Rob Ford gets roughed up at the AGO, of all places

Rob Ford gets roughed up at the AGO, of all places

Rob Ford and the AGO's downward spiral

Don’t mess with artsy folks: the Globe is reporting that at the latest of the city’s never-ending series of mayoral debates, Rob Ford was handily dressed down by his opponents, the crowd and pretty much everyone else.

When Mr. Ford launched into his standard biographical riff in answer to the first question about city planning, someone in the audience shouted: “Answer the question!”

Later, as Mr. Ford extolled his customer service record—“I personally have returned 250,000 calls in 10 years”—candidate Rocco Rossi cut him off. “Are you doing the math? This is 70 calls a day, including Christmas. Come on, are you a one-man call centre or what?”

And when Mr. Ford boasted about making the rough North Etobicoke neighbourhood of Rexdale “look like Rosedale,” the audience burst out laughing.

It was not clear at press time whether the angry mob was holding their torches and pitchforks with pinkies raised.

This is the flip side of being first in a crowded campaign: Rob Ford is (slightly) ahead with about 18 per cent of the vote. That means that 82 per cent of voters are looking at someone else, and in the downtown core, those numbers are even higher. (The same poll that put Ford in first showed he still trails Smitherman in pre-amalgamation Toronto.)

On the plus side, if the rest of the mayor’s campaign is a shout-off between Smitherman, Ford, Rossi and anyone else who happens to be in the room with them, this is going to be a fun summer.

• Mayoral rivals bear down on front-runner in debate [Globe and Mail]

Images: Ford, Shaun Merritt; AGO, Ian Muttoo