Toronto city councillor Paul Ainslie has stepped down from Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee.
The Ford ally and representative for Ward 43 in Scarborough said Friday afternoon that, after three years’ service on the committee, he has doubts about the city’s direction under Ford.
'Everyone knew I was going to get rid of him today.' - Mayor Rob Ford
“I am now very concerned with a lack of appropriate fiscal objectives, as well as long-term strategic planning,” Ainslie said in a statement.
“I feel our city is now in a ‘status quo’ state of operations, which will not lead it along the necessary path to promote growth, and long-term success,” he added.
Ainslie joined the executive committee following the city’s 2010 election as chair of the government management committee. He later became chair of the parks and environment committee.
He told reporters on Friday he began to "butt heads" with the mayor about eight months ago, mostly over budget issues.
Those differences became obvious earlier this week as Ford and Ainslie sparred during the debate over the subway expansion into Scarborough, which Ainslie opposed in favour of light-rail transit. The subway expansion passed by a vote of 24 to 20.
Ford on Friday said he was already planning to fire Ainslie.
"Everyone knew I was going to get rid of him today," Ford told reporters outside his office. "It's better that he resigned."
Ainslie has denied he was trying to "get the jump" on the mayor.
Coun. Doug Ford, the mayor's brother, said Ainslie is "misguided" and may suffer at the polls next year because of his pro-LRT stance.
"Paul Ainslie is striking back because, I think, he's in trouble in the next election," said Ford. "He's the only councillor in Scarborough that voted against his own people. He wants LRTs, his constituents want subways... that's what this is about."
Ainslie said he will put his support behind a different mayoral candidate when the city next goes to the polls in 2014.