POLITICS

Rob Ford Robocalls An Act Of 'Political Thuggery', Paul Ainslie Says

10/15/2013 12:14 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
CP
Toronto city councillor Paul Ainslie intends to file a complaint with the city's integrity commissioner after Mayor Rob Ford "carpet-bombed" his ward's residents with robocalls last week.

The Ward 43 representative from Scarborough resigned from the mayor's executive committee on Friday, citing political differences over the direction Ford was taking the city.

The mayor responded later that night by sending robocalls the residents of Ainslie's riding, claiming the councillor had led the charge against a new subways line being proposed for Scarborough.

On Tuesday, Ainslie called the move a "blatant act political thuggery" and accused Ford of using his "bully pulpit" to push an early campaign agenda.

"I think he violated the councillor code of conduct," said Ainslie, accusing the mayor of using his office number at city hall to make the calls. "American-style politics have no place in Toronto city hall, let alone this country, and the mayor has crossed the line."

Ainslie told reporters on Friday that he started to "butt heads" with Ford about eight months ago over budget issues.

The councillor clarified today that Ford said he respected him and hoped they could still be friends after he said he wanted off the executive committee.

John Mascarin, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in municipal law, said the robocalls to Ward 43 residents appeared to have a very clear message.

“His wording is very interesting — right at the end, he says we are moving forward with a team to support the mandate that Toronto taxpayers gave me,” Mascarin told CBC Radio’s Here and Now in an interview yesterday.

“The implicit message…is that Paul Ainslie is not following that course, Paul Ainslie shouldn’t be voted for next election.”

Mascarin said it will be up to the integrity commissioner to decide the validity of Ainslie’s forthcoming complaint.

But he said that if she found the mayor had violated the code of conduct, the potential penalty would be minor.

“The integrity commissioner can only do one of two things,” Mascarin said.

“She can come back and if she finds a contravention, she can recommend a reprimand, which would be anything like a public censure, a request for an apology at council and then she can also order up to 90 days of suspension of pay.”

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