Watch above: Why bylaw officers have been brought in to monitor Ford Fest. Jackson Proskow reports.
TORONTO – Rob Ford will be footing the bill for city staff to work overtime to ensure his annual Ford Fest complies with city bylaws.
The mayor’s annual public party has been the subject of criticism lately, and he’s had to battle accusations he is flouting campaign rules by holding an event on city property.
Ford suggested the event had been taking place well before he became mayor and the city agreed – suggesting it was his responsibility to make sure the event was in line with bylaws while issuing him a park permit.
Ford said Monday it’s “frustrating” to him when his opponents suggest his festival is a campaign event.
“I invite everyone to Ford Fest, even the other candidates if they want to come to Ford Fest,” Ford told reporters at Woburn Park Monday. “We’ve done it every year, not just an election year, but every year.”
But tweets emerged throughout the week leading up to the event, showing the mayor’s campaign website – RobFordForMayor.ca – adorned with an invitation for the event.
Ford said earlier this week he was denied a liquor license due to a “timing issue” – but the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario said Thursday that special events like Ford Fest must be of “municipal significance” to get a liquor permit.
“When the applicant applied for Ford Fest, they didn’t include some sort of notice of a designation of municipal significance, [and] therefore didn’t qualify for special occasion permit,” Jeff Keay, a spokesperson for the AGCO said.
The Ford family has been holding annual parties since 1995 when the mayor’s father, Doug Ford Sr., was elected to Queen’s Park as an MPP in Mike Harris’ Progressive Conservative Party.
The party was originally held at Ford’s childhood home in Etobicoke but, last year spawned a spin-off of the same name in Scarborough.