Toronto Police Service reports highlight ongoing investigation of Toronto’s mayor

Updates: A Feb. 1, 2014 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Crazy Town: The Rob Ford story, exclusive excerpt of Robyn Doolittle’s book.” A Feb. 2, 2014 CBC interview with Robyn Doolittle on The National can be accessed here.

A Feb. 13, 2014 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Police seek more answers from residents of home linked to Ford video.”

A May 17, 2014 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Project Traveller and the Dixon City Bloods.”

A May 26, 2014 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Gangsters, goris and 10 cups of coffee: Life among the Dixon City Bloods:Project Traveller wiretaps offer rare glimpse into a world of alleged gun-running, drug dealing and bloody gang rivalries.”

A May 6, 2014 blog post at this website provides a back story – a means of contextualizing the narrative – regarding the above-noted article. The post is entitled: “Alice Goffman’s ‘On the Run’ Studies Policing in a Poor Urban Neighborhood – New York Times, April 29, 2014.”

A related back story is highlighted in an August 6, 2013 blog post entitled: “The Drug Wars in America, 1940-1973 (Kathleen J. Frydl, 2013).”

The latter post has had some updates, as the Drug wars (2013) narrative is linked to many related topics:

Updates to Drug Wars (2013) and related topics, discussed in previous posts

Updates: Drug Wars (2013) and the gangster genre

[End of Updates]


The Oct. 31, 2013 Toronto Police Service report, which takes some time to download, is available here:


An updated Nov. 13, 2013 court document can be accessed here.

A Dec. 5, 2013 CBC update regarding the police documents can be accessed here.

A Dec. 4, 2013 Globe and Mail update can be accessed here.

An Oct. 31, 2013 Globe and Mail report from Ann Hui notes:

This from my colleague Greg McArthur, who is also scanning the doc:

  • Mayor Rob Ford used his staff to try and extract information from the Toronto police service about the surveillance that was being conducted on him and his friend Mr. Lisi, the police have alleged in the search warrant materials.
  • The police believe that on Aug. 18, Mr. Lisi and Mr. Ford, who were meeting with a third associate, observed them monitoring the meeting in a school parking lot, the affidavit states. When the surveillance officers departed the scene, “Mayor Ford was observed continuing at a high rate of speed north on Duffield Road, the last known direction of the surveillance vehicle.”
  • Several days later, a Detective Harris received a phone call from the mayor’s chief of staff, Earl Provost, who said that the mayor believed he was being followed and wanted more information about the vehicle that he believed was tracking his movements. When the police refused to provide the information, Mr. Provost said that the mayor was “getting angry… because he can’t give him what he wants.”
  • The investigators concluded that the efforts to retrieve the vehicle information was evidence of Mayor Ford “utilizing his position and the powers of the Office of the Mayor, to obtain information not available to regular citizens.”

[End of Globe and Mail text]


A Globe and Mail link with updates about the story can be accessed here.

An Oct. 31, 2013 CBC article notes the video is now in police hands.

An Oct. 31, 2013 CBC clip is entitled: “Rob Ford pushes photographer.”

An Oct. 31, 2013 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Twelve highlights from police investigation into Rob Ford.”

An Oct. 31, 2013 Globe and Mail Infographic provides a timeline of phone calls documented in the police investigation.

The following posts highlight the story’s broader context:

Several orders of frames of reference drive our perceptions

Drug wars and the power of rhetoric

Press Council addressed three questions related to responsible journalism

The presence of two seasoned detectives in the case is of interest

Drug Wars (2013) updates

Blurbs define us and tell us who we are

Drug Wars (2013)

The Drug Wars in America, 1940-1973 (Kathleen J. Frydl, 2013)

A subtext at play in the current City of Toronto story concerns the legitimacy of the Drug Wars perspective on drug use. The back story makes the unfolding narrative more nuanced than it otherwise would be. It may also be a factor – among many others, as discussed in links at the post you are now reading – in the mayor’s current high approval rating.

Media representations

History of film editing – Reisz and Millar (1968)

Of particular note, from the above-noted post, is this passage:

  • “GTA was ahead of the curve, because it embraced the villainous protagonist, the socially reprehensible protagonist, earlier than a lot of current TV shows,” says [Stephen Totilo, a writer and reviewer for the gaming website Kotaku], referring to cable series such as The Sopranos or Breaking Bad.

[End of excerpt]

Reality show

As a media character, the current mayor is aptly suited to play the socially reprehensible, villainous protagonist. What more would a viewer seeking daily entertainment long for? The current media narrative concerning the extortion investigation has features of an ongoing reality show. The audience extends around the world.


The Oxford English Dictionary (Second Edition, 2004) defines extortion as the act of obtaining something by force, threats, persistent demands, etc.

It’s also useful to have a legal definition of extortion, as articulated in the Criminal Code. We owe thanks to Mark McAllister @McAllister_Mark of Global News for tweeting the link in the previous sentence.

The definition is as follows:


346. (1) Every one commits extortion who, without reasonable justification or excuse and with intent to obtain anything, by threats, accusations, menaces or violence induces or attempts to induce any person, whether or not he is the person threatened, accused or menaced or to whom violence is shown, to do anything or cause anything to be done.

Marginal note: Extortion

(1.1) Every person who commits extortion is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if any firearm is used in the commission of the offence and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of
(i) in the case of a first offence, five years, and
(ii) in the case of a second or subsequent offence, seven years;
(a.1) in any other case where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and
(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.

Marginal note: Subsequent offences

(1.2) In determining, for the purpose of paragraph (1.1)(a), whether a convicted person has committed a second or subsequent offence, if the person was earlier convicted of any of the following offences, that offence is to be considered as an earlier offence:
(a) an offence under this section;
(b) an offence under subsection 85(1) or (2) or section 244 or 244.2; or
(c) an offence under section 220, 236, 239, 272 or 273, subsection 279(1) or section 279.1 or 344 if a firearm was used in the commission of the offence.

However, an earlier offence shall not be taken into account if 10 years have elapsed between the day on which the person was convicted of the earlier offence and the day on which the person was convicted of the offence for which sentence is being imposed, not taking into account any time in custody.

Marginal note: Sequence of convictions only

(1.3) For the purposes of subsection (1.2), the only question to be considered is the sequence of convictions and no consideration shall be given to the sequence of commission of offences or whether any offence occurred before or after any conviction.

Marginal note: Saving

(2) A threat to institute civil proceedings is not a threat for the purposes of this section.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 346; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 46; 1995, c. 39, s. 150; 2008, c. 6, s. 33; 2009, c. 22, s. 15.

Updates (listed in two segments)

A Nov. 1, 2013 Metro News article is entitled: “Timeline: Gawker’s warning, Rob Ford’s call, Lisi’s alleged extortion.”

A Nov. 2, 2013 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Is Ford’s Nation still with him?”

The article notes that:

“If there’s one question that’s likely to identify a Ford supporter, [Zack Taylor, who teaches city studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough, says,] it’s whether they drive to work.”

A Nov. 4, 2013 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Six questions Mayor Rob Ford has yet to answer.”

A Nov. 4, 2013 Globe and Mail video link is entitled: “A close look at the phone records revealed in the Lisi police documents.”

A Nov. 5, 2013 CBC article is entitled: “Toronto Mayor Rob Ford ‘could easily get re-elected.'”

A Nov. 5, 2013 Maclean’s article is entitled: “Who is to blame for this mess in Toronto?” The subhead reads: “Let’s start with the anti-elite, anti-downtown, anti-transit, anti-everything-frankly vote that swept Rob Ford to power.”

A Nov. 5, 2013 Metro News article is entitled: “Ford Nation: Three takes on why they’re so loyal to Toronto’s troubled mayor.”

A Nov. 5, 2013 New York Times article is entitled: “Toronto’s Hot Mess. What Mayor Rob Ford Knows About Toronto.”

A Nov.6, 2013 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Amid crack scandal, Ford’s approval ratings have gone up (but not in ‘Ford Nation’).”

The articles arising from the report provide a context for the unfolding story

As I’ve noted in a previous blog post, Councillor Gord Parks has shared comments of value, including a November 2013 comment at

A Nov. 8, 2013 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Toronto’s problem has grown beyond its mayor.”

Also addressing a topic in the above-noted article is a Nov. 8, 2013 Atlantic Cities article entitled: “Why It’s So Incredibly Difficult to Fight Urban Inequality.”

A Nov. 8, 2013 article at is entitled: “‘Boys will be boys:’ Rob Ford and toxic masculinity.”

Several of the above-noted articles I learned about from people I follow on Twitter. I find the articles of much value in placing into context – in establishing a coherent conceptual framework for – the unfolding story related to the Oct. 31, 2013 Toronto Police Service report.


6 replies
  1. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Colleen O’Mara writes:

    Was the lengthy description of the meaning of ‘extortion’ meant for
    the less-educated, car-owning drones of the ‘burbs ? ( Colleen M.

  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Actually, I wasn’t thinking of the good folks in the suburbs, whatever their political outlook might be. I’m sure they don’t need any help from me or anybody else in figuring out what’s what.

    The definition is primarily for my own benefit. I like to define things clearly. I enjoy ensuring that I understand clearly what such terms mean when I encounter them.

  3. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Comment from Colleen O’Marra:

    I wonder what Mr. Pill thinks of Christopher Hume’s rant this morning
    in The Toronto Star. His outrageous descriptions of suburbanites are
    almost comical if not truly disgraceful.Fanning the flames of this
    great divide seems to be Hume’s daily obsession. As far as he’s
    concerned we are The Walking Dead. ( Colleen M. O’Marra)

  4. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    What Christopher Hume writes about the suburbs may often be viewed as inflammatory, depending on who’s reading it. It’s in the nature of a columnist’s work that part of her or his task is to express views in sufficiently extreme form, so that readers will respond with equal vehemence and in that way, as a result of the ensuing controversy, increases the number of people who are reading the paper.

    I very much like the fact that we are discussing how suburbanites are perceived. It’s a fascinating topic and warrants discussion.

  5. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Colleen O’Marra writes:

    The Star is doing a pretty good job finishing off this pathetic man.
    Do we need now a second round of explanations ? First the novelette on
    extortion, now the topic of crack cocaine addiction. What next, a
    diatribe on the obese ? ( C. O’Marra)

  6. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Good to read the comments. As has been noted, there’s not much more that one can add, aside from updates on the story at the end of the post.


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