Rob Ford and Porter CEO Deluce: A Cozy Relationship

Mayor Ford and Robert Deluce Connected in Many Ways November 10, 2013 Toronto_Photo_Deluce_Ford_2012-09-14TORONTO - How would you feel if a co-worker gets the promotion you coveted purely based on his or her personal connections? Well, that's the kind of preferential treatment Porter's jet plans are enjoying thanks to the tight bond between Mayor Rob Ford and Porter-owner Deluce. Without that connection, City Council wouldn't even be entertaining the dangerous proposal to put jets on Toronto's waterfront. In the two months before Porter's announcement of its jet plans for the Island Airport, Rob Ford hosted Porter CEO Deluce twice in his City Hall office: February 12th and March 19th ((The Globe and Mail: article "Ford had advance briefing on airport expansion plans", published 2013-04-12)). Both meetings were not entered into the lobby registry until journalists raised the rule-breaking issue. The whole City review of Porter's jet plans got kick-started by a letter Ford sent to his Executive Committee (without being part of the meeting's planned agenda ((City of Toronto: letter to the Executive Committee by Mayor Rob Ford, 2013-04-22)) which then prompted City Council to put together a 'study'. Without Ford, the whole process wouldn't be happening.

Long History and Shared Connections

But the cozy relationship between Porter-owner Deluce and Rob Ford goes back much longer. In 2010, Robert Deluce contributed the maximum $2,500 to Ford's mayoral campaign ((City of Toronto: election contribution database, accessed 2013-11-10)). Other Deluce's donated an additional $5,000. In September 2012, Ford headed a 60-person trade mission to Chicago - on a Porter plane and co-chaired by Porter-owner Deluce ((National Post: article "Mike Harris, Ernie Eves joining Rob Ford as Toronto looks to make a splash on Chicago trade mission", 2012-09-14)). According to insider sources, Porter paid for the flight and the hotel for the delegation; Ford didn't use any City funds for the trip. Also on the trade mission: former Conservative premier of Ontario Mike Harris. Back in 1995 he publicly pushed for jets at the Island Airport ((Wikipedia: article "History of the Toronto Island Airport, accessed 2013-11-10)). Coincidence? Former Conservative premier Ernie Eves also joined Ford and Deluce on the trip. In the early 2000s, Eves and his administration pursued the eviction of the Toronto Island residents from their homes. Another connection between Ford and Deluce: Conservative fundraiser Ralph Lean - another Chicago trip participant. Lean has come out in support of Ford's 2014 re-election bid, offering his fundraising abilities ((NOW Magazine: article "7 Reasons why Ralph Lean spells disaster for Rob Ford in 2014", 2012-07-18)). Ralph Lean publicly broke with David Miller over the Island Airport, repeatedly speaking out for Porter (( blog post "Leaner times ahead for Mayor", 2009-09-15)). Lean's Bay Street law firm Cassels Brock also brokered Porter's $30 million sweetheart-deal loan for BDC - the federal government's Business Development Bank of Canada ((Cassels Brock: website post, accessed 2013-11-10)). Another shady connection between Porter and Rob Ford: Ford's 2010 campaign manager, Nick Kouvalis, now heads Conservative strategy firm Campaign Research. Under an alias, Kouvalis did a bogus phone survey for Porter ((Warren Kinsella: blog post "Jets at the Island Airport: the pungent aroma of polling bullshit", 2013-04-23)) on its jet plans to sell the media on the idea that there is broad support ((Toronto Star: article "Younger Torontonians siding with Porter Airline’s bid for expansion at Billy Bishop", 2013-05-06)). All in all, Rob Ford and Robert Deluce share more than political views. From campaign donations to joint friends, staffers and helpers, the connections are all there. Time for Mayor Ford to take a leave of absence - and to take his jet plans and accomplices with him.