Anyone found earning a living off their city business licence while collecting welfare should be banned from social assistance for life, says Mayor Rob Ford.
On his Sunday radio talk show, Ford, his brother Councillor Doug Ford and Councillor Vincent Crisanti groused over the latest city auditor general’s report which found that 1,539 welfare clients had a registered business licence while claiming no income.
“Although possessing a business licence is no guarantee that they’re making a lot of money, many of them are self employed in largely cash businesses, so there’s a great potential of fraud,” said the mayor. “I call it double dipping . . . When I hear this stuff, you know what, I would cut these people off for the rest of their life when they’re scamming the system like that, knowingly scamming the system.”
The recipients of the estimated $20 million in welfare payments included 759 licensed taxi drivers whom cab representatives say could have turned to welfare because of a shortage of work.
“Why have the licence if you aren’t going to drive?” pondered Doug Ford, telling his brother “There’s no one that supports taxi guys more than you.”
“I bend over backwards for them,” agreed the mayor.
The two-hour Newstalk 1010 program descended into levity as the conversation turned to the 104 entertainers the auditor general also singled out. While the mayor preferred to leave speculation about their specific vocations “to your imagination,” Doug Ford identified them as strippers.
“One hundred and four? Vinnie, you know any strippers that aren’t stripping? I’m just asking. I know you’re a good Catholic boy and its Sunday but . . .”
Doug Ford also wondered whether the 175 holistic practitioners the auditor pointed out were “those massage parlours.”
“I don’t know,” replied the mayor, “I think some people call them rub and tug parlours.”
The men lauded the efforts of auditor general Jeff Griffiths to suss out financial impropriety.
“That gentleman is worth every single penny that we pay him in that budget,” said Doug Ford.