Toronto Mayor Rob Ford sparked another controversy and the threat of legal action when he appeared to accuse a newspaper reporter of having pedophilic tendencies in a televised interview.
The Toronto Star journalist, Daniel Dale, denounced any such suggestion as "categorically false."
"It's amazing. I don't know what to say about it," Dale said in an interview Tuesday.
"In the calmest terms possible, it is unpleasant when the mayor of the biggest city in Canada essentially accuses you, or suggests, you are a pedophile."
Ford, who was stripped of most of his mayoral powers by council, made the comment in a Vision TV interview Monday night with former media baron and convicted felon Conrad Black.
'It is unpleasant when the mayor of the biggest city in Canada essentially accuses you, or suggests, you are a pedophile.' - Daniel Dale, Toronto Star reporter
At one point in the interview, Black asked Ford about media intrusion on his family's privacy, and Ford singled out Dale for an incident that happened in May 2012.
Ford had confronted Dale outside the mayor's west-end home in an adjacent park — a section of which the mayor was looking to buy.
"Daniel Dale is in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. He's taking pictures of little kids," Ford said. "I don't want to say that word but you start thinking what this guy is all about."
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Dale said that at no time did he ever take any photographs of the mayor's family, house or even his property — and a police investigation bore that out.
When asked directly about the Dale comments, Mayor Ford said at a news conference that he stood by his words in the interview, though he would not specify "the word" he had earlier avoided using.
"If you watch the interview you'll know what I said," Ford said Tuesday, his voice rising.
"If you watched Conrad Black's interview, actually there was two … I hope you saw both of them, and I stand by every word I said."
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He said the Star's lawyers were pondering next steps. Ford was not immediately available to comment, but his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, said the mayor did not suggest Dale was a pedophile.
Neither Black nor Vision TV responded to a request for comment Tuesday.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, who has assumed most of the mayor's powers, denounced Ford's comments and said he should apologize to Dale.
"That's not only a regrettable position of the mayor, but I think it's dead wrong," Kelly said.
"It's almost beyond comment. It fits into a pattern that changes the focus from himself to someone else. It goes beyond the pale and I think there should be an apology for that."
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Toronto Star lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.
However, in a statement in response to Ford's remarks, the paper's editor in chief Michael Cooke slammed Ford:
"Just when you think Mayor Ford has said the most stupid thing, such as letting the whole world know about his sex life at home, he tops himself with another outrage," Cooke said.
"Mr. Ford calling reporter Daniel Dale a pedophile tells you all you need to know about our mayor's brain. So sad for all of us."
Among other things, Ford has garnered national and international attention for his admission to smoking crack cocaine, buying illegal drugs and making an obscene comment about a female aide on national television.
In his interview with Black, Ford also admitted that he is not seeing eye to eye with police chief Bill Blair and said he wants to know precisely how much money Toronto investigators spent conducting surveillance on him in recent months.
"He [Blair] wasn't happy when I told people to find efficiencies. I think he was quite upset at that," Ford told Black.
Doug Ford denies remark was about pedophilia
The mayor's brother and Etobicoke councillor Doug Ford ruled out the pedophile comment, saying that was not what was said. “[Rob Ford] didn’t suggest that,” Ford said.
Coun. Ford said that the media is acting as one in this instance.
“I know the media sticks together, I find it pretty repulsive that the media would actually condone hiding in someone’s backyard.”
Below is the interview. Ford begins speaking about the Daniel Dale incident at about the 14:40 mark.