Mayor Rob Ford Has Bizarre Confrontation With Reporter

Rob Ford
Rob Ford, seen here in happier times, seems to be at the centre of one odd moment after another. Image: MTLSkyline

Toronto’s mayor is involved in another bizarre situation. This time, mayor Rob Ford, had a confrontation with a reporter from the Toronto Star newspaper.

(You may recall a past TeachingKidsNews article when Mayor Ford was confronted by a CBC comedian on his property, and called the police. Here is a link to that article.)

In this case, the Star found out that Ford intends to buy some property next to his home. Ironically, Ford wants to buy the property in order to erect a security fence.

Star reporter Daniel Dale went to Ford’s home around 7:45 p.m. to look at the property and take some pictures of it.

One of Ford’s neighbours called the mayor and told him someone was snooping around his house.

Ford got very angry. He drove home and confronted the reporter.

Now here’s where it gets somewhat confusing for anyone who wasn’t there at the time.

Ford says the reporter was standing on a concrete block, leaning over his fence and taking pictures of his backyard.

The reporter says he didn’t even see any concrete blocks, and was only looking at the property Ford intends to buy. He said he got confused and was actually standing on the wrong piece of property—but he says that at no time was he on Ford’s own private property.

He also says the mayor stormed up to him, put up a fist and threatened him, telling the reporter to drop his cell phone and his recorder, which Dale says he did.

Dale said he shouted for help over and over, and asked the mayor not to punch him.

Dale says Ford blocked his path when he tried to escape.

Dale and Ford both say the mayor never touched the reporter.

Another interesting piece to the story is that the battery on the reporter’s cell phone was dead when he dropped it on the ground and left. However, the Star says the phone was charged up and then used 45 minutes later. The police say they did not use the phone. The police say the battery was partly charged when they received it later from Ford.

After the incident, the mayor asked the Star to remove Dale from covering City Hall. (The newspaper says they won’t do that.)

The mayor said that in the future he will not talk to any reporters—not just the Star—if Dale is part of the group of reporters. In other words, no other news agencies would be able to get any information from the mayor if Dale is with them.

Toronto’s mayor and the Toronto Star haven’t gotten along for a long time, particularly since the Star wrote some negative things about the mayor. A representative from the Star spoke with the CBC and said that’s nothing new; reporters often have a difficult relationship with the people they cover and the Star has had troubles with other politicians in the past.

The mayor has received death threats in the past and says his priority is protecting his family, which was why he was so angry.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Freedom of the press is written into Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In a free and democratic society, a free press is very important. Consider this in relation to mayor Ford’s threat to not speak to reporters if Dale is part of the group.

Reading Prompt:
With a partner pretend one of you is mayor Rob Ford and the other is Star reporter Daniel Dale. What are three things you might say to defend your actions? After your discussion ask: Whose side do you think our TeachingKidsNews reporter is on?

Identify the point of view presented in a text and suggest some possible alternative perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Identify the point of view presented in texts, ask questions to identify missing
or possible alternative points of view, and suggest some possible alternative
perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Identify the point of view presented in texts, including increasingly complex or
difficult texts; give evidence of any biases they may contain; and suggest other
possible perspectives(OME, Reading: 1.9).

Grammar Feature: Irregular Verbs (past)
Regular verbs have a “ed” or “d” added to their ends when they take place in the past. Irregular verbs behave differently and, when written in the past, are written as different words. For example, the verb “go,” when written in the past, becomes “went.” Like right here:

“Star reporter Daniel Dale went to Ford’s home around 7:45 p.m. to look at the property and take some pictures of it.”

Write the correct form of the following irregular verbs on the blanks.

1. She _____________ (begin) her school work right away!
2. Emilio _______________ (bring) a cool trumpet to our music class.
3. Rosario _______________ (strike) the ball with all her might.
4. The sun ____________ (shine) in their eyes and they ___________ (fall) right out of the tree house.
5. I____________ (think) we were having pizza for dinner.