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Councillor Paul Ainslie Files a Complaint About Rob Ford’s Radio Show

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.


  • Butch

    Let’s hope something happens with this; even though it most likely will won’t.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Teflon Rob’s luck has to end sometime.

      • vampchick21

        All Teflon lucky streaks end. :)

    • Welshgrrl

      I’ve become jaded to the idea that any shit will ever stick to these two clowns. Hope springs eternal however!

  • MER1978

    I’ve always wondered if the fact that the city deals with the company which owns Newstalk 1010 for the massive street furniture contract was kind of a conflict of interest.

    • AllanG

      Or the fact that the Fords family business, Deco Labels and Tags, advertises on 1010.

  • AllanG

    Not sure how far he will get with Articles 6 and 7. They apply to overall station programming – not one particular show. Other shows provide more balanced perspectives and a range of opinions. However, the Ford show is pure campaigning and propaganda. It’s one big undocumented election expense, once again, facilitated by their family business which is an advertiser on the station.

    • Lee Zamparo

      Sure is, the question is what can you do about it. As stated, the CBSC has no power to pull the dreadful show off the air (one questions how much people listen to it anyhow). I think it would make more sense to complain to Elections Canada (if that’s even the body which governs municipal elections), given that they’ve been campaigning for this coming election ever since the last one was over.

  • dsmithhfx

    Go Paul!

  • Mark Dowling

    No bridges being burned with CFRB I see. ” this station has a respected tradition and reputation for promoting public discourse on all matters”. If you say so.

  • andrew97

    Good! Politicians shouldn’t have their own shows, be they on the right or the left (side-eye at Giambrone).

  • lovetoronto

    It’s about time this is making headlines!
    Contact the Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper .

    ” I emailed the Ombudsman in June to complain about the mayor having a weekly radio station. They responded with,

    “The Ombudsman is an Officer of Toronto City Council and has an independent mandate to look at all city divisions and agencies such as the TTC and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. Our governing legislation allows us only to look at matters within the municipal Toronto Public Service.

    The matter you have raised does not fall within the jurisdiction or mandate of this office.

    I regret that we cannot be of assistance to you at this time.
    You may contact the Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper at the following . “

  • wklis

    Unfortunately, any fines will come out the Ford’s petty-cash box or their multimillionaire family inheritance business.

    • dsmithhfx

      Who cares about fines? Get them off the effing air.

      • Lee Zamparo

        Can’t be done by the CBSC. Maybe there’s a governmental org that could do something about the constant campaigning outside of the official campaign period for municipal elections though?

  • danieljchristie

    Hi! Your Worship. Dave From Scarborough here. Or Georgetown. Yeah…that’s the ticket -Dave From Georgetown. Youse guys is doin’ a PHENOMENOL job down there at, you know, that place with all the dog carts out front. A PHENOMENOL job, Ise tell ya! Like dem Argos! How about dem Argos, eh? Ain’t theyse just PRIMO? And speaking of ‘primo’ I’se just got this delivery in, eh? Gimme a call. Dave From Georgetown. Or Scarborough. Hey, I’m like yoiuse guys -I don’t know where the hell I am half the time, eh?

  • NYCBoy2305

    Ainslie went along with Ford for years! Reminds me of Speer suddenly finding out his leader was a monster

  • qianqong


  • dsmithhfx

    It’s very simple: NO sitting politician or candidate for public office should be allowed free air time at the expense of political rivals, or to advance personal political fortunes. Unlike the Fords, Matlow countenanced opposing views when he hosted the show, and did not routinely castigate and ridicule city employees, other councillors (or anyone else for that matter), or engage in empty boasting about his supposed achievements. Giambrone’s show was confined to transit topics (he was chair of the TTC at the time) and again unlike the Fords, he did not use the show to recklessly libel political opponents and/or municipal staff. Regardless, sitting politicians and political candidates should not be allowed to host their own shows, ever. As the Fords have amply demonstrated, the potential for egregious abuse is just too high.