01/24/2012 09:48 EST | Updated 03/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Rob Ford Compares Political Rivals To 'Joe Stalin'

Flickr: West Annex News

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford compared his political opponents at city hall to despot Joseph Stalin on Tuesday, the same day that one of those councillors had praised the mayor for a new attitude.

Speaking on Toronto radio station AM 640, Ford was asked a question about Coun. Josh Matlow — a first-term politician usually described as centrist, who has said he will oppose the mayor's planned abolishment of the land transfer tax.

After calling Matlow a "left-wing NDPer," Ford compared him to left-leaning councillors Adam Vaughan, Gord Perks, Janet Davis and Paula Fletcher.

"These people are all two steps left of Joe Stalin," he said. "So I'm not discouraged by that and I don't expect it. They don't care about the taxpayers. But I know one person that does, and that's me."

Earlier in the day, Matlow had told CBC's radio program Metro Morning about a new spirit of co-operation and communication coming from Ford.

"His staff, his office, have been reaching out to myself, to other city councillors, trying to get a sense of where we're at, what we'll support, what we won't," he said.

Joseph Stalin was the general secretary of the Soviet Union's Communist Party from 1922 to 1953, during what is now considered a reign of terror. Under his rule, millions of people were sent to slave labour camps, his program of forced agricultural reform cost millions of lives and his program to purge the Communist Party of "enemies of the people" led to the execution of thousands.

Matlow was asked for a comment about the mayor's comparison, but declined.