2 min

Mayor-elect slips out back door after victory

Xtra reporter foiled again

Credit: Andrea

Once again, Rob Ford — sorry, Mayor Ford — slipped through Xtra’s feisty fingers and managed to avoid answering questions on queer issues, this time at his own victory party.
During Monday night’s municipal election, I was at Ford’s fortuitous event in Etobicoke at the Toronto Congress Centre on Dixon Rd.
The party was utter bedlam, at least for media types.
Once inside, I elbowed my way through stumbling, drunken supporters. Many were dancing around the stage, tripping over television cables and knocking over drinks. I was in the middle of a media mob that had me clinging to my camera, notebook, purse and iPhone while I was pushed and jostled and screamed at.
And all I was trying to do was ask a couple questions.
After his victory speech, I followed Ford to the edge of the stage — dodging drunk people, soccer moms with “Rob Ford for Mayor” signs and photographers with arms stretched up, clicking away — peering into the crowd in an attempt to spot him.
He travelled through the mob of cheering followers to another stage at the centre of the room, a sort of platform lined with cameras from all the major news networks. There he climbed up and was bounced from one reporter to the next, answering questions.
Sweat beaded on his purplish brow under the hot lights. He dabbed his face with a tissue.
I really wanted to get a great quote, something that would speak to his perspective, politics and maybe even help define his tenure as mayor.
Shouting over the cheesy music – “Eye of the Tiger” – I asked policy director Mark Towhey, “Can I get a couple minutes with Mayor Ford?” He shook his head. “I doubt it,” he shouted back.
I spotted a space on the stage and hoisted myself up, pushing my way to the front and sticking out my microphone, ready to fire off a question.
“Get down,” a security guard roared.
Annoyed, I waited while CTV, trying to interview Ford, had technical difficulties.
“Some of us reporters have equipment that works and is ready to go,” I yelled. My attempts fell on deaf ears.
I stayed with the mob of media as it moved away from the stage. Silly me. I thought Ford was moving reporters to a less crowded place to answer questions.
I was wrong. He sped up, security guards putting more distance between Ford and reporters before he escaped through a back door with brother Doug Ford, the new councillor for Etobicoke North.
Xtra’s Marcus McCann, who had no problem speaking to Ottawa’s new mayor, made an astute observation on Twitter: “This is a compare-and-contrast moment. New Ottawa mayor gives Xtra an exclusive; new Toronto mayor runs away from us.”
Now that Kristyn Wong-Tam is officially the only out queer politician at council, she is dusting off her boxing gloves and getting ready to fight.
“He’s pretty much against every progressive issue I hold dear,” she told Xtra at her victory party at Slack’s on Church St Monday night.
Walking down Church St, political watchers spilled out of the bars, some cheering, some grumbling. Old election signs and flyers were littered on the curb.
The air felt a little thicker, the mood a little less sunny, faces a little more anxious.
Maybe the election hangover started early in the Village.