It appears the Ford brothers can’t even show up to an event these days without sparking controversy.
On Monday, a Toronto mayoral debate in East York turned fiery before it even began as Mayor Rob Ford and his brother and campaign manager, Coun. Doug Ford, clashed with organizers over the rules.
Each of the five main mayoral candidates were told they could bring only one member of their team to the debate, hosted by the Parkview Hills Community Association in a local church. Space was so limited that those attending the debate reportedly had to prove they lived in the area.
But Rob Ford wanted his brother, his bodyguard and communications director, Amin Massoudi, to be let inside, leading to a heated confrontation outside the doors. Toronto police were even called in to calm things down.
Global News caught Doug Ford screaming at event organizer Demetra Samaras as another coordinator forcefully tried to remind him of the rules.
"What sort of kangaroo debate is this? Is this a joke? Is this a joke?" Doug Ford screamed.
Eventually, Doug Ford got his way and was let in.
Footage shot by CTV News also caught Rob Ford arguing with Samaras.
"This is game playing," he said. "We're either coming in or we’re leaving."
According to CTV News, Doug Ford also accused Parkview president Justin Van Dette of bias because he is a supporter of rival candidate John Tory. Van Dette, however, told the councillor in front of the cameras that a media panel was running the debate.
"You can have your biased debate," Doug Ford screamed. "You're part of the John Tory campaign."
Samaras later told CityNews there was some pushing and shoving during the ruckus.
"Doug ... kept saying 'I'm a councillor and you have to let me in because this is a public event,'" she said. "Well, it's not. It's a private event."
Things calmed down considerably once the debate began, with no major fireworks reported. However, Olivia Chow did accuse rival Tory of flip-flopping on his transit plan, while he suggested she would be unable to work effectively with different levels of government.
Rob Ford told reporters after the debate that the rules were not made clear to his team.
"There's no secret. There's games being played, that's fine. They can play their games," he said. "At the end of the day, I've got a proven track record."
But Tory denied that there was any kind of bias at play during the debate and said it was professionally-run.
"I think this is just part of the overall circus that the Fords bring to town any time there's a story out about them that they don't want to talk about," Tory said. "Next thing you know we’re going to have bears riding unicycles and people in funny costumes."
Earlier on Monday, The Globe and Mail reported the Ford brothers helped a client of their family business lobby for a city contract.
Toronto voters head to the polls on Oct. 27.
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