Globe and Mail: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's family are, variously, a drug kingpin, a gangster, and affiliated with the KKK

The Globe and Mail, a respected national Canadian newspaper, has run an absolutely sensational and jaw-dropping investigative story chronicling the shady lives of the immediate family of Toronto Mayor Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford, including his brother, City Councillor Doug Ford.

The Globe piece details how Doug Ford was allegedly one of the top drug traffickers in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, supplying the lower-level dealers in the region and running with a notorious gang, many of whose members ended up junkies and were arrested for habit-feeding property crimes.

The piece also discusses Randy Ford, who was also allegedly in the drug trade, and who was arrested for his part in a kidnapping, allegedly over a drug deal.

Ford's sister, Kathy Ford, is alleged to have ties to the Canadian chapter of the KKK, and to have been involved in spectacular, drug-related violent incidents.

Finally, the Ford brothers' close advisor, David Price (heretofore known as Rob Ford's former coach), is described a Doug Ford's former drug-dealing partner.

Rob Ford has been in the news since last week's revelation that both the Toronto Star and Gawker claimed to have been shown a video in which the mayor of Canada's largest city smokes crack cocaine, passes racist remarks about the kids on the football team he used to coach (he's been fired from that job) and calls Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau (son of Pierre Trudeau), "a fag."

Ford has been refusing to speak to the press or answer questions -- apart from a few cursory denials -- ever since, and I think this prompted the Globe to go digging in his past to see if there was anything in his history or family that suggested he might be involved in hard drugs. I'm guessing Ford wishes now that he'd just had a press conference.

Update:: I stand corrected: the Globe has been working on this story for 18 months.

In recent years, the Ford family home has become known for the annual barbecue, attended by hundreds of neighbours and a Who’s Who of Conservative luminaries – including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. But in the 1980s, the finished basement at 15 Weston Wood Rd. was one of the many places Doug Ford did business, the sources said.

“Justin” recalled descending to the basement on one occasion to buy hash from Mr. Ford, and on numerous other occasions watching as it was sold.

He said he couldn’t recall exactly how much hash he purchased that day, but that it was enough to require a triple-beam balance scale – the kind used in most high-school science classes. Normally, street-level dealers in that era relied on Pesola scales, the compact tubes often used by fishermen to weigh their catch. “If you went over [a quarter-pound], you had to go up to the three beamers – because you could get up to a few pounds on it,” he explained.

As a dealer, Doug Ford was not highly visible. Another source, “Tom,” who also supplied street-level dealers and has a long criminal record, said his girlfriend at the time would complain, whenever he was arrested, that he needed to be more calculating “like Doug.” Mr. Ford’s approach, sources said, was to supply a select group that in turn distributed smaller amounts across Etobicoke.

Globe investigation: The Ford family’s history with drug dealing [Greg McArthur and Shannon Kari/Globe and Mail]

(Thanks, Charlie!)


  1. Maybe I’m being naive but I’m not understanding how all of this could have been hidden for so long.   Leaving aside Rob Ford being mayor, the brothers Ford have been in Toronto politics for quite a while.

      1.  There is no such thing as an “Omerta” or a “Cosa Nostra”, he’s just a friend of ours.

  2. My impression is that a lot of people knew but without solid evidence, didn’t want to get slapped with a massive libel suit.

    1. Plus if you tussle with someone powerful in Toronto, you won’t be able to find a lawyer to provide effective representation, their only service is mutual backscratching with the “opposing” counsel. 

      And someone can powerful can sue you as often as you want because there is no way for the little guy to get awarded punitive damages.

      In the US, conservatives call that “tort reform,” and the effect is that if you annoy someone powerful, your life is effectively over.  And in Canada, what are you going to do, start a new life in Saskatoon? 

      1. Hey, you can always come to the US. We have no clue what happened in your former life in the frozen north.

        1.  Oh I got thrown out of Canada.

          Now whenever I hear someone talking about their academic or business arrangement with canada I ask them how it turned out and they make a sour face…..

      2. And in Canada, what are you going to do, start a new life in Saskatoon?

        The Maritimes!

  3. It’s been a bit of an “open secret” in Toronto that this story was written, and then shelved by the Globe over a year ago. It may boil down to the fact that libel and defamation laws are much stricter in Canada than elsewhere – and one of the clearest defenses for a newspaper is demonstrating an “immediate public interest” – which would have to be easier now than a year ago. It also could be that more sources were willing to come forward to confirm these allegations recently.

    Also important is the increasing role of David Price in the mayors office (the article alleges he was Doug’s major dealing partner) when he showed up oddly a few months ago as a “logistics director” with no obvious experience in politics and who seems to operate more as a cartoonish “hired goon” for the mayor.

    Finally, Canadian press is (honestly) not generally in the practice of prurient muckraking. There’s a number of similar “open secrets” I’m aware of regarding substance abuse, personal issues, and sexuality of prominent figures that aren’t reported on unless it’s concretely is affecting the public (for example the crack dealers dealing the alleged video also alleged sales to a number of other prominent Toronto figures which has been mostly ignored as none of them are currently the mayor of the city) .

    I suspect increasing concerns about Fords health and well being have shifted the lens as to how much this family history may be applicable to the current administration (although personally I always thought it would have been applicable long ago as Fords first civic campaign significantly focused on getting drug dealers out of his district).

    1. It’s been a bit of an “open secret” in Toronto that this story was written, and then shelved by the Globe over a year ago. 

      There was a guy on Power and Politics on CBC News Friday evening who said that he knew for sure that there was a major Canadian paper sitting on a big story about Rob Ford. I assume this is the story he meant.

  4. Normally, at least in the US, this is where a politician would resign to “spend more time with his family”.

    However, in Ford’s case, I’m not sure that spending more time with his family would be a terribly good idea for anyone involved…

    1. I would like him to spend more time with his family, in adjoining cells in prison.  

    2. Marian Barry kept on going, despite repeated allegations of cocaine use until the feds “set him up,” and he was arrested.  After getting out he’s back in politics as a member of the city council.

  5. this story is a gift that just keeps giving. the Ford brothers only have 5 or 6 supporters left on council, the rest of their former supporters have jumped liked rats from a sinking ship over the last year. the sooner this pack of nastiness is turfed out of office, the better. 

    1. And yet, the latest poll (done last Friday) shows that Ford’s vote share numbers have not changed one bit.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if this does nothing to his support, just polarizes it and moves people away from the centre to far over in one side or the other.

  6. So they’ve figured out what’s wrong with Rob Ford…when do we get an explanation for what is wrong with Toronto?

    My information on this all comes from BoingBoing, to be sure (and since the crack video, a few other outlets), but the impression is that you’d have to be insane to put this man in high office…and obviously the majority of the voters in Toronto did just that.

    1.  Not really. Ever since the former Tory premier of Ontario, Mike Harris, amalgamated the downtown of Toronto with its hulking suburbs, the city has been largely unable to govern itself — the suburbanites foist their candidates on the city.

      1. Yeah that was a bad move, guarantees that either the suburbs or or the core won’t like the mayor. This is only the second ‘suburb’ mayor as far as I know.

          1. @facebook-1515015318:disqus : Ah, well then clearly he’s some kind of anti-Canadian and all the criticism against him is well warranted.

        1. Bad move? I think it did exactly what it was supposed to.  I forget who wrote the article in the last week that the Mayor of Toronto at the time was a diehard opponent of Harris at the time, and even though a referendum was done which showed the people 3-1 against the idea, from the city and the burbs, it went through anyway.

          What wasn’t even suggested, was any amalgamation of places like Halton or Peel, which had an equal chance of saving money (now seen to be zilch, but the conservatives at the time said it would save a bundle…). Those areas, not coincidentally, vote reliably conservative.

          And, Mike Harris himself attended Ford’s victory party. Which he should’ve since he contributed to Ford’s win.

      2. Has anybody tried a ‘Stephenson Gambit’ and offered the suburbs the exciting opportunity to spin themselves off into little privatized burbclaves? Sure, gated ‘communities’ aren’t much to look at; but the fences help keep them contained…

      3. @GawainLavers:disqus: you’d have to be insane to put this man in high office…and obviously the majority of the voters in Toronto did just that.
        @twitter-2729061:disqus:  the suburbanites foist their candidates on the city.

        There seems to be something fundamentally wrong with the suburbs in general, chronically electing wingnuts that cultivate the oily used car salesmen aura.
        Always getting it wrong, tacitly approving of, say Bill O’Reilly while having a strong negative opinion of Conan O’Brian, embracing the lying bully while dismissing the nice guy.

        1. I think it’s particularly bad in Toronto because no strongly left-leaning people in their right minds stay in the suburbs. The city itself is just so fantastic – cosmopolitan, liberal, friendly, etc. without most of the drawbacks of city life you find in other cities (other than cost of living).

          The ones who can’t afford it don’t just give up and live in the suburbs (which are not cheaper anyway), they move to NDP stronghold hipster towns like Hamilton.

          Of course this all is also true of other cities, and the suburbs are always conservative strongholds. It’s just particularly segregated in that way in Toronto, and then they went and combined the suburbs with the city.

          I don’t know the intent behind that (I have a friend who ran as an NDP candidate in Toronto and I’ve spent a lot of time there, but I’m from Buffalo in the US) – it seems like it certainly could have united the region and smoothed out the politics, but AFAICT it’s done the opposite, and the power has concentrated in the conservative suburbs.

          To get to your broader point, as someone who’s always lived in the suburbs (to my dismay), on both sides of the country, you’re certainly right. Perhaps it has something to do with the sort of people who feel like living in the suburbs is the best thing – that certainly sounds like they’d be more conservative. 

          But to wrap up my essay, it’s not such an extreme divide in other suburbs. In Buffalo, a lot of people in the city itself are conservative, and the wealthier suburbs (where I’m from) are a relatively healthy mix of political opinions (and as an example, my mom is a leftist who went to Woodstock, and my dad watches Fox News). Though they do lean right the further you get from the university. Orange County, CA, where I also have lived, is chock full of left-leaning young people, despite the overall voting results (though of course they mostly want to move to LA when they’re able to).

      4. But that only transfers my question to the suburbs.  I mean, I know from watching David Lynch that suburbs are evil, venal and surreal, but this is still a bit much.

        Josh Marshall’s take:

        “If I were advising on-the-ropes Toronto Mayor Rob Ford I’d advise him to get ahead of this story by becoming the first major elected official to come out in favor of medical crack.”

  7. It’s one thing to have the Toronto Star after Ford, but to have the Globe and Mail pile on shows that Toronto’s Old Boy network is giving Ford the heave-ho. I guess we’ll see the Rogers family pile on next.

  8. I’ve only been in Toronto for just over ten years, but in that time i’ve come to love the place. If I was out of town and someone asked “where are you from”, I’d proudly say “Toronto”. My answer lately has been “What do you mean…originally?”

  9. Seems being a mayor doesn’t normally come with many prerequisites, but this has been a disaster since he started running on a platform that didn’t have anything more than a single catchphrase. It was like electing Joe Quimby and Homer Simpson as a single entity.

    I imagine what will happen next will be a swing left, but can you imagine if Olivia Chow gets elected? What an opportunity for someone — anyone — to look like a hero.

  10. It isn’t often that Canadian politics is more fun than it’s southern neighbor’s politics.
     I don’t know if this is something to be proud of, but it definitely is, well…fun.

  11. I don’t understand how you could have a Canadian chapter of the KKK. Are they all American expats sitting there fuming about the Civil War?  Or are there Canadians who actually wish the slaveholders had won?

    1. KKK membership anywhere has not typically been a sign you had a sensible approach to politics, humanity, or reality.

    2. From the Canadian Encyclopedia:

      “The Klan appealed to few Canadians and remained relatively obscure, except in Saskatchewan. After American organizers absconded with approximately $100 000 of Klan funds in 1927, the Saskatchewan organization regrouped and, at its height, just after the 1929 provincial election (in which it was influential in ending 24 years of Liberal rule), it boasted of having 40 000 members.”

    3. The connection between the KKK and neo-Confederacy has never been that strong, really; although the nineteenth-century Klan rationalized its existence in terms of the post-war Reconstruction, it soon turned into an organization (organizations, really) for racists just about anywhere. The Indiana Klan, by the mid-1920s, was incredibly powerful==its membership included 30% of all native-born white men in the state, including the governor. 

      As for the neo-Confederates, they hardly had to keep to a semi-underground organization, as they had had the “Lost Cause” officially enshrined in their regional mythology and politics.

  12. Well if you’re selling out of your house, there’s little reason to not use a triple beam scale even for smaller transactions.  I’d guess many pot dealers could tell you how many grams are in an ounce off the top of their head, since triple beam scales are invariably metric.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if the dealer suddenly “disappeared” somehow.  Like with cement shoes.

  13. Cory’s headline needs correcting as follows: s/are/were/.  We’re talking about guys selling hash nearly 30 years ago.  (So drug king-pin, not so much).  About the only reason I find this story interesting is the hypocrisy of the Ford’s stand on drugs now.  But in terms of moving a few bricks back in the day?  Good on them.

  14. 1. Reporters see video 6 months ago, remain mum while deciding whether to purchase.

    2. Gawker sees video, reports on it while saying it cannot afford but may try.

    3. Gawker story picked up widely.

    4. L. Bumblefuck remains silent for 7 DAYS on the story, then suggests no video exists in his non-denial statement.

    5. Turns out he, his brothers and family are criminals and connected to low-tier drug trade.

    So, what do you suppose his brother and associates were up to for 7 days except looking through their (expanded by power) networks for the guy who had the video. L. Bumblefuck has some idea at least who he smokes crack with/around, they weren’t flying blind.

    That guy is probably mixed into a huge pile of mulch somewhere or a barrel of acid.

    He dead.

    But hey, Gawker scooped a major newspaper, so there’s that I guess, except now there may be no video…

  15. Do you look like Mayor Rob Ford?” reads a January 2012 posting on the
    classifieds site Canadian Listed. “I need someone who looks like Rob
    Ford to play the mayor in my film. It’s a short shot of the mayor
    smoking a cigar and chuckling into the camera — as part of a montage.”

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