POLITICS

Councillor Stands By Call For Mayor Rob Ford To Step Aside

06/11/2013 11:29 EDT | Updated 08/11/2013 05:12 EDT
CP
Mayor Rob Ford is dismissing concerns over the lack of women on his executive committee after outspoken Coun. Jaye Robinson was removed without explanation on Monday.

“When you say there’s no women in leadership roles, I beg to differ, there are many women in leadership roles that I’ve put there,” said Ford citing TTC Chair Karen Stintz and Speaker Frances Nunziata among the examples.

Earlier Tuesday, Coun. Robinson said she was removed from the Ford's executive committee on Monday over her comments in recent weeks that the mayor should address the drug use allegations he's facing, or temporarily step aside.

"I stand firmly behind everything that I've stated and I believe that Torontonians feel like-minded and they want answers and they want them now," said the Don Valley West councillor during a news conference Tuesday morning. "At this time, a temporary leave of absence is not out of the question if the mayor is unable or unwilling to answer the questions that have still not been clarified to date."

Mayor Ford has been the centre of allegations that a video exists showing him smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.

Ford said again on Tuesday that he's addressed the allegations and Robinson's comments had nothing to do with her removal.

"I just want to bring some fresh blood on the executive and go in a different direction," said Ford, shrugging off a reporter's question that it was because of Robinson's call for the mayor to resign. "That's not true. The optics are whatever you want to perceive them as."

Robinson, the lone female member of the 11-member committee, was also removed as chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee.

"It is unfortunate the executive committee no longer has room for a diversity of voices," Robinson said. "I will continue to stand up and speak out when the situation demands."

Robinson said she received a call from Ford's staffers while in her ward on Monday afternoon asking that she report to Ford's office in 10 minutes. She told his staffers that this was "physically impossible."

Ford advised her staff at approximately 4 p.m. that he was removing her from the committee, she said.

"It is unfortunate that the mayor did not have the courtesy, or respect, to remove me from executive in person, face-to-face," said Robinson, noting her nearly three years of service on the committee.

Robinson believes she was demoted over her comments that the mayor should take a temporary leave of absence. She has also been outspoken over the mayor's brother, Coun. Doug Ford, speaking on his behalf.

Still, Robinson said she hasn't been provided with any reasons for her removal but feels her views reflect those of Toronto residents.

"I stand by what I said and I think the thoughts of my constituents and people across Toronto that they wanted clarity around the issue," she said.

On his way to a meeting of city council, Coun. Ford said Robinson's removal was being exaggerated and simply a part of politics.

“We wanna move forward, maybe in a little different direction, and I don’t think this is a big deal at all about shifting from one person to another," Ford said.

York West Coun. Anthony Perruzza will replace Robinson on the executive committee.

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