Toronto mayoral candidate Doug Ford appeared on CBC Radio's Metro Morning today, defending his attendance record as a councillor and his brother's record in office during an interview with host Matt Galloway.
- To watch video of the interview, click on the image at the top of this story.
Ford, who entered the race in place of his ailing brother Rob on Sept. 12, defended his attendance showing after Galloway pointed out that he missed 53 per cent of the votes in his last year in council.
Ford said he only missed one council meeting and one committee meeting in four years, and said many of the votes he missed were not about crucial matters.
Ford accused Galloway of being "disingenuous" in how he characterized the councillor's attendance record.
"I worked 18 hours a day," said Ford. "Did I miss a few votes about maybe a stop sign? Or about extending a lunch or extending a speaking time? I had one of the best attendance records for showing up, I was out lobbying. You don't just sit in your chair in council when they pontificate about nothing."
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Galloway also asked Ford why he wants to be mayor. Only a few weeks ago, Ford was thought to be leaving civic politics. He wasn't seeking re-election for his Ward 2 council seat and he spoke about the need to return to running the family printing business.
"Things change in life pretty quickly," said Ford.
Galloway asked Ford if he believes he is a bully. The question was in reference to Ford's feuds with other councillors and a very public fight with police Chief Bill Blair that ended in Ford apologizing for comments he made.
"No, and everyone knows that down there," said Ford. "If it means being called a bully to stand up for my brother and stand up for the taxpayers … everyone that wants to go down [to City Hall] and 'say yes, yes, yes' is going to cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars."
Ford said he has frequent meetings with councillors of all stripes, and will continue to do so if elected.
Ford also touted his plans to save money by reducing the Municipal Land Transfer Tax by 15 per cent a year for the next four years, by outsourcing garbage collection east of Yonge Street and eliminating redundant agencies at City Hall.
As a last-minute entry in the mayor's race, Ford has been working to get his last-minute campaign up and running against two experienced opponents who have been on the campaign trail for months: former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory and former NDP MP Olivia Chow.
Ford focused his attacks on Tory during his Metro Morning interview, saying his SmartTrack transit plan is full of holes and not integrated with existing transit. Ford also pointed to Tory's lack of experience at City Hall compared to Ford's four years as a councillor.
"The difference between myself and John Tory is that I can hit the ground running; he doesn't understand City Hall," said Ford. "He doesn't even understand what the procurement department does."
Ford's campaign is identical to his brother Rob's, with a focus on keeping taxes low and favouring subways over surface rail to address Toronto's transit woes. On Wednesday, he vowed to trim the municipal land transfer tax, something his brother failed to get a majority of other councillors to support during his four-year term.
Polls suggest Ford is running second to Tory, with Chow in third place — less than four weeks before voters head to the polls on Oct. 27.