types within society will take their hate and personal immorality to the grave as unwilling to accept the fact that as humans we are all equal and equally imperfect.

“Toronto One City, Your Vote, Our Future Together, Begins on October 25, 2010 with your support throughout the North York Community.”

Toronto's Retards / August 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm
This Ford Asshole would lead the Toronto chapter of the KKK, if he didnt think it would hurt his chances. He hates ALL immigrants. He beats his wife.... but, there are actually naive goofs on here, who will look past that.
Fred / August 22, 2010 at 08:06 pm
why does he look just like Rush Limbaugh?
rem / August 24, 2010 at 09:48 am
Politicians would love us to believe that it is their job to fly around the world in private jets and take care of matters too complicated for us to understand but the simple truth is they are SERVANTS to the people.

For somebody to support this notion means they have something to gain from it or is a testament to the amazing accomplishment that they have been able to brainwash its citizens into serving them.
mitchell gold replying to a comment from Justin / August 26, 2010 at 03:47 pm
Rob Ford is exactly what he looks and sounds like. He has a history in Toronto with how he spends his budgeted funds - with no regard how to spend it - so he does not. This kindof behaviour while there are some that can see value in not spendingmoney - whenyou are elected you are elcted tospend the budgets responsibly. Our government suffers from aninability to be responsible to the people and the process of government - the election itself is a sham - run by the newspapers - who would not know how to report on a good idea if they ever heard one. Toronto gets what it deserves - a waterfront out of control - being sold off tohte highest bidders - a new bridge a larger airline at the waterfront - congested traffic - disgruntled First Nations peoples, multiple reasoned homeless people, strained systems - police operating under FIDO - and a myriad of other simple problems that would simply go away if basic education were enhanced by teaching what is important rather than what is mandated by the systems. Toronto being a world class City ? when?
Matt Narciso | Canadian Immigration advocate / September 15, 2010 at 04:14 am
Part of the search has found its way to addressing the concern of a vastly open border to the north and south of the nation. The main focus has been on the southern border due to the fact that a larger number of immigrants enter through that border than the one to the north shared with Canada.

In addition to this, you may want to visit Triple” E” Immigration Services, a known for its expertise when it comes to immigration consulting. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, our company is acknowledged for its efficiency service in handling immigration concerns. Our team of competent and experienced Certified <a href="">Canadian Immigration Consultants</a> (CCIC) is ready to answer any of your inquiries.
Hernando / September 17, 2010 at 04:34 pm
His comments weren't even remotely racist. Why is it necessary for us to constantly bring in such large numbers of refugees and immigrants? Don't tell me it's because the birth rate among whites is too low. That's b.s. Our population is large enough as it is. Where are these 1 million new arrivals supposed to live? Most of the city's infrastructure hasn't been touched in decades. I can't imagine another million, non speaking English people in this city. It's already one giant ESL class as it is.

As for the comment regarding AIDS. Is that quote not true? How else does one contract AIDS? What do you expect to happen when you stick your penis up another man's bum? Even gay people know their sexual life is risky. The anus isn't even meant to be penetrated.
Hernando / September 17, 2010 at 04:34 pm
His comments weren't even remotely racist. Why is it necessary for us to constantly bring in such large numbers of refugees and immigrants? Don't tell me it's because the birth rate among whites is too low. That's b.s. Our population is large enough as it is. Where are these 1 million new arrivals supposed to live? Most of the city's infrastructure hasn't been touched in decades. I can't imagine another million, non speaking English people in this city. It's already one giant ESL class as it is.

As for the comment regarding AIDS. Is that quote not true? How else does one contract AIDS? What do you expect to happen when you stick your penis up another man's bum? Even gay people know their sexual life is risky. The anus isn't even meant to be penetrated.
Jerry replying to a comment from BH / September 22, 2010 at 04:16 pm
Ford wasn't being racist, he was just saying that they need to help out the residents that are already there before brushing them off for new residents. To the comment of ethnicity, Since when do Australians come to canada to reap the economic benefits in such massive amounts. They have no intent on becoming "Canadians", they just come here for themselves and steal off taxpayers who work their asses off to keep them alive. I am not racist, i am just saying the truth. Somebody like Ford has to come out of the closet and address those problems.
Jerry replying to a comment from Smilie / September 22, 2010 at 04:26 pm
those "ninety percent" of immigrants who settle in major cities could just settle in a different city. Maybe they could build up a rural area. Instead, they just move to Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver just to be with people of the same minority group. I somehow find that "racist". I love how when someone says something about immigration it is automatically deamed racist.
mitch gold / September 23, 2010 at 04:19 pm
frankly it is foolish to argue whether Ford is a rascist or not. I
believe he is not fit to be Mayor for so many reasons to argue this
point looses the purpose of Mayor.

if you check his record -0 he has no idea how to spend the budgets
allocated to him. that is the most important criticism of him. if he
cannot spend his $30K allocation effectively for his constituents how
do you expect him to spen the billions under the direction of the
position of Mayor.

I think he should go back to little league football,or base ball or
whereever he thinks he can muster support for his perspectives.

if you vote for Mr Ford you are both wasting your vote , and
identifying with someone who is better suited for other jobs - any
other jobf.


Mitch Gold
sarah / September 27, 2010 at 05:42 pm
I actually never agreed with any of Rob Ford's political views until he raised the issue surrounding immigrants arriving in Toronto and causing as tax payers more debts in order to meet their needs as they are new comers. What he is saying is, "lets prioritize our current citizens first before we accept more refugees which results in over crowding and more expenses." Now i will vote for him!
sarah replying to a comment from Diane / September 27, 2010 at 05:48 pm
I agree with you Diane, The vast majority of staged Auto Insurance are from the Tamil community. The same group of people who arrived in Bc illegally last month. And then people wonder why our Auto rates are increasing daily!
Robfordturkey / October 13, 2010 at 04:34 pm
I found this website that tells what happened when Rob Ford was mentioned at a Toronto Thanksgiving dinner - seems like what might happen if he wins:
nikhil / October 14, 2010 at 04:50 pm
vote rob ford. not smitherman
go to
mitch gold replying to a comment from peter clarke / October 14, 2010 at 05:41 pm
let's forget the past - do you want this Ford fellow looking after how you spend your tax dollars? he falied at spending his own office budgeted funds for the community - that was under $50K - and he proved incompetent. now you want to support him for a larger job.; your name identifies the problem - the Peter principle - let's get him out of politics - and let him coach little league hockey - the kids are strong enough to understand his incompetence.
joe pants / October 18, 2010 at 08:46 am
SMITHERMAN is Toronto's most dangerous man. . . . .
Smitherman scandals are political and have cost us BILLIONS, Ford scandals are personal and cost us NOTHING. anybody can run a city or anything for that matter when money is no object. Deliver results and efficiency.

Ford offering 2% efficiency at City hall makes perfect sense to me, We have to do allot more than that in the private sector and household to stay afloat, Its about time City Hall gets a taste of their own medicine.

No mayor can embarrass me, Voting Smitherman knowing his track record is embarrassing myself.

Send a message to city hall to smarten up VOTE FORD. T

joe pants replying to a comment from Ratpick / October 18, 2010 at 08:48 am
Ford offering 2% efficiency at City hall makes perfect sense to me, We have to do allot more than that in the private sector and household to stay afloat, Its about time City Hall gets a taste of their own medicine.

No mayor can embarrass me, Voting Smitherman knowing his track record is embarrassing myself.
Mitchell Lewis Gold / October 18, 2010 at 11:01 am
what is in the water in Toronto? Rob Ford or Smitherman?

are these the choices? I heard rumour that there are others in the race. 35 if I am not mistaken?

spare us from the bliss of ignorance on all levels.

Rune replying to a comment from oh for f's sake / October 21, 2010 at 10:41 am
Hah, check out this anti- Rob Ford video that these two toronto musicians did.

It's hilarious!
Rj / March 8, 2011 at 11:25 am
I know a friend who works in Rob Ford's office and says its the most racist environment she has ever worked in. She told me that she hears racist comments about Asian and Black people all the time and its to the point that she wants to quit.
KL replying to a comment from Rj / March 8, 2011 at 11:57 am
Tell her to smuggle in a tape recorder or take videos with her phone.
Rafa / July 7, 2014 at 09:59 am
Not only are his comments not racist, but can someone tell me what is racist about NOT wanting to open the flood gates to one's own country?

This is strictly a Western phenomenon whereby citizens are apparently not allowed to comment on immigration policy. I don't care if its racist, but I'd prefer my city and country not turn into the third world.
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