Mayor Rob Ford keeps campaign focus on subways, low taxes
Ford promises subways, but unclear about funding
Mayor Rob Ford returned to some familiar themes today when he told reporters that he intends to keep taxes low and support subway development if re-elected this fall.
"My approach is putting taxpayers first and protecting your wallet," Ford said Tuesday afternoon when addressing members of the media at his re-election campaign headquarters in Etobicoke. He also took questions from reporters.
Ford said that he had curbed "unnecessary spending" and pledged to keep a lid on property tax increases.
"Today I'm committing to keeping your taxes much lower than the rate of inflation, like I have for my term in office as mayor," he said.
The mayor also said he was confident that Toronto would "continue building subways," and he again underscored his preference for keeping transit lines underground.
"If you want above-ground transit, you want LRTs, you can vote for my opponents," Ford said, as part of an answer to a question about how he would pay for subway projects.
"You want subways, I'm the only candidate that has proven I can build subways and will continue to build subways."
The mayor said the city needs the help of both the provincial and federal governments in order to build subways. But he did not directly spell out any precise funding arrangements he would seek or the total funds he would need in order to complete any future projects.
Ford began his remarks citing a newly released study by the Fraser Institute that suggests Canadians spend more on taxes than they do on food, shelter and clothing combined.
"Friends, you can only go on for so long. The tipping point has been reached. This out-of-control trend must, must be reversed," Ford said.
Ford, 45, is seeking a second term as mayor, as dozens of opponents are vying for his job. The Oct. 27 election is about two-and-a-half months away.
Ford's term in office thus far has been tumultuous, with the mayor frequently finding himself at the centre of controversies — both at city hall and outside of it.
But the story of the mayor's drug use broke long before his trip to rehab and Ford long denied reports that emerged last year that he had been videotaped using crack cocaine. He finally admitted to having used the drug after police revealed they had obtained a video file that was consistent with what had been reported.
Before being elected mayor, Ford spent a decade serving as a city councillor for a ward in Etobicoke, the Toronto suburb where he grew up and still lives today.
- An earlier version of this story said that the Fraser Institute is based in Toronto. In fact, it has a regional office in Toronto, but its headquarters are in Vancouver.Aug 12, 2014 6:08 PM ET