Councillor Josh Matlow

Toronto Star: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford ripped for using mayor’s office for campaigning

March 27, 2012


A city councillor’s complaint that Mayor Rob Ford shouldn’t be telling potential candidates for council to call his office has been dismissed as sour grapes.


Ford, as he has his entire council career, is publicly encouraging like-minded people to call him if they’re interested in running for council in November, 2014 to unseat Ford’s opponents.


Councillor Josh Matlow says the mayor, in giving out his office number on the radio for challengers to call him, has run afoul of the code of conduct which prohibits using city resources for election campaigning.


Councillor Doug Ford, who co-hosts the Sunday afternoon radio talk show with his brother, said Matlow is just upset because he had previously hosted the show but was replaced by the Fords.


“Josh Matlow is ticked off because we took his radio station,” Doug Ford told reporters, adding that relations with Matlow have turned frosty.


“He doesn’t say hello to me, he doesn’t say goodbye to me, he doesn’t acknowledge us. Over what? We took a radio station spot. That’s the reason.”


Matlow said he has spoken to the city’s integrity commissioner but before filing a complaint, he is asking the mayor to stop asking friendly candidates to call his office.


“The members of council code of conduct clearly states that our office resources are not to be used for election-related purposes,” Matlow said.


“To suggest that potential candidates should call the mayor’s office, and advertise the phone number in the context of running against councillors the mayor dislikes is clearly a violation of our code of conduct.”


Councillor Joe Mihevc, a left winger who opposes Ford’s program, said it’s inappropriate for the mayor to be using city resources for electoral purposes.


“Whether it’s a violation, we’ll leave it to the integrity commissioner to investigate,” Mihevc said. “However, based on initial evidence and what’s outthere, clearly to give your city hall office number to residents at large, inviting them to call in and discuss electoral politics is inappropriate.”


A Ford supporter, Councillor Peter Milczyn, saw nothing wrong with politicians campaigning between elections as long as they don’t use city resources.


“More power to him” Milczyn said. “Different politicians have different styles. The Prime Minister seems to campaign non-stop as well. I don’t think the mayor being in campaign mode is distraction to the rest of us.”


Meanwhile, the mayor’s lawyers are seeking to postpone a court appeal of a decision to order an audit of his election campaign expenses.


Ford wants the court proceeding, scheduled for April 16-18, to be put off until November.


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