TORONTO — Margaret who?
Coun. Doug Ford blasted Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood Tuesday for waging her online campaign to spare Toronto's libraries from any cuts.
"Well, good luck to Margaret Atwood, I don't even know her. If she could walk by me I wouldn't even have a clue who she is," Ford told reporters on Tuesday. "But she's not down here, she's not dealing with the problems, and if she did, tell her to go run in the next election and get democratically elected and we'd be more than happy to sit down and listen to Margaret Atwood."
Atwood has been waging an online battle to save Toronto's libraries.
She has been routinely taking to her Twitter account to encourage her more than 227,000 followers to support Toronto's libraries and encourage city council to spare them from any cuts.
A consultant's report released last week suggested closing some library branches and reducing hours at other locations.
Rob Ford accused of flipping the bird
Atwood tweeted a link to a petition to save the libraries, which created so much web traffic it crashed the page for a short time.
Library advocates have been taking aim at Ford because in a radio interview he said his Etobicoke North ward has more libraries than Tim Hortons.
Ford said he was joking around on the radio when he made those comments, but the numbers aren't far off.
"All my point is, in my area, at Rexdale and Kipling, there is a library in an industrial area, that is an industrial plaza and no one knows it is there," he said. "Richview library is a great library... why do you need another little library in the middle of nowhere that no one uses?"
Ford said he would "absolutely" vote to close that library.
The rookie councillor stressed "libraries are great."
"I don't want to be closing every single library in the city," he said.
Ford also blasted the public delegations that have stretched out meetings where committees have been discussing the core services review.
While he acknowledged some people show up to voice valid concerns, Ford said the "vast majority" of speakers are "all union organized or orchestrated."
Asked why Ford Nation — the group of residents who supported his brother Mayor Rob Ford in the election — hasn't shown up to the meetings en masse, Ford had a quick retort.
"Ford Nation is too busy working, paying taxes, creating jobs, that's what they're doing," he said.