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The peaks and troughs of Rob Ford’s career

Mayor Rob Ford attends a committee meeting at Toronto City Hall on November 5, 2012.

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

Mayor Rob Ford came to office with a simple oath: spend less, tax less. Early in his mayoralty, he made good on his campaign vows, cancelling the vehicle registration tax, privatizing garbage collection in the west end and signing favourable deals with the city unions. Gradually, however, persistent personal setbacks have stalled his political momentum. A brief look at the up-and-down political fortunes of Toronto's mayor.

Early Loss

Nov. 10, 1997: An unheralded candidate with no political record, Rob Ford, 28-year-old son of Ontario MPP Doug Ford Sr., runs for city council in Kingsway-Humber. He finishes fourth. The political dynasty will have to wait.

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The Etobicoke Purge

Nov. 13, 2000: Owing to a stubborn streak, Mr. Ford tries again. He is labelled a long-shot to beat fellow Tory Elizabeth Brown in Etobicoke North, but wins by 1,600 votes, part of the Etobicoke Purge that sees three incumbent councillors in the region booted from office.

Belligerent Rookie

April 15, 2006 : Security guards remove a drunken and belligerent Mr. Ford from a Maple Leafs game after he shouts insults at an out-of-town couple. When reporters confront Mr. Ford with the couple's complaint, he denies being at the hockey game. A day later, he comes clean.

Ford Nation is Born

Nov. 13, 2006: Etobicoke North embraces Mr. Ford, returning him to office with 66-per-cent support. He earns a citywide reputation for hard work and fiscal restraint by returning all phone calls, visiting constituents and spending none of his office budget.

From Laughingstock to Leader

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March 25, 2010 : Mr. Ford announces his candidacy for mayor. He is mocked and dismissed by councillors and pundits alike. Within a few months he proves them all wrong, polling neck-and-neck with front-runner George Smitherman.


Oct. 25, 2010 : For Toronto's left-leaning factions, the unthinakable: Rob Ford is elected mayor on a pledge to "stop the gravy train" at city hall.

'The War On the Car is Over'

December, 2010 : City council quickly falls in line with the new mayor's populist agenda, agreeing to scrap the $60 vehicle registration fee, cut councillor expense budgets and make the TTC an essential service.

Taking out the Trash

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May 17, 2011: Mr. Ford wins an important vote to privatize garbage collection in the city's west end, a key component of his election platform. Supporters consider it payback for a protracted 2009 labour dispute that virtually shut down the city.

Marg and The Mayor

Oct. 24, 2011: The mayor will take on left-wing councillors, but he will not take on the Marg Delahunty, princess warrior. Confronted by Mary Walsh's character from the satrical CBC show This Hour Has 22 Minutes , Mr. Ford calls the police and later swears at a 9-1-1 operator when cruisers don't show up immediately.

The Negotiator

Feb. 5, 2012: The mayor scores the last of his major political victories when he and his negotiators force Toronto's second-biggest union to sign a new collective agreement on the city's terms. The move ensures relative labour peace for the remainder of Mr. Ford's term.

Off the Rails

Feb. 8, 2012: The wheels begin falling off the mayor's agenda when TTC chair Karen Stintz splits with Mr. Ford over transit priorities. She wants LRTs, he wants subways. Ms. Stintz prevails. Mr. Ford's entire TTC board is eventually dissolved and replaced with members less sympathetic to his agenda.

Bad to Worse

March 12, 2012 : The beginning of the end. Paul Magder files an application alleging the mayor broke the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act when he participated in a vote that let him off the hook for more than $3,000 in improper donations to his football foundation.


Nov. 26, 2012: A judge rules Mr. Ford broke municipal conflict of interest laws. He is given 14 days to vacate his seat, but the mayor vows to appeal.

A judge rules Mr. Ford broke municipal conflict of interest laws. He must vacate his seat in 14 days, but is not disqualified from running again for office. Mr. Ford's lawyers vow to seek a stay on the ruling to appeal the verdict.

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About the Author
National reporter

Patrick previously worked in the Globe's Winnipeg bureau, covering the Prairies and Nunavut, and at Toronto City Hall. He is a National Magazine Award recipient and author of the book Mountie In Mukluks. More


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