Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is brushing off suggestions his aggressive moves to slash spending may have cost the Ontario Progressive Conservatives the provincial election.
With all the votes counted, the Liberals won 53 ridings, one short of the 54 needed for a majority, while the Tories ended up with 37 seats.
The PCs didn't pick up any seats in Toronto, despite aggressively targeting several ridings in the city.
"Last time I checked, the Tories never had a seat to begin with in Toronto and my name wasn't on the ballot. And I didn't endorse anyone."—Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Progressive Conservative campaign secretary Chad Rogers said Thursday night one of the factors that conspired to keep his party from forming government was the "difficult work" done by the conservative-minded Ford, who pushed for a slate of deeply unpopular spending cuts at the municipal level.
Meanwhile, headlines on some newspapers Friday morning question whether "Ford nation" kept the PCs and their leader, Tim Hudak, from power.
Speaking to CBC's Metro Morning on Friday, Ford said he doesn't put much stock in those assessments.
"Last time I checked, the Tories never had a seat to begin with in Toronto and my name wasn't on the ballot," Ford said. "And I didn't endorse anyone."
'Great working' with McGuinty Liberals
Ford also said a Liberal minority government is "excellent" for Toronto and that he would continue to work with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, as well as the other party leaders, to improve the lives of city residents.
"Myself and all the councillors get to work with all the leaders now, so we have to work together, and that's what we're doing at City Hall," he said, adding that he had met with the Liberal, NDP and Progressive Conservative leaders before the campaign to engage them in discussions about how they would help the city.
Among Ford's chief concerns, he said, is securing better funding for public transit from the province.
"It all comes down to funding for the TTC," he said Friday.
"We just can't depend on the fare box, and we need some help. To keep the TTC in a good state of repair, we need that money and we have to get more money, both from the federal and provincial government, and we're going to see what happens."
Confident police can slash budget by 10%
Ford said he's worked well with McGuinty in the past, noting that "he helped us make the TTC an essential service; we're not going to have those strikes anymore," and that he's looking forward to proceeding with what has been a "great working relationship."
As for the matter of getting the Toronto Police force to slash at least 10 per cent from its operating budget — a demand he has made to all other city departments — Ford said he hoped Chief Bill Blair would find the necessary savings.
"I have great confidence that he'll find the efficiencies through the police services board to accomplish what I've asked every department to do," Ford said. "That's 10 per cent. Ten per cent is not that much. And you know as well as I do that every other department can find 10 per cent."
A defiant Blair has said it would be impossible to meet the mayor's demands without a decline in public safety. He has estimated that as many as 1,000 officers might have to be laid off.
Ford responded Friday by saying that finding the necessary savings should be "very, very achievable" for the police chief, though the mayor would not elaborate on what might happen if Blair fails to present a budget that satisfies the 10 per cent reduction goal.