Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale says he is moving forward with his libel lawsuit against Mayor Rob Ford, after the deadline for the mayor to apologize passed on the weekend.
“I would have very much preferred to not be carrying on and just accepting a retraction and apology, but since an apology hasn’t been received, I’m moving forward on this,” Mr. Dale said Monday.
He said he is working with his lawyers on a statement of claim against the mayor, which he has up to three months to prepare.
Mr. Dale, a city hall reporter at the Star, served Mr. Ford with a libel notice on Thursday evening after comments the mayor made in a televised interview with Conrad Black last weekend. The mayor, as well as Vision TV (which broadcast the interview), had up to three days (which lapsed Sunday night) to issue a full retraction and apology.
During the interview that aired on Vision TV, Mr. Ford described a May, 2012, incident in which he confronted Mr. Dale in a public space behind the mayor’s house.
“He’s taking photos of little kids,” Mr. Ford told Mr. Black. “I don’t want to say that word, but you start thinking ‘What’s this guy all about.’ ”
According to Mr. Dale, the mayor’s account of the incident is “categorically false.”
He said that, since the televised interview, he has received messages “calling me a pedophile, a pervert, a sicko.”
“I was there to research a story about a mayor making a rare request to buy public land,” he told The Globe and Mail last week. “His kids were nowhere in sight. I saw no children. More importantly, after I offered to let police go through the phone, they saw no pictures whatsoever from that night.”
Mayor Ford has not backed down from his comments since receiving the libel notice. He has not responded to questions from reporters on the lawsuit, though his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, accused The Toronto Star last week of using Mr. Dale as a “pawn” to sell newspapers.
The Star is supporting Mr. Dale with his legal costs in the lawsuit.