Mayor Rob Ford put an end to hours of debate at city hall on Wednesday by apologizing for robocalls made to residents in Coun. Paul Ainslie’s ward last fall.
“I want to apologize to Coun. Ainslie for informing his constituents through a robocall that he voted against subways. I apologize,” Ford said.
Ainslie accepted the apology and council voted to receive Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper’s report — which found the mayor had violated council’s code of conduct with his actions — and then moved on.
In her report, Leiper said the mayor should apologize to Ainslie in writing and in council. However, Coun. Shelley Carroll upped the ante and suggested the mayor send a robocall apology.
The apology came following a raucous exchange in council chambers.
After a few councillors had their say on the issue, Coun. Doug Ford stood up and accused council and Carroll of being hypocrites.
“We will be in front of the integrity commissioner every day, as you Coun. Carroll stand on your bully pulpit every day and say reckless inaccuracies,” Coun. Ford said.
Speaker Frances Nunziata asked him to “refrain from those comments” and apologize. He refused, saying what he said was “accurate.”
Although Coun. Ford’s microphone was turned off, he continued, at which point Nunziata repeatedly asked him to apologize or leave the council chambers.
“I’m not doing it … until hell freezes over,” he said.
Nunziata told Ford once again to retract his comments and apologize.
“I don’t know if you don’t understand English. I said I am not retracting,” he told her.
“But you’re not listening to me,” Nunziata shouted. “Now be quiet.”
Coun. Ford then retracted his comments.
Fair media access
On Wednesday afternoon, council voted 38 to 3 in favour of a motion for all accredited members of the press to be allowed to attend news conferences held on city property. The mayor and councillors Mike Del Grande and John Parker were the three opposing votes.
To those wondering about MM54.13: I have a general aversion to building up an inventory of little rules aimed at mandating good behaviour.
— John Parker (@johnparker26) July 9, 2014
Coun. Paula Fletcher’s motion was in response to the mayor’s decision to exclude some media outlets from his first news conference after rehab.
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With files from Showwei Chu, Cynthia Mulligan and Momin Qureshi