TORONTO – The invitations for Mayor Rob Ford’s annual barbeque have gone out, but the permit hasn’t been granted.
Campaign rules state however that no permits for the use of city facilities, including squares and parks, will be used by a candidate during an election.
But that won’t stop the city from issuing a permit.
“Parks hasn’t yet granted the permit for Ford Fest, however subject to some technical conditions being met, the permit will be granted. There are no administrative reasons for the City to refuse the permit,” a city spokesperson said in a statement. “Simply issuing a permit does not contravene any City policies. It is up to the candidate or person who receives the permit to ensure that what happens at the event does not contravene any City or election policies.”
The Ford family usually holds one event at the matriarch’s Etobicoke home but in recent years has expanded the festival to a spin-off in Scarborough.
“I invite everyone to Ford Fest, even the other candidates if they want to come to Ford Fest,” Ford told reporters at Woburn Park Monday. “We’ve done it every year, not just an election year, but every year.”
The mayor’s father, Doug Ford Sr., started the event in 1995 when he was elected to the Ontario legislature.
“It gets a little emotional because my dad’s not here with us and he started it and he said we’re giving back to the community,” the mayor said. “We’re going to continue to have it every single year, just to give back to the community.”
The mayor added it’s “frustrating” when people try to spin Ford Fest into a campaign event.
While the event dates back to before Ford was mayor, he did use last year’s barbeque to deliver a campaign-style speech urging supporters to vote for him.
But mayoral rivals told several media outlets Monday the event should be considered a campaign event and be denied permits.
The next barbeque, scheduled for Friday, is expected to draw Ford supporters to Thomson Memorial Park in Scarborough.
There is no liquor permit either, the mayor said, but that’s not because of his recent troubles with substance abuse. Instead, they just didn’t have the time to get a liquor license.
“If people want to drink, go ahead,” he said. “I can’t be holier than thou and say not drink.”