TORONTO, Ont. – Councillor Paul Ainslie says Mayor Rob Ford crossed a line when he made robocalls to residents of Ward 43, Friday evening. robocalls which Mayor Rob Ford made to residents of Ward 43.
Ainslie addressed the media at City Hall, Tuesday morning, confirming he plans to file a formal complaint with the integrity commissioner.
“I’m here today to start the fight back against a bully and a liar. I’m here to say enough is enough with this Mayor, who thinks he can get away with anything by twisting the truth,” the councillor said.
On Friday evening, just hours after Ainslie stepped down as a member of Mayor Rob Ford’s powerful executive committee, many residents of his Scarborough ward 43 said they receiving robocalls from Ford, firing back at the city councillor.
In the call, Ford said it was unfortunate that Ainslie was the only Scarborough councillor who did not listen to his constituents and voted against the subway, and added that the city continues to move forward with a team to support the Toronto taxpayers’ mandate.
Ainslie labelled the Mayor’s robocalls a “blatant act of political thuggery - robocalls using the Mayor’s phone number and his own voice – to my constituents.”
He said Ford is using his “bully pulpit” to find a scapegoat for “his failings, here at City Hall or out on the streets of Toronto.”
“I’m not scared of you,” he added, directing his comments toward the Mayor and his brother, councillor Doug Ford.
Ainslie said the calls implied that he led the charge against subways in Scarborough, when in reality, he supported the plan until it came with a tax hike. He believes Mayor Ford used him as a scapegoat, and launched the robocalls to distract voters from the fact that he is breaking his key campaign promise – to not raise taxes.
Ford, meantime, says he did nothing wrong.
“For what? Telling the taxpayers how their money’s being spent? That’s leadership, that’s what you’re supposed to do, that’s what I was elected to do,” Ford told reporters, Tuesday.
“I don’t know what [Ainslie's] so upset about. There’s nothing to hide. His job is to inform people [and] he wasn’t going to, so I did,” he said. ”I just told people how he voted. That’s it.”
Doug Ford agrees, saying the robocalls were factual in nature.
“Not only did [Ainslie change his stance], he led the charge for LRT’s. What is wrong with telling his constituents that?” he said.
Ainslie hopes his complaint will put an end to the Mayor’s American-style political smear campaigns, ”because if it happens to me, then it could happen to anyone else who sits on council.”