ABOVE: Doug Ford absolutely exploded in City Council chambers Wednesday in a screaming rant against Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper, Councillor Paul Ainslie, and the “hypocrisy” of city council
TORONTO – Toronto council descended into a shouting match as Councillor Doug Ford accused his fellow councillors of “hypocrisy” in considering asking Mayor Rob Ford to apologize for a series of robocalls accusing a rival councillor of misleading his constituents.
Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper recommended Ford apologize after finding he’d violated the code of conduct for robocalling councillor Paul Ainslie’s constituents after Ainslie voted against ripping up a funded plan for Scarborough light rail.
Mayor Ford recused himself during the debate; his brother and campaign manager Doug Ford did not.
In the ensuing brouhaha, Ford’s invective slammed other councillors, the integrity commissioner and speaker Frances Nunziata. He accused them of “recklessly” and falsely targeting his brother, claimed this latest complaint – one of many others – was politically motivated and that the mayor was held to a double standard. His shouting continued well after his microphone was turned off.
Ford refused to apologize or retract his comments until “hell freezes over” and told Nunziata, when she repeated her request, “if you don’t understand English, I’m not doing it.”
That outburst prompted Councillor Maria Augimeri to stand up and shout “You take back what you said about Frances Nunziata!”
Ford shouted back, “Sit down and be quiet!” and then told her, sarcastically, to “keep yapping away.”
Ford eventually did apologize to Nunziata, claiming to have the utmost respect for her, but refused to apologize to other councillors. “I will not apologize for telling the truth to the people of Toronto,” he said.
Ford’s said his councillor colleagues “despise Rob Ford and will do anything to take him down.”
He lauded his brother for not ever filing a complaint over “inaccurate things” with the integrity commissioner and said, the mayor, is a “big boy.”
The mayor has been the target of many ethical and conflict of interest accusations and investigations, and he’s called for the city’s integrity commissioner to have fewer powers.
The donnybrook ended only when Nunziata called for a lunch break. After more than 90 minutes debating it, council still hadn’t decided whether to ask the mayor to apologize.