Urging Toronto residents again to get involved in local government, Mayor Rob Ford offered on Sunday to personally “explain how politics works” to women who are interested in running for office.
“I’ve had a lot of people who’ve been calling me — I don’t know what it is — the last couple weeks, about wanting to get involved in politics, or you want to run,” Ford said on his weekly Newstalk 1010 radio show.
“I encourage people, I encourage people, I’ve always encouraged people — especially females. We need more females in politics. And it seems everyone says, ‘Oh, it’s male-dominated.’ Well, call me. Call me at home — 233-6934, 416-233-6934 — and [I’ll or we’ll] go for a coffee, and explain how politics works. You have to be over the age of 18, a Canadian citizen, and live in Toronto. And the rest is up to you, how hard you want to work.”
Ford regularly tells radio listeners, and just about every resident he meets in person, to call him directly for assistance. Later in the show, he told the chief executive officer of multinational restaurant company Freshii, Matthew Corrin, to call him if he wants a hand with his ambitious expansion plans.
“You need my help — I’m a businessman, I want to make sure. . .” Ford, whose family owns a label company in which he does not have an active role, said before he was cut off by crosstalk. He added later: “I’m on your side 100 per cent. If you need anything, all joking aside, let me know, and we’ll go looking for places to expand for you.”
Ford’s offer to women received a chilly response from the subset of the female population that was following the show on Twitter, a service whose users skew to the left.
Wrote feminist activist Steph Guthrie: “Mayor who can’t stop breaking the rules because he has never read his council handbook has offered to explain to women ‘how politics work.’’ She added: “Should we do a Toronto Women’s Filibuster and call Rob Ford endlessly for days, asking him to explain politics to us?”
Toronto’s 45-member council includes 15 women, a record. Ford appointed women to the prominent posts of council speaker and TTC chair, though his brother and radio co-host, Councillor Doug Ford, has repeatedly said that the administration’s “biggest mistake” was choosing Karen Stintz for the TTC post.
Since the 2012 resignation of Michelle Berardinetti, there has been only one woman, Jaye Robinson, on Ford’s 13-member executive committee. Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday has said that this is because most of the female councillors are left-leaning opponents of Ford’s agenda.
Non-residents of Toronto can also run for office if they own or lease property here.