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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford makes his way to the council chamber in Toronto on Nov. 15, 2013. No shortage of celebrities are offering their opinions of Toronto’s mayor. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford makes his way to the council chamber in Toronto on Nov. 15, 2013. No shortage of celebrities are offering their opinions of Toronto’s mayor. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

What notable names are saying about Rob Ford Add to ...

Deepa Mehta
Film director (Midnight’s Children, Water)

“I came back from India yesterday [Thursday, Nov. 14]. Last week, I could go nowhere in New Delhi without someone asking me what the latest dope (no pun intended) on Toronto's mayor was. This query would usually be followed by a chuckle or a near poke in the ribs. Rob Ford has certainly put us on the world map – alas for all the wrong reasons.”

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Peter Munk
Philanthropist, mining magnate, at the Munk debates

“I think that it’s time for him to step aside. He should do it for his family, for his city and for his country. Everything what is happening is so atypical of Toronto and he should step aside.”

Michael Ignatieff
Former federal Liberal leader and professor, Munk School of Global Affairs

“We've been through all the stages. We've gone from comedy through buffoonery to exhibitionism to behaviour that's simply dumbfounding. You just can't understand it. And it has a sort of lurid fascination, and the whole world really is watching. I mean, it's quite extraordinary to turn on the BBC. But it's got to stop.”

Ken Dryden
Former NHL goalie, ex-Liberal MP

“I think this is the moment where those closest to him – his wife, his brother – put an arm around his shoulder and say, ‘Rob, it's time to go home.’”

Douglas M. Gibson
Editor and publisher

“It’s sad that just weeks after Alice Munro brought Canada to the admiring attention of the world, Rob Ford is dragging us all down. As a storyteller, he lacks Alice’s variety; everything is based on denial (“I wasn’t there,” “I didn’t do it,”) and even Alice wouldn’t invent a character who is so unbelievable, in every sense.

“But her titles alone explain much of the Ford story: Something I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You (about that crack question); Friend of My Youth (they’re not gangsters, they’re good guys); Open Secrets (nothing more to hide, honest); Who Do You Think You Are? (why should I stay away from your parade?); The Love Of A Good Woman (keep my wife out of this, from now on).

“As he runs out of people to lie to, let’s hope that he finally takes up the suggestion in another Alice Munro title – Runaway. That would be Too Much Happiness.”

Bill Holland
Chairman of CI Financial Corp.

“I hope the entertainment doesn’t stop. It probably has little or no bearing on the business community of Toronto. Toronto has never been so top-of-mind. I think this is thoroughly hilarious.

“He probably shouldn’t stay in office. Do I think he is bringing unbelievable humour and levity to everyone? Yes. It has no real bearing on Toronto. If it is still going on in a month then it could have an impact. We probably need to have better protections to make sure we don’t have a politician like this running around.”

Sheldon Levy
President of Ryerson University

“I think leadership really does matter, and this idea that the city is working fine and all of that, I just don't buy it. And the reason is that every day opportunities are either coming to the city or you pursue opportunities. And so it's not only the business of day to day that you have to be concerned about. … I think we are not pursuing, and I can't imagine that we're receiving.”

Ed Robertson
Barenaked Ladies

“Times sure have changed. I was banned from Toronto City Hall because of my band's name. Crack use and death threats seems a little less ‘politically correct’ to me. Maybe I'm just old school.”

Ronnie Hawkins
Rockabilly icon and Order of Canada appointee

“I don't get into politics. In my business, it's no good to take sides. But, I feel sorry for him, because he's taking all this abuse. I don't know if he needs help. They used to talk about crack cocaine like it was the devil, and that it was killing kids. But I don't think the mayor is an addict. If he was, he wouldn't weigh but 96 pounds.”

Adam Kreek
Olympic rower

“We all have problems. Rob just has to deal with them in a very public way. I think Rob Ford should take a sabbatical from his big city job and heal. I've found no better medicine than open water and wilderness ... And I know a couple guys who want to row across the Pacific Ocean.”

Paul Martin
Former prime minister to host Scott Reid on Newstalk 1010

“Well, I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this, Scott. I must say I think the whole thing is pretty sad. And I heard you earlier, I understand where you're coming from. I just hope that it can be over with quickly.”

Alex Lifeson
Rush guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member

“It's ridiculous. There is the honorable [thing] to do and that would be to resign, or at least step down for a while. But he's a very stubborn man and doesn't get it... Toronto's supposed to be a pretty boring place.”

Jennifer Baichwal
Award-winning documentarian (Watermark, Manufacturing Landscapes)

“I feel sorry for Rob Ford the person and sorry that his family appears to be reinforcing his self-deception rather than dismantling it. But I am outraged by Rob Ford the mayor and deeply dismayed at the effect his actions have had on the people of Toronto, the productivity of his office and the reputation of the city.”

Som Seif, a well-known name in money management, understands why Mr. Ford thought he might be able to ride the situation out a few weeks back. But now he is utterly confused as to why the mayor is ignoring calls to resign. “At this point, you can’t salvage it,” he said. “Go into the sunset and walk away.”

Mr. Seif also noted that if this situation played out in a business setting and the CEO was behaving badly, the board of directors would take action. “If this was in any other setting, this would be dealt with very swiftly,” he said.

Howard Atkinson, head of Horizons ETFs, has travelled to U.S. cities such as Washington, Chicago and New York over the past few months to market his firm. Typically when he travels south of the border, people would ask where he is from and then say how nice people from Toronto seem. Some still do, he said, but others respond with, “You’re from the city where the mayor smokes crack.” Some even say “surely [Toronto] can do better than that.”

“Certainly we can do better,” Mr. Atkinson said.

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