Watch above: Rob Ford apologizes for his robocalls to a Scarborough ward. Jackson Proskow reports.
TORONTO – Mayor Rob Ford preempted the council’s vote and apologized to Councillor Paul Ainslie for the critical robocalls he unleashed into Ainslie’s Scarborough ward.
Council spent close to two hours debating the report and were still arguing when Ford, on a point of order, apologized to Ainslie.
“I want to apologize to councillor Ainslie for exposing his constituents to a robocall that he voted against subways,” Ford said. “I apologize.”
The debate was heated at times with Doug Ford launching into a loud rant about council’s apparent hypocrisy.
During the morning debate, his brother Doug Ford suggested the mayor had a “moral obligation” and a “duty” to inform the residents of Ainslie’s ward that he had voted against the subway.
“If you promise your constituents you’re going to build subways during an election, and then you flip flop and go against subways, is there a problem with the mayor of the city, who was elected in by 44 wards, not just one to inform the ward… that your councillor actually voted against you?”
However, Integrity Commissioner Janet Lieper said that if Ford was only informing residents of a councillor vote, that would be fine – but he didn’t. Instead, Lieper said Ford accused Ainslie of not listening to constituents. Lieper told council Ford did so “without looking into that fact, without checking with the councillor, without having the conversation.”
She refused to say Ford lied, however, and instead called the robocalls’ contents a “material inaccuracy.”
Lieper’s report to council concluded the mayor violated council’s Code of Conduct but did not recommend a sanction. Instead, she suggested council ask the mayor to apologize to Ainslie.
In October, Ford bombarded the Scarborough ward with robocalls and said it was “extremely unfortunate” Ainslie didn’t vote for the Bloor-Danforth extension and said he “led the charge” against building the subway.
Ainslie, in filing the complaint, said he didn’t lead the charge but instead said Ford “caved” in acquiescing to a tax-hike in order to pay for a subway.
“I voted the other way because I’m not interested in having tax hikes for people or having a financial boondoggle down the road,” Ainslie said in October.