To: Integrity Commissioner, City of Toronto
BCC: Mayor and Councillors
Dear Ms. Leiper, Mayor and Councillors of Toronto:
I am not sure I can make an informal complaint about something that is said in public but I want to inform you of it.
I attended the Toronto City Council meeting for the afternoon yesterday (Tuesday, January 17) during Council debate about the Budget which was eventually passed. I also, after 6 pm, attended the protest which had speeches etc. outside in Nathan Philips Square and did observe some of the actions as people were angry at the proposed cuts to Toronto’s most vulnerable.
Later in the evening while at home, my wife and I watched the TV news, and during one item on CTV, http://toronto.ctv.ca/?video=602812 Mayor Ford was being interviewed and during that interview he was asked about the protests that went on outside City Hall while Council was deliberating inside. He said (paraphrased), “the people who are protesting are the ‘same five hundred people’ who have shown up at the 24 hour meetings … over and over to give deputations at public hearings; I don’t worry about them in a city of 2.7 million.”
These are almost the same words (the same five hundred people show up at all the public hearings) I heard Councillor Mammoliti use at a public meeting of the Budget Committee I attended and to which I made a deputation on December 8, 2011.
Yesterday I heard my Councillor Janet Davis thank the thousands of Torontonians who have not only made deputations but who attended the Core Service Reviews, wrote letters, signed petitions, organized rallies to save their Libraries, TTC buses, arenas, swimming pools, wading pools, zoo’s, senior services, daycare, social housing, homeless shelters and many more in order to try to save traditional and precious services that are slated to be cut.
I consider the Mayor’s remarks about citizens (the same five hundred who always show up) who speak up in whatever way, whether it is loud protest or whether a written letter, to be grossly insulting. If the Mayor and Councillor Mammoliti think that people who speak up are unworthy then why do they conduct public hearings at all. Why doesn’t the mayor just try to run the city like a dictatorship and say out loud that is what he is doing instead of ‘faking it’ that he is listening to the citizens of Toronto?
I want a public apology from Mayor Ford and will not rest until he says he is sorry for characterizing the good citizens of Toronto as “the same five hundred who always show up”.