Only hours after Coun. Paul Ainslie stepped down from Mayor Rob Ford’s powerful executive committee, residents of his Scarborough ward reported getting disparaging recorded phone calls from Ford.
Listen to the recording, provided to 680News by a resident, below:
In the call, Ford says it’s unfortunate Ainslie was the only Scarborough councillor who did not listen to his constituents and voted against the subway. He adds that the city continues to move forward with a team to support the Toronto taxpayers’ mandate.
He finishes by wishing residents a happy Thanksgiving.
Several councillors have taken to Twitter to express their anger and concern over the calls and the mayor’s actions.
Coun. Shelley Carroll tweeted, “All Cllrs should be against Rob’s robocall. Tweet YOUR Cllr if they’re on twitter whether 4 or against subway, the call is wrong. #TOpoli.”
Carroll then told CityNews this was an example of the mayor pushing things too far.
“We’ve long talked to people about how we get a bit of bullying in the council chamber but this goes beyond the pale,” she said.
Coun. Jaye Robinson posted this comment: “This is harassment. These intimidation tactics should not be tolerated. #robofordcalls.”
Coun. Paula Fletcher’s tweet read, “Mayor robocalls against @clrainslie because he supported LRT for Scarborough #shameful #bully.”
Coun. Sarah Doucette told CityNews she saw nothing wrong with how Ainslie voted.
“Councilor Ainslie stood up and said his residents wanted the LRT. He should have the right to vote that way,” she explained.
And Paul Ainslie himself had something to say.
— Paul Ainslie (@cllrainslie) October 11, 2013
Ainslie then tweeted that the number connected to the robocall was that of the mayor’s office.
The robocall from Mayor Ford to all my residents re: transit vote used his office # for people to call by the way 416 397 3673 …..#topoli
— Paul Ainslie (@cllrainslie) October 12, 2013
The mayor’s office could not be reached for comment on the matter.
Paul Ainslie steps down
Ainslie used to be on Ford’s side but over the past several months, the councillor said he’s had some serious concerns with the mayor’s fiscal policy and what he considers a lack of strategic objectives by the mayor.
“I sat on the budget committee for the last four years, I worked for a budget chair for six years before that,” Ainslie said. “I know the numbers very well.”
“I’m a municipal councillor. I don’t belong to a political party. I’m not in a cabinet. If I wanted that type of thing to take place I would have ran provincially or federally,” he added.
He also said he’s fed up with the mayor’s staff bullying him, even when he made it known that he was voting for an LRT based on financial considerations.
Ainslie said he expected to get some grief when he voted against the mayor’s subway plan this week, so he decided to step down before he was forced to leave his job.
“I want to be the master of my own destiny. I’m here to represent — first and foremost — the residents of ward 43. I’m here to represent all the residents of the city of Toronto as well,” he said.
The mayor said no one should be surprised Ainslie is off the committee and confirmed he indeed would have been fired at the end of Friday’s council meeting.
Ford thanked him for his service, adding, ”I think the whole world saw what was going to happen today.”
Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti has been chosen to replace Ainslie on the executive committee.
The following is the official statement from the Office of the Mayor:
“I am very pleased to announce Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, Ward 7 York-West, has been appointed as the new Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee.
Councillor Mammoliti is a veteran Councillor from Etobicoke York-West. He has served his Ward 7 community for over 16 years as an Etobicoke York Community Councillor. Georgio brings with him a great amount of experience as an Executive Councillor and Chair of a number of committees.
I look forward to welcoming Councillor Mammoliti back on the Executive Committee and working with him to deliver an improved parks system across the City of Toronto.
This change will help my administration continue to deliver results for the taxpayers of Toronto. My administration is committed to delivering customer service excellence, an open and transparent government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a Transportation City.”
With files from CityNews.com staff