Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says the city's integrity commissioner is politically motivated in the wake of her finding that he and his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, violated council's code of conduct when they criticized the medical officer of health on their weekly radio show.
"It's all just political. It's just nonsense if you ask me. We'll just move on and just find efficiencies and save taxpayers money and do what's important to the taxpayers," Ford said Thursday, speaking of the report issued earlier in the day by Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper.
When asked if he thought the integrity commissioner report was politically driven, Ford replied, "absolutely."
"It's just a waste of taxpayers' money if you ask me," he said, speaking of complaints to the integrity commissioner. "And the average person thinks the same."
Lieper wrote in her report that the Ford brothers' critical comments in April about a staff report commissioned by David McKeown, Toronto's medical officer of health, constituted a breach of a rule enshrined in the city’s code of conduct that prohibits demeaning the professional reputation of city staff.
The report, which examined how speed limits and other factors affect the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, recommended lowering speed limits for drivers on residential streets.
On air, Rob Ford called the report "nonsense" and made a reference to McKeown's $294,000 salary as an "embarrassment." He said he would "look into that and try to straighten things out."
Coun. Doug Ford referred to McKeown as "this guy" and twice asked: "Why does he still have a job?"
That prompted a complaint to Leiper from Coun. John Filion.
Doug Ford calls complaint 'frivolous'
Doug Ford on Thursday reacted by calling Filion's complaint "frivolous," and said he thinks it's too easy to make complaints to the city's accountability officers.
"You look at the complaints: everything is on centre to right, on our team. Anything to the left, no one has ever had a complaint. That's unusual," he said.
Leiper reviewed the complaint and recommended that council reprimand Doug Ford because he refused to apologize.
"If I'm forced to apologize for something that I believe in, I'll apologize, but I won't mean it," Ford said. He said he likes Leiper and noted she is just doing her job by following up on complaints filed to her.
"I'm just going to get 10 pieces of paper and have on it: 'I, Doug Ford, apologize to "blank space" for anything I've said in the past and anything I'm going to say in the future for the next two years. Signed, Doug Ford.' And the integrity commissioner [can] just fill in the names."
Meanwhile, the mayor said in a response letter the comments were his own opinion and not an attempt to threaten or influence the medical health officer.
"Taxpayers do not want Toronto Public Health freelancing in public transportation policy or even public safety issues,” Ford said.
Leiper is calling on council to adopt a finding the mayor did in fact breach a section of council's code of conduct, recommending the lighter punishment because the mayor has since retracted his comments in a letter.
She also ruled that preparing the report on road safety fell within the medical health officer’s job description.