Toronto Councillor Doug Ford says Premier Kathleen Wynne should “grow up,” after the Premier declined a request from Mayor Rob Ford to meet one on one over ice-storm funding.
“How childish is the Premier going to be?” Doug Ford said Thursday at City Hall. “I’ll say one thing to the Premier: grow up. … For her to say: ‘I’m not returning his call,’ like a little kid – it’s embarrassing.”
Ever since the December ice storm that wiped out power to more than 300,000 customers across Toronto, Ms. Wynne has been working directly with Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, who assumed many of the mayor’s powers after the crack cocaine scandal last year.
Mr. Ford made a formal request earlier this week to meet with Ms. Wynne – a request that was declined by the Premier’s office.
Ms. Wynne's office said Thursday that the Premier was taking her cues from city council, which stripped Mayor Rob Ford of his powers last year and handed them to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.
"Toronto City Council made a decision about the leadership at the city and the Premier will continue respect that decision," her spokeswoman wrote in an email. "The Premier has spoken to and will continue to speak to with Deputy Mayor Kelly who has the decision-making authority on behalf of Toronto city council."
Doug Ford, who has mused publicly in the past about running as a Progressive Conservative candidate at Queen’s Park, said “the Premier has to make a decision. She’s getting politics in front of the needs of the people of Toronto and the GTA.”
But Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said it’s normal that the province hasn’t yet delivered a response to the funding request. “Who would expect the province, within a couple of days of the ask, to write the cheque?” he said. “That’s not the way the world works.”
Mr. Kelly said he last spoke with Ms. Wynne “yesterday.”
On Thursday, Mr. Kelly said he will attend a meeting of Toronto-area leaders on ice storm funding alongside Rob Ford on Friday – a meeting he had previously said he had not been invited to. The meeting, which is being hosted by Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, will also be attended by Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Linda Jeffrey.
While Councillor Ford accused the deputy mayor of crashing the party, his brother the mayor said Mr. Kelly is “more than welcome to attend.”
The mayor and deputy mayor sat down from a brief meeting Thursday afternoon. “We are on the same page,” Mr. Ford said when asked about their discussions. “[We] talked about a few things, straightened a few things out.”
Mr. Ford said his biggest question now is why the Premier is not coming to the meeting, rather than a minister. “I want to get money. I want a direct answer on how much we are going to get,” he said.
Mr. Kelly said he would attend as a “leader and representative” of Toronto’s city council.
“Council gave me a job to do, and that was to restore a sense of calmness, and reasonable political debate at City Hall. That’s the job that I’ve done, and that’s the job that I’ll do at Friday’s meeting,” he said.
Many of the mayor’s powers were transferred to Mr. Kelly late last year after the crack cocaine scandal, and the deputy mayor and mayor have butted heads recently over the city’s response to the ice storm.
Councillor Paula Fletcher said the mayor is behaving like a toddler, demanding an immediate meeting or conversation with the Premier after refusing to talk to her during the ice storm.
“Me, me, me, now, now, now. That’s toddler behaviour,” Ms. Fletcher said. “Council has said we don’t trust your judgment. It’s a judgment thing.”
With a report from Elizabeth Church.