06/07/2012 01:38 EDT | Updated 08/07/2012 05:12 EDT

Toronto Mayor Ford says plastic bag ban shows people need to get involved

TORONTO - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford calls the vote to ban single-use plastic bags the "dumbest thing council's done" and says it shows people should pay more attention to municipal politics.

City council passed a motion Wednesday to scrap the five-cent retail bag fee on July 1, removing one of Ford's pet peeves.

But moments later, council took it further and voted to ban distribution of plastic bags altogether as of next Jan. 1.

“It’s just ludicrous," Ford told radio station AM 640 on Thursday. "It’s the dumbest thing that council’s done, and council’s done some dumb things, let me tell you.”

They mayor then directed his frustration to voters, saying they need to get in councillors' faces to stop things like this from happening.

“It’s the people’s fault," Ford said.

"Sometimes I get so frustrated because the people are just sitting back listening but they don’t pick up the phone, don’t go down to city hall, they don’t ask questions," He said.

"I want people to get engaged in municipal politics and find out who their councillor is and know how they vote.”

Ford said it would be difficult to rescind the motion, explaining that it would require someone who voted against the measure to get 30 votes out of a 45-member council to reopen the issue.

He said it would require people taking action for it to happen.

“If there was a couple of hundred thousand people down at Nathan Phillips Square today (saying) they want plastic bags back, yes, then the councillors would listen."

Toronto is joining other major centres such as San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles, who have already implemented a ban on single-use plastic bags.

The tiny community of Leaf Rapids, Man., was the first community in Canada to ban the bags in April 2007.

(AM640, The Canadian Press)