The case of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the parking lot fridge magnets

Chris Young/CP

While the big political story in the country Tuesday was a Liberal election victory in B.C., a much smaller scene played out in Toronto the same evening, as reporters followed Mayor Rob Ford around a suburban church parking lot as the mayor of Canada’s biggest city slapped fridge magnets adorned with his name and phone number on parked cars.

Though the next Toronto election isn’t until 2014, Ford appeared to get a very early start on campaigning when he left a community council meeting in Etobicoke, a west-of-downtown part of the city, to plaster cars with fridge magnets that read “Rob Ford Mayor.”

Inside, residents were discussing a proposed highrise condo development called Humbertown, which many in the community objected to, saying it didn’t mesh with their suburban neighbourhood.

While it’s possible that Ford just had some leftover magnets from the 2010 campaign that he wanted to get rid of, his actions attracted the attention of journalists inside the meeting. Toronto Star city reporter Daniel Dale writes:

“When a reporter told Ford that some people might find his behaviour strange, he retorted that some people find the reporter strange. Magnets in hand, he made no further comment.”

Ford did take a moment to speak with journalists as they followed him around the parking lot. According to a report in The Globe and Mail, he told them: “This isn’t downtown, this is Etobicoke. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Humbertown .… We cannot let these developers come in and bully us.”

Both Ford and his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, live in Etobicoke.

Ford was aided in his magnet-blanketing by David Price, reports The Star, his recently hired director of operations and logistics, who was also his high school football coach at one time. Price also ran interference as journalists followed Ford to ask just what he was doing and why he wasn’t listening to the depositions that he had, presumably, attended the community meeting to hear.

Ford later returned to the meeting, where he spoke against the development.

UPDATE: Some of Ford’s magnets appeared on the magnet black market Wednesday morning, in an ad on Kijiji hawking “Official Mayor Rob Ford Car Magnets – Like New!”

The description of the two magnets reads: “Pair of very lightly used Rob Ford car magnets (may also double as a fridge magnet but no promises). Hand installed by The Mayor himself last night at the Humbertown redevelopment meeting in Etobicoke. Will happily trade for one iota of progress on The City’s transit file.”

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