Days after being criticized on the show, one of Mayor Rob Ford's former allies has filed a complaint with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.
Mayor Rob Ford’s Sunday radio show, which airs weekly on Newstalk 1010, has been a reliable source of controversy ever since he started hosting it early last year. (That’s why we love to recap it every week.) It has given rise to a handful of formal complaints, at least two of which resulted in investigations by the City’s integrity commissioner, but today marks the first time a sitting city councillor has publicly called for the show to be removed from the airwaves.
This afternoon, Councillor Paul Ainslie (Ward 43, Scarborough East) sent a blistering letter to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, an independent tribunal that adjudicates complaints about private broadcasters. The letter points out, correctly, that the mayor and his brother Doug often seem to use the show as a means of campaigning for reelection (which is arguably illegal under Ontario law). And then it gets a little more personal.
“On Sunday, October 13, 2014,” the letter says, “Mayor Rob Ford and his brother Councillor Doug Ford engaged in blatant political campaigning and used the public air waves through their radio program to not only spread false and defamatory comments which misrepresented my position on a vote at the Toronto City Council, but also threatened to use various political techniques against Councillors who voted in particular ways and called elected representatives various names including ‘wimp.’”
When Ainslie talks about his “position on a vote at the Toronto City Council,” he’s referring to council’s October 9 meeting, where he was the only Scarborough councillor to vote against funding the mayor’s coveted (but arguably overpriced and unnecessary) Scarborough subway extension. After the vote, Ainslie resigned from Mayor Ford’s executive committee before the mayor could fire him, and Ford financed a robocall campaign aimed at damaging Ainslie’s reputation in his ward. So, one could say there’s been some bad blood between the two men of late.
In his letter, Ainslie alleges that Ford’s confrontational radio stylings violate several provisions of the CBSC’s rules of conduct, and asks that Ford’s show be “removed from the airways [sic].” That won’t happen, though, because the CBSC doesn’t have that kind of power. The most the organization can do is force a radio station to announce its rule violation on air.
The full text of Ainslie’s letter to the CBSC is below.