In this Globe exclusive, we present an excerpt from Doug Ford's forthcoming tell all biography Hey, Big Spender: How I Hijacked the Gravy Train and Drove It Over a Cliff of Fiscal Self-Destruction.
I guess it's pretty ironic, me writing about gravy. I made my name waging war against it.
I despised all those mealy-mouthed councillors who spread gravy around their ward like Honest Ed handing out turkeys at Christmas. I was disgusted by all those lazy city workers whose idea of hard work was waiting for the next handout. Who would have ever thought I would become one of gravy's many victims?
Not me, that's for sure.
It started innocently enough. (Doesn't it always?). It was the spring of 2011 and the police were up for a new labour agreement. If there's one thing I didn't want, it was another fat union contract. But once I got to the bargaining table, it all started to change.
Suddenly, the police didn't seem like overpaid security guards. I started having all these crazy thoughts, like maybe speeding around in a cop car all day and changing lanes without signalling was harder than it looked.
Next thing you know the city is spending $5.2-million for cops to act like crossing guards and there's me - of all people! - standing in front of council saying, I quote, "I'm okay with that."
The thing about gravy is you think it can't touch you. You think other gravy users are weak. You think your gravy is different than all the others. But gravy is bigger than any one individual.
I never developed much of a taste for the standard gravy that's ruined the lives of so many councillors. Handing out ridiculous pensions to garbage men, daycare workers and bus drivers just doesn't give me that hit of euphoria. I was into what you might call good-ol'-boy gravy - cops, firefighters, ambulance drivers. It got to the point where a wage hike even half a per cent above inflation made me feel invincible.
I was living a lie.
Then one day I was walking to my car in the underground lot at Queen and Bay when someone snuck up behind me and put a bag over my head. I was forced into the back of a car and driven somewhere far away (almost to Scarborough, it turned out). When I woke up, I found myself tied to a chair in Denzil Minnan-Wong's basement. In front of me stood Denzil, Case Ootes and Doug Holyday. Everyone was crying. Except me, of course.
That's the day I hit rock bottom.
It was my first and - God willing - only intervention. And it came just in time, because the next day I was going to file a motion stating that every sick day a firefighter works should result in an extra year of retirement.
Since that day, life hasn't been easy. Now when I see a constable on patrol, I don't wink at him any more. Instead, I think of the fact he's going to go on full pension at the age of 49. My jaw clenches and my knuckles turn white. But deep down inside, there's still a small part of me that's overjoyed. I just take it one day at a time.
My name is Doug Ford and I am a gravy addict.
Special to The Globe and Mail