Toronto Coun. Paul Ainslie, who's been squabbling with Rob Ford for more than a week, has lashed out at the mayor again, this time calling his weekly radio program a "bully pulpit" that breaches broadcasting codes of conduct.
Ainslie, who represents Ward 43 in Scarborough, released a four-page letter of complaint he sent to a broadcasting watchdog alleging Ford’s talk show, The City with Mayor Rob Ford, goes against four clauses in the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council’s code of conduct.
The show, co-hosted by the mayor and brother Coun. Doug Ford, airs on Bell Media’s NewsTalk 1010 on Sunday afternoons. Ainslie says the Ford brothers use their airtime to further their political agendas and hinder those who oppose them.
Once a Ford loyalist, Ainslie has fallen out of favour with the mayor and on Oct. 8 was the only Scarborough councillor to vote against funding Ford’s pet project, the Scarborough subway extension
Ainslie says in his statement to the broadcast watchdog that Ford and his brother "engaged in blatant political campaigning" on their show five days later. The councillor says the Fords "not only spread false and defamatory comments which misrepresented" his position on the vote for the Scarborough subway line, but “threatened to use various political techniques against councillors who voted in particular ways and called elected representatives various names, including 'wimp.'"
The letter goes on to cite various clauses within the broadcasting watchdog’s code of conduct. The highlighted clauses state that broadcast content should be accurate and without bias, presented in a fair manner, and reflective of community standards.
The councillor then calls for the Ford brothers' program to be spiked from the airwaves because they are involved in "wanton political behaviour" and the radio station will become eroded by their "inappropriate political behaviour."
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly told CBC News that he thinks Ainslie is going too far.
"I look at this issue as a tempest in a teapot. I’m not critical of Coun. Ainslie for pushing back, but I think this goes over the top. I think it’s unmerited and unwarranted," Kelly said.
He added that some councillors have a tendency to see the political game "as the Marquess of Queensberry" — a 19th-century British nobleman who endorsed the modern rules for boxing — whereas the reality is that "sometimes it’s a street brawl."
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Ainslie's spat with the Fords stretches to multiple fronts. After the councillor voted against the Scarborough subway, Ford bankrolled a robocall campaign against him, which Ainslie called "political thuggery."
The calls were meant to inform Ward 43 residents that their councillor had led the charge against the proposed subway line, Ford said.
Ainslie filed a complaint with the city’s integrity commissioner, saying that the calls were destroying his reputation in his riding and violated the city's code of conduct for elected representatives.
Ford has yet to comment on Ainslie’s most recent letter.