A resident's complaint has triggered a formal investigation of the mayor's use of racist language.
Mayor Rob Ford has once again been accused of violating the City’s code of conduct, this time for his use of racial slurs.
In a formal complaint addressed to integrity commissioner Janet Leiper earlier this month, 37-year-old activist and Toronto resident Samuel Getachew wrote that Ford’s propensity for using racist language, as illustrated in a number of media reports throughout his mayoralty, constitutes “discreditable conduct.” He is asking that the mayor apologize for his behaviour and attend anti-racism training. The Toronto Star reports that Getachew supports John Tory’s mayoral bid, but not in any official capacity.
This week, Leiper sent a letter to Ford, offering him the chance to respond to Getachew’s allegations. He has until July 29 to do so. If Leiper determines that Ford has, in fact, contravened the code of conduct, council may choose to reprimand the mayor or dock his pay.
Getachew’s complaint focuses on two incidents in particular. The first dates from St. Patrick’s Day, 2012, when, according to some of Ford’s former aides, the mayor called a taxi driver a “Paki.”
The second incident occurred in March when, according to a Star report, Ford was recorded during a phone conversation using a number of racist terms while simultaneously acknowledging his racism in a way that would suggest he is unclear of what the concept means: “Nobody sticks up for people like I do,” Ford is alleged to have said in the March recording, “every fucking kike, nigger, fucking wop, dago—whatever the race. Nobody does. I’m the most racist guy around. I’m the mayor of Toronto.”
Since returning to work on June 30 following a two-month stint in rehab, Ford has offered vague apologies for his poor behaviour and has on more than one occasion blamed past displays of bigotry on his alcoholism. “When you have this disease,” he told the CBC in an excuse-making interview on July 2, “you say things, you do things, that aren’t you.”