TORONTO — City Councillor Paul Ainslie says Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attacked him in a robocall Friday and he is going to the integrity commissioner to see if he violated council’s code of conduct.
The longtime Ford ally, who resigned from executive committee earlier this week, said Saturday he was alerted by his mother — a constituent in his Scarborough East ward — on Friday around 7 p.m. about a recording of a man identifying himself as Ford and singling Ainslie out for being the only person out of out 10 Scarborough councillors to not support a subway extension for the area.
“I had just gotten home and started decompressing from four days of crazy city council and my mom called, very upset that she had gotten this robocall from the mayor about my subway vote and attacking me,” said Ainslie, who threw his support behind a fully-funded light rail transit system for Scarborough, something Ford has vehemently opposed.
“My first reaction was just stunned disbelief,” Ainslie said. “At city council just (Friday) afternoon with the mayor, (Ford’s) exact last words to me were, ‘Buddy, we’re still friends.’ Less than three hours later, he’s doing a robocall and I even question whether he’d even recorded it at that point.”
Ainslie said he will approach integrity commissioner Janet Leiper Tuesday and “see what my options are” with his allegations Ford made the phone call from his City Hall office phone number and whether the mayor’s conduct was inappropriate.
“We’ve got a Members (of Council) code of conduct and that’s supposed to govern our behaviour,” Ainslie said. “I’ll be asking about that. The robocall ... just follows up on his threats earlier when he was questioning me whether I’m going to run in the next election, and making robocalls out of his office and he clearly identified his office phone number in the robocall -- I don’t think that’s an allowable expense.”
Multiple phone and e-mail interview requests sent to Ford’s two spokesmen were not returned Saturday.
Roughly 65,000 residents -- or 16,000 households -- live in Ainslie’s ward.
One of them is Bonnie Beesley, who said she was not impressed when she heard the minute-long recording apparently from the mayor.
“He was maligning Paul Ainslie just because he disagreed with him,” said Beesley, 70. “He’s a bully, Rob Ford. You can quote me on that one.”
Ainslie resigned as chairman of the parks committee Friday and, in turn, quit the mayor’s executive committee because he’d “had enough of the bullying and the comments.”
“I thought he was moving on and manning up — my friends don’t take to the telephone and attack me behind my back,” Ainslie said. “Obviously, we’re not friends. I’ve heard (the recording) and it was clearly him. We had lots of conversations over the past couple years. I know the mayor’s voice. If it’s not the mayor’s voice, it’s a pretty good imposter.”