Federal Transport Minister John Baird apologized to Toronto Mayor David Miller for using an expletive in criticizing the city's application for stimulus funding.
Baird was overheard using the language during "an unguarded moment" while talking to aides in a media room at a Whistler, B.C., convention centre on Monday.
Baird said the City of Toronto's application for money from the federal government's $4-billion infrastructure fund was the only one among 2,700 submitted that wasn't done properly, so it shouldn't complain that Ottawa was dragging its feet.
The city was "bitching at us," Baird said. "They should f--- off," he added.
On Tuesday, a contrite Baird told the House of Commons during question period that he "was speaking out of frustration."
"I, this morning, phoned mayor Miller and apologized," said Baird. "The mayor and I both agreed, let's look to the future, let's continue to build on the important investment that we need to make in public transit, and we've committed to work with them over the next two weeks to make it happen."
Miller said he was never informed by federal officials of any problems with his bid for federal funding.
Toronto wants to buy 204 streetcars from Bombardier, at a cost of $1.2 billion, but the city needs to secure funding from the federal and provincial governments by June 27 to make it happen.
Toronto's streetcar project will cost $1.2 billion, not $4 billion as originally reported.Oct 23, 2013 1:34 AM ET