If this is a preview of the Toronto mayoral race, get ready for one heated campaign.
Tempers flared during a special meeting at City Hall on Monday as Councillor Karen Stintz, who has already announced she will run for the city's top job, called out Mayor Rob Ford for refusing to declare a state of emergency during last month's ice storm.
Stintz said Ford, who was stripped of most of his meaningful powers back in November, did not want to see Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly placed firmly in charge.
Ford hit back by accusing Stintz, the Toronto Transit Commision chair, of being missing in action during the storm and then taking credit once the subways were up and running again.
"Mr. Mayor, just because you didn’t see me doesn’t mean I wasn't there," said Stintz. "Is that what you’re trying to suggest?"
"Why are you getting so upset?" Ford replied, clearly goading her on. "I just wonder where you were for 10 days."
As you can see in the CityTV video above, things got increasingly more tense from there.
"You could have made one person in charge but that person wouldn't have been you so you chose not to," Stintz said.
"Councillor Stintz, you want to politicize things. You know I led the charge on the storm. Correct? You know that. Admit that," Ford shot back.
The embattled mayor turned down advice from top city officials to call a state of emergency, even after hundreds of thousands of Torontonians were left without power just before Christmas.
Deputy city manager John Livey wrote in an email that declaring a state of emergency would "assist the staff at the province to make resources available to us, crews, generators, facilities for warming centres."
Ford repeatedly said he did not see the need to declare an emergency.
But it appears that, in the aftermath, he does agree it was a disaster.
All councillors voted unanimously Monday to ask both the province and Ottawa to pony-up one-third of the cost of the cleanup.
It also voted to ask the Ontario government to declare Canada's largest city a "disaster area" — a move required to qualify for funding to deal with the havoc wreaked by the ice storm and a severe rainstorm last summer.
The recommendation was made by city staff who pegged the combined damage bill for both storms at more than $170-million.
With files from The Canadian Press
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