ABOVE: Mayor Rob Ford refuses to apologize for “bullying” robocalls. Jackson Proskow reports.
TORONTO – Councillor Paul Ainslie plans to file a complaint with the city’s integrity commissioner and the CRTC after the mayor blanketed his Scarborough ward with robocalls Friday.
In the call, Ford said it was “extremely unfortunate” Ainslie did not vote in favour of an extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway line into Scarborough. He added that Ainslie “led the charge against building subways in Scarborough.”
Ainslie however disputes Ford’s suggestion he “led the charge” against subways. Instead, Ainslie said, “it was the mayor who caved” in acquiescing to a tax-hike in order to pay for the subway.
The majority of council however supported the mayor and voted to extend the Bloor-Danforth line for a cost of at least $910 million. Ainslie, in defence of his vote against the plan, said he worries about maintenance costs and potential cost-overruns.
“I voted the other way because I’m not interested in having tax hikes for people or having a financial boondoggle down the road,” he said. “He’s just using his bully pulpit to find a scapegoat for his own failings here at city hall or on the streets of Toronto.”
Video: Councillor Paula Fletcher and Councillor Doug Ford don’t see eye to eye on Mayor’s robocalls
And Councillor Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother, agreed suggesting the mayor was merely “informing the people of Toronto.”
“I don’t call this bullying,” he said. “This is politics folks, make no mistake about it. We’re down here to fight for the taxpayer.”
“If they don’t like that they informed their constituents about their vote, then so be it, that’s our responsibility, that’s our civic duty, to inform the people.”
Ford also claims the deteriorating relationship between the Fords and Ainslie is the result of Ainslie sliding “to the left a little bit” and “voting for tax increases” despite Ainslie’s vote against increasing taxes to pay for the subway.
Watch: Councillor Paul Ainslie has some harsh words for the Mayor calling him a “bully” and a “liar”
Ainslie however, scolded the mayor Tuesday for what he described as “bullying” and “American-style politics.”
“Let’s be clear, American style politics has no place in Toronto city hall, let alone this country, and the mayor has crossed the line,” he said. “I’m not scared of you. People in the city won’t be fooled and people in my constituency in Scarborough.”
Ainslie characterized the mayor’s robocall as a “blatant act of political thuggery” and worried that the mayor would be implementing the tactic against other political rivals in the months leading up to the 2014 campaign.
And Councillor Paula Fletcher agreed on Tuesday suggestion the mayor ‘crossed the line.’
“I don’t think any other mayor in the history of Toronto has ever weighed into someone’s ward in this way, to malign them,” she said. “I think he crossed the line, I think it’s bullying, it’s saying step out of line in areas that I’m popular in and I’m going to hammer you, and that’s bullying, period.”
The mayor however claims he was just telling residents how Ainslie voted.
“What is he going to say to the Integrity Commissioner? Rob Ford told my constituents how I voted? What is wrong with that,” the mayor said during his weekly radio show, The City.
And Councillor Shelley Carroll tweeted her dismay that the mayor resorted to robocalls to attack his opponents.
– With files from from Jackson Proskow