Radio saved Councillor Doug Ford — after it got him into trouble in the first place.
Integrity commissioner Janet Leiper ruled Ford won’t have to be sanctioned by city council this week for violating council’s code of conduct when he slagged Dr. David McKeown, the city’s chief medical officer of health, on the radio back in April.
Why is Ford getting off the hook? Leiper says the reluctant apology he gave on the radio last week is good enough.
“Councillor Ford has now apologized for his conduct,” Leiper writes in a follow-up report filed Tuesday. “The complainant and the (medical officer of health) have both accepted his apology. The integrity commissioner therefore recommends that council impose no further sanction.”
Health board chairman Councillor John Filion launched the integrity complaint against both Councillor Ford and Mayor Rob Ford after they refused to apologize for attacking McKeown on air April 29 for his recommendation to lower Toronto’s speed limits for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.
At the time, Councillor Ford asked on Newstalk 1010, “Why does he still have a job?” while Mayor Ford called McKeown’s $294,302 salary “just an embarrassment.”
“As the mayor, I’ll look into that and try to straighten things out,” the mayor assured listeners.
Councillor Ford refused to apologize during Leiper’s investigation into the complaint.
She issued a report last Thursday ruling the Ward 2, Etobicoke North councillor broke council’s code of conduct and should be sanctioned.
In an interview on AM640’s Arlene Bynon show later that same day, Ford started out with a rough approximation of an apology.
“You know something, I’m responding to my constituents’ complaints when they heard the medical officer of health went out and spent $60,000 on a report about transportation,” Ford said.
“If I’ve offended the medical officer of health in any way I do apologize. So there is the apology there for the medical officer of health.”
Ford then went on to question why Leiper’s report came out on the two-year anniversary of Mayor Rob Ford’s election.
Bynon questioned Ford about the apology.
“You’ve said that I’ll apologize but I won’t mean it, is it a heartfelt apology?” she asked.
Ford then lamented being forced to apologize.
“I feel sometimes you live in a socialist state that they force you to say something even though you don’t believe in what you’re saying,” he said.
Bynon asked if that meant he wasn’t apologizing.
“I am apologizing. If I’ve offended the medical officer of health, Doug Ford apologizes to him,” Ford said.
“Who is going to apologize to the taxpayers when they go out and spend $60,000 on a transportation study?”
Ford admitted he “spoke out of line” by blasting McKeown rather than the report.
“For the third time I will apologize once again to the medical officer of health,” he said. “We’re going to agree to disagree on this issue. I could have used better words and I do apologize for the fourth time now.”
Leiper is still recommending Mayor Ford be sanctioned by council for his comments about McKeown.