Wednesday, 9 May 2012


I think every city in North America has at sometime in its history; a mayor whom the citizens believe is or was the dumbest one they ever had. The City of Toronto in Ontario is no exception. The current mayor is Rob Ford. His girth is so huge; I strongly suspect that his tailor is a tent maker. For the rest of this article, I shall refer to Mayor Ford as Porky. I am coming down hard on this man but everything I say about him is to be strictly construed as my own opinion of him and his actions even though I am quoting parts of this piece from the Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper.

Porky lives in a very nice district in Toronto in which his property borders a ravine that overlooks a city park that has a Community Centre in it. Now as nice as his property is, to him, it has one drawback. His property isn’t as large as he would like. But when Porky and his family moved into his house, he knew that his property was smaller than he wanted but he bought the property anyhow.

Until he was elected as the mayor of Toronto, Porky accepted his property’s size and he and his family lived with that decision since he purchased the property in the first place. But after he was elected as mayor, he decided to flex his muscles. He wanted more space for his property so he contacted the people at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) for the purpose of asking them to sell the property next to his property to him so that he could enlarge his own property. The piece of land he wants as his own is actually a 2,700-square-foot parkette that is there so that the people living on that street can enjoy the benefits of a small parkette with its grass and three trees and trimmed shrubbery instead of having to climb down the ravine to get at the larger park below the street. When he wrote the people at the TRCA, he said in part; 

“There is a little piece of property that I want to extend the fence out to. I have two young kids so I want to build this little fence so that they can have basically more room to play in and that’s all it is.” unquote

But that wasn’t all it is. He has also said;

“Our primary concern is the safety of Douglas and Stephanie, our two young children, having a secure area to play. The addition of this parcel of land would allow us to install a better security fence that will help enhance the safety of our children.” unquote

He also said that he wanted the space to be a buffer between his home and the fence he wants to put up. Obviously it would be a buffer his children could play in. It would be even big enough to put in a swimming pool.

That parcel of land that he spoke of in his letter is beside his own property and from what I have seen in the photos, it is almost as big as Porky’s property. But is building a security fence the real purpose of him buying that piece of the park?

As I see it, his real motive has nothing whatever to do with him building a security fence next to that side of his house. If that was his real motive, then why did he refer to the proposed fence he wants to build as being a ‘little’ fence?

I can’t help but wonder if he has another ulterior motive behind his request. Porky has said in the past that someday he would like to live in the bigger house his mother now occupies. Could this really mean that when and if his mother passes on, he will move his family into her home and sell his current home? If this is so, he would get much more in the sale of his current property if he gets to own the parkette also. 

However, I don’t think moving into his mother’s house is what Porky really has in mind. In a July 15, 2010 interview which was recorded on tape, Porky told his interviewer that he wants to tear down the bungalow he lives in and build a “nice” new one. He said he paid $499,000 for his current home eight years earlier which is surrounded by mansions worth between 1 million and 2 million. He said he doesn’t bring visitors into his house as it is too small and he doesn’t want to fix it up as he doesn’t wish to put more money into it. I can appreciate those sentiments considering that he really wants to tear it down and build a bigger house. He said that he will wait until his kids are in school and then he will tear his little house down and make room for his nice big house. Of course he can’t do that on the small plot of land he currently has. However, if he can purchase the parkette—well, that’s a horse of a different colour.

Selling that small parkette to Porky would surely open floodgates in the Greater Toronto Area to thousands of people whose property borders public parks. Undoubtedly, many of them would also like to purchase park land so that they too could enlarge their property. And if Porky gets to purchase the parkette next to his house, how can the TRCA then refuse the requests of others whose homes are right next to park land?  For sure, years later, all the parkettes that are next to homes will disappear and other parks will become smaller. Is that really what the people in the Greater Toronto Area want to happen? Is that what the people who voted for Porky to be the mayor of their city also want? I don’t think so.

When I bought my first home in Toronto, it was a townhouse and like most townhouses it had a small backyard. From the first month I and my wife lived there until 19 years later when I and my family moved to our new home, I served as a member of the Board of Directors of the townhouse complex. A no time did I ever ask the Board to sell me part of the Common Area behind our property so that I could make our backyard bigger for our two young daughters.

Daniel Dale works for the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper and is a highly respected reporter with the Star. Recently he won a National Newspaper Award which is one of the profession’s highest honours. Further, twice he was named as Canada’s ‘best young journalist of the year for a large-circulation newspaper’. He also has the city hall beat and even Porky admitted that he recognizes this young reporter when he sees him. 

Dale wanted to see if Porky was justified in asking that the property next to his own be annexed to his own property so he visited the area to conduct his investigation.

On May 2nd 2012, Dale parked his car in a nearby parking lot and headed towards the small section of the park that he believed that Porky want to buy. Dale thought that the actual park land that Porky wanted to buy was at the rear of Porky’s house but since he couldn’t legitimately walk between Porky’s house and that of his neighbour, he decided that he could get to it by first going to the parkette on the side of Porky’s house (unbeknown to him at that time—the actual parkette Porky wants as his own) and then go down the ravine and walk all the way around the fenced community centre lot and then back up the ravine again to the park space at the rear of Porky’s home and that of his neighbour.

Now he would have seen from that spot behind Porky's property that Porky already had a high wooden fence separating the park from his backyard. At that moment, he still thought that he was in the space which was part of the park that Porky wanted to buy when in fact, he was not. Quite frankly, I am surprised that this reporter who is a good reporter could make such a blunder. One would think that he would at first, check and make sure that the vacant park land space he was searching for was right next to the side of Porky’s property and not at the rear of his property. That blunder on Dale’s part is what then brought about the fracas that was soon to follow.

Porky said that his 75-year-old next door neighbour told him that he saw a man in Porky’s back yard. The neighbour later said that he didn’t tell the mayor that there was a man in Porky’s back yard. He said that the man was in the area behind his home and that the man was standing on three cinder blocks peering over the mayor’s fence. Porky later said that he found three cinder blocks piled in that area in a manner that would make it possible for Dale to see over the high fence. I doubt Dale was trying to peer over Porky’s fence for two reasons. Dale says that when he was there, he never saw the cinder blocks and further, he didn’t need to look into Porky’s back yard as he was in a better position to see the backyard from the parkette that he entered into before he went down into the ravine.

In any case, Porky knew that the only way he could get to where Dale was standing was to go the same route that Dale had gone. Meanwhile Dale was emailing an editor at the Star at 7:47 in the evening with two sentences he could add to his story. He then took at least one picture of the trees and the fence using his Blackberry. Taking the pictures was pointless. Remember, this was not the spot that Porky wanted to purchase so Dale taking the pictures and walking there was for naught.

When Porky arrived at the area where Dale was standing, he was furious. Even though he recognized Dale as a Toronto Star newspaper reporter he had seen at city hall, it didn’t cool his temper. He shouted several times, “Are you spying on me?” He even asked, “What are you doing? Taking pictures of my kids and my family? You know, are you a sicko? What’s your problem?”  

When Dale explained that he was writing an article about the park property Porky wanted to purchase, this infuriated Porky even more. Now I can appreciate why Porky was upset at this precise moment. He knew that the land he wanted to purchase was at the side of his house, not at the rear of his house where Dale and Porky were now standing. This gave him more reason to suspect that Dale was snooping at the rear of his home perhaps to get pictures of his family. As I said earlier, Dale’s blunder is what brought this fracas on in the first place.

Then Porky did something he shouldn’t have done. He raised his fist at Dale and moved towards him in a threatening manner. This frightened Dale who in terms of weight is vastly smaller. If you were in some kind of physical altercation with Porky, you wouldn’t want Porky to fall on you unless your ribs were extremely strong and could support his enormous bloated body. In any case, Dale called out to Porky in terror;

“Don’t hit me! Don’t hit me!” Perhaps he envisioned being crushed to death by Porky’s enormous body.

Porky replied;

“Nah. I’m not going to hit you. Just get out of here.”

Dale was prepared to leave and if he had and Porky returned to his home, everything would be OK with no harm done. But Porky being as stupid as he is decided to exacerbate the problem further at that moment. After Porky saw the Blackberry in Dale’s hand, he yelled;

“Drop your phone on the ground!”

If Porky had told me to do that, I would have told him to kiss my butt but since Dale is a wuss (his own words) he did as he was told. Perhaps he feared that Porky would propel his belly outwards and hit Dale with such force that he would propel him through the wooden fence. Dale is much smaller in size and could probably outrun Porky. Admittedly Porky would chase after him, smashing down trees as he rolled himself down the ravine but he never would have caught up to his quarry. In any case, Dale left the area leaving his cell phone on the ground at the feet of that huge slab of blubber standing in front of him.

That demand on the part of Porky was a very stupid thing for him to do. First of all, he had no legitimate authority to tell Dale to drop his cell phone on the ground. Second of all, before he took the cell phone to the police, he may have done something illegal with it. I am not saying that he did—I am only saying that he may have. At 8:37 p.m. (less than an hour after Dale dropped the phone at Porky’s feet, somebody hit the redial on the phone and was connected to a political staffer Dale had called earlier that day. Who ever pressed the redial immediately hung up. Whoever hit that redial, broke the law. A search warrant would have to be required and none was obtained at that moment.

If Porky was the one who pressed the redial on Dale’s phone, then two acts on Porky’s part in my opinion may have constituted the offences of ‘robbery’ which is contrary to section 343 of the Criminal Code of Canada and the offence of ‘possession of property obtained by crime’ which is contrary to Section 354(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada

Robbery is one offence which can be committed in different ways. Section 343 of the Criminal Code of Canada says;

Every one commits robbery who

(a) steals, and for the purpose of extorting whatever is stolen or to prevent or overcome resistance to the stealing, uses violence or threats of violence to a person or property;

(c) assaults any person with intent to steal from him;

What this means is that if anyone who assaults another person with the intention to steal anything from him commits the offence of robbery as stated in paragraph (a) of section 343 of the Code.

The courts have ruled that when one raises his fist towards another person (especially when he is approaching him), that constitutes an assault.

In R v. Katrensky, the accused handed a note to a bank teller which said, “Empty your till.” The court said that that act became robbery at that moment because the teller felt threatened.

Did Dale feel threatened when Porky told him to put down his cell phone on the ground? I think he did. Even Porky admitted that Dale was afraid of him at that precise moment which he later described in the following manner;

“He was like in a panic mode, like a deer caught in the headlights, (he) threw his recorder out, threw his phone out on the ground.” unquote

Dale described that moment when he said;

“I was scared. And that’s because the mayor had me cornered indeed after shouting at me, suddenly running at me with his fist in (a) punching position.”

He later said;

“He repeatedly demanded, still close, menacing his fist, still raised, that I surrender my phone. He wouldn’t let me go until I did. Nobody else was in sight.” unquote

That scenario in my opinion constituted a robbery. If you were approached by a heavy-built man and you and he were alone and he demanded that you drop your phone to the ground and prior to and during that moment, his fist was raised menacingly at you, would you not believe that you were being robbed, especially if the person who raised his fist at you then grabbed the phone from the ground and didn’t return it to you? 

Possession of property obtained by crime

Criminal lawyer, Reid Rusonick recently said about Ford demanding that Dale drop his Blackberry to the ground;

“If in fact Ford was the person who powered Dale’s cell phone and then used it, the mayor may have technically committed a crime. If Ford used force or intimidation to make Dale surrender his Blackberry, then the phone would be considered property obtained by crime. It is no different than if you are walking along the street and somebody says to you, ‘Drop your purse and get the hell out of here.’ and makes you think with a cocked fist that you’re going to get beaten if you don’t do it. And then they go through your purse, is at that point, property obtained by crime.” unquote

Dale said that he felt physically intimidated by Ford, to the point where he became more frightened than he could remember. The mayor himself acknowledged in a radio interview that he debated whether or not to hit Dale.

Section 312(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada reads as follows:

Every one commits an offence who has in his possession any property or thing or proceeds of any property or thing knowing that all or part of the property or thing or proceeds was obtained by or derived directly or indirectly from the commission in Canada of an offence punishable by indictment.

Robbery is an offence punishable by indictment.

One might be reasonably inclined to believe that Porky was in possession of stolen property right after the robbery of Dale's cell phone was committed. I believe that it was Porky who recharged the battery (the battery was dead when Dale gave it up) and it was he used the phone for his own purpose (whatever that might have been). These two acts could be evidence that Porky may have wanted that particular phone for his own two purposes—the two purposes being to (1) temporarily use it himself to see who Dale had been talking to on the phone and (2) see what pictures Dale had taken with the phone.

Porky didn’t have a warrant to seize Dale’s phone and once the police had it in their possession, they knew that they couldn't legally activate it without a search warrant and in fact they said that they didn't activate it. That leaves Porky as the offender who activated Dale's cell phone. 

Porky was also playing the role of a vigilante when he demanded that Dale turn the phone over to him by demanding that Dale drop it with its recording device to the ground.  

In Côté v. R., (a 1975 case) the Supreme Court of Canada said in part;

“When a subject-matter of an offence is a continuous state of affairs such as possession, a first conviction does not bar a second charge if the state of affairs subsequently continues in existence. This is then a new violation of the law.”

There is a distinction between robbery and being in possession of something that was obtained by a robbery. That could mean that the police might have legal grounds to charge Porky with both offences even if Porky didn’t recharge the battery of the cell phone and redial one of the numbers after all he illegally took the phone from Dale for purposes that would be to some degree beneficial to him such as learning what calls had been made previously by Dale and what pictures Dale took when he had the cell phone in his hand.

What is going to be interesting to know is whether or not Porky is going to be charged with any offence relating to this event. That would depend on whether Dale wishes that to happen. It may also be decided by his newspaper whether or not they want his complaint to go that far. Also, the police on their own initiative could lay the charge but I don’t see that happening.

Porky has been bragging that he is continuously losing weight. I can only attribute that to his extraordinary loss of his brain cells. If you doubt that, consider what he recently said. First, according to Dale, the mayor demanded that he leave the city hall beat. Now if that wasn’t bad enough, he then on May 3rd at 10:28 in the morning said on the radio show, News Talk 1010 that he won’t talk to the media if the (Toronto) Star is present during scrums. He actually said;

“Unfortunately it’s going to affect all the media if the Toronto Star—so if they’re in the scrum, there’s no media. I am not doing media if the Toronto Star is there from here on in.” unquote

He talks funny, doesn’t he? It is a brain cell thing.

What he was actually trying to say was that he would no longer be speaking to any city hall reporters if any Toronto Star reporters were present.

He spoke (in a manner that was often referred to by North American Indians) with a forked tongue. As proof of that, consider what he said on May 7th while speaking at the World Press Freedom Week ceremonies in the City Hall rotunda;

“The day serves as a reminder of violations of press freedom that occur in countries around the world where journalists, editors, (and) publishers are harassed, detained, attacked and killed. The day is also an opportunity to join with the media professionals worldwide to reaffirm the need to respect press freedom and remember those who have lost their lives while on the job.” unquote

Did he remember his own violation of press freedom when he harassed, detained and ordered the Toronto Star journalist to drop his cell phone so that he could seize it without any legitimate authority? Was he reaffirming the need to respect press freedom when he announced that he would not permit any members of the media to interview him if any reporter from a particular national newspaper was present in city hall?  

After he gave his speech in the City Hall rotunda, reporters who were present began to ask him questions about the event he had spoken at and other issues and as promised earlier, he didn’t talk to the media because the Toronto Star had a reporter present.

Does this twerp realize that if he no longer talks to city hall reporters, his career as a politician will go so far down the toilet, even the Rooter Man plumbing firm won’t be able to retrieve it. Even with his brain cells escaping his brain, for him, May 2nd 2012 (the day he confronted Dale) will be a day to remember. It is the day when his career as a politician began slipping from his grasp.

He has also expressed that he has had death threats. I condemn anyone who makes death threats, even to politicians like Porky who like all of us, lives in a peaceful and civilized country like Canada. We as Canadians are better than that. However, when thinking of Porky, I can’t help but also think of Nero in the early days of the Roman Empire when his people turned on him and demanded his blood.

What may be in the minds of the citizens of Toronto is; “Do they really want a man like Porky to continue being their mayor? We will know if he runs for office in the next election. Will those elected counsellors really want to be in the same room as Porky if he is re-elected?

Julius Caesar lost the support of the members of his senate because they feared him. It makes me wonder who Porky’s Brutus will be.

Some counsellors at City Hall were critical of Ford’s behaviour. Glenn de Baermaeker said;

“If the mayor truly had concerns, he should do what anyone else does and just pick up the phone and dial 911. This was purely over the top. I can’t see that he thought his family was being threatened in any way, especially when somebody says, ‘I’m a reporter.’” unquote

He also said that Ford should apologize to Dale.

I might add that Porky’s conduct during the noisy meeting he had with Dale is not unlike that which had occurred in Florida between Zimmerman (a man watching a community for criminals) and the 17-year-old boy he shot to death. In that case, the police told Zimmerman not to follow the boy as the police would come to the scene. Zimmerman chose to ignore those instructions and the rest is history. If Porky had called the police first, they would have told him the same thing that was told to Zimmerman and the police would have arrived in minutes considering that it was the mayor who would have been phoning them. However, Porky, like Zimmerman decided that he could handle the problem himself. Big mistake. Just like Zimmerman, he made things worse for himself and Dale.  

Councillor Shelly Carroll said that the mayor’s chronic ‘overreactions’ makes Toronto look bad. She told the Canadian Press;

“This incident takes us into the realm of, one could almost say, international embarrassment.” unquote

Political watchers outside of City Hall are also cringing at Mayor Ford’s conduct in this political fiasco. Graham White, a political science professor at the University of Toronto said that Ford’s behaviour is making him come across as a thug. He added that Ford’s threatened media blackout is absolutely appalling.

I might add that I think this episode made Mayor Rob Ford (Porky) come across as he really is—a buffoon.

I suggest that Porky consider what the soothsayer said to Julius Caesar as he walked up the steps leading to the Roman Senate, “Beware of the Tides of March.”

“Hail to Caesar!” 

UPDATE (May 10, 2012)

The Toronto police have announced that it is satisfied that reporter Daniel Dale did not peer over the fence of Mayor Rob Ford’s backyard and the police force is also satisfied that Dale did not commit a crime or trespass onto Ford’s property. Further, there was no evidence that any pictures were found in his cell phone camera showing the inside of Ford’s property. On the 7th of May, Ford said about Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale; “He’s a good guy in my opinion.” unquote Perhaps he said that because Dale decided not to file a complaint with the police about Ford’s conduct when Dale was forced to drop his cell phone immediately after Ford’s menacing and threatening order so that Ford could pick it up. It has been established however that Dale’s cell phone was used by someone 25 minutes after Dale dropped it on the ground in front of Ford and according to the police, it wasn’t them. I presume that this means that Dale is welcomed back to City Hall and Ford will speak to reporters from now on. Unfortunately for the mayor, the damage has been done and his credibility has been forever tarnished. 

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