Rob Ford’s outrageous statements before his tenure as Toronto’s mayor

Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto who last year admitted to smoking crack, is known for speaking his mind — often outrageously. This headline-making talent goes back to his days before he was mayor, according to a new book released today. “Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story,” by Robyn Doolittle (Viking, $26), explores the life and career of the explosive politician. Doolittle reveals that while representing Ward 2 Etobicoke North as a member of the Toronto city council, Ford was similarly prone to provocative outbursts — offensive to many people. “Sometimes Ford would apologize,” Doolittle writes, “and sometimes not.”

Here’s a sampling of his statements quoted in “Crazy Town”:

“You slithering snake!” he shouted at Toronto Zoo board chair Giorgio Mammoliti during a 2003 council meeting. “I know he’s a weasel and weasels and snakes belong in the zoo!”

“Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. Not for people on bikes,” Ford declared in 2007. “And, you know, my heart bleeds for them when I hear someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.”

He opposed a plan to help drug addicts avoid disease by handing out paraphernalia. “You’re not helping them, you’re enabling them,” he said. “They’re going to smoke that crack whether you give them those crack pipes or not. They’re going to shoot that heroin whether you give them clean needles or not. If people want a change, it has to come from within.”

Praising the Asian community as hard-working, he said in 2008: “Those Oriental people work like dogs. . . . They sleep beside their machines. . . . The Oriental people, they’re slowly taking over.”

Of transgendered people, he said: “I don’t understand: is it a guy dressed up like a girl or a girl dressed up like a guy?”

Steven Levingston is the nonfiction editor of The Washington Post. He is author of “Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Époque Paris” (Doubleday, 2014) and “The Kennedy Baby: The Loss that Transformed JFK” (Washington Post eBook, 2013).
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