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Children's author upset over Rob Ford's B-word comment

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks to the Canadian Club of Toronto on Thursday March 3, 2011, in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn.

Mayor Rob Ford was caught on tape making an off-colour remark during an all-night budget cuts meeting at city hall early Friday.

It happened when children’s author Vikki VanSickle addressed the executive committee for her three minutes of allotted time. When Coun. Janet Davis asked for the title of her book, she responded, “Words that Start with B.

After some laughter from the exhausted crowd, Mayor Ford can be heard muttering, “I can think of another word for her.” (Watch incident in video below.)

It’s not clear whether the remark was aimed at the author, or Davis, but VanSickle said it doesn’t matter.

“Either way it was an incredibly disrespectful remark made towards a woman who was speaking at that time, whether it was her or me,” she told CityNews.

“I think it speaks volumes about how he was approaching the entire process.”

The mayor’s office has not commented, saying it is looking into it.

When asked if Ford should be cut some slack because the comment came 16 hours into an exhausting marathon meeting, VanSickle had little sympathy.

“I was there for 19 hours. I was one of hundreds of people that were there all day.  And tempers may be high but you’re presiding over a council. You’re supposed to be listening to your constituents.”   

It’s the latest in a string of incidents involving the mayor and his brother, Coun. Doug Ford. A woman said that the mayor gave her and her daughter the finger when they tried to tell him to get off his cellphone while he was driving. Ford’s press secretary told CityNews earlier this week that he was on the cellphone but that he didn’t flip the bird. Police said they wouldn’t be pressing charges.

On Tuesday, Ford’s brother said he’d close one of the libraries in his ward in a heartbeat and that he didn’t know celebrated author Margaret Atwood and her efforts to keep public libraries open.

“I don’t even know her. She could walk right by me. I wouldn’t have a clue who she is. She’s not down here, she’s not dealing with the problem. Tell her to go run in the next election and get democratically elected.”