Rob Ford on ice storm response, Christmas gifts and pot
Toronto's mayor gives wide-ranging interview on U.S. sports talk radio station
In the months after he admitted to using illegal drugs while in office, the longest and most open interviews Rob Ford gave to media were on a Washington, D.C., sports talk radio show.
Sports Junkies, the show the mayor appears on weekly to give his football predictions, remains the best chance to hear what Ford thinks about current events, relationships, hot-button political issues and, of course, football. On Thursday, the Sports Junkies program did not disappoint.
Here is a selection of Ford's thoughts from Thursday's 10-minute appearance on the show:
Christmas gifts for women: Before the holidays, Ford said he typically gives his wife cash for Christmas because "women love money." He admitted that caused some controversy, but also said he went ahead with his plan. “I gave her a cheque for five grand," he said of his wife, Renata. "She was really happy.”
He said he received some "flak" for the comments, but also support. "Even some ladies came up and said, ‘No problem, I’ll take that five grand.’”
On the suggestion that he could win the 2014 mayoral election: “Our numbers are good,” he said. Ford called polling "for the dogs" and reiterated that "the only poll that matters is the one on election day."
He takes credit for the ice storm response: By stripping him of mayoral powers, he accused his fellow councillors of trying to stop him from responding to emergencies, such as last month's ice storm. "[They] can’t stop me from helping people out when there is an emergency like the ice storm," he said. Ford said he spent 10 straight days, including over Christmas, "calling press conferences, making sure you know people are safe and getting transit up and running and getting power back in hospitals and our pumping stations. I took care of that.”
Ford added that he "got the city back up on its feet."
On marijuana: Mayor Ford evidently sees marijuana as a revenue tool. "Why wouldn't they at least decriminalize it and make some money off it?" he asked. But he doesn't see that happening.
"That probably won’t happen up here [in Canada] because we have a Conservative government. They’re very strict when it comes to marijuana and any other drugs,” Ford said.
“That’s a debate that has been going on for years up in Canada. We have medicinal marijuana so a lot of people that are sick use it, but they won’t legalize it or decriminalize it, so I don’t think they are going to ever do it unless the government changes. I don’t see the Conservative government ever letting that happen.”
Ford has previously admitted to smoking "a lot" of marijuana and was arrested with a joint in his pocket in 1999.