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City Councillor Karen Stintz, a possible mayoral candidate, accused Mayor David Miller of lying yesterday during a feisty exchange over a proposed pay freeze for city councillors.

Urging Mr. Miller and his executive committee to allow a full city council vote on the pay freeze, she said the mayor should show leadership on reining in spending.

Mr. Miller, who has given up his own raise, fought back, saying that Ms. Stintz and other conservative city councillors had sought a $25,000 grant from the provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs to study allowing formal party politics at city hall. "I know a group of you went up to see the minister and I heard from the group that when you came back, you asked for a $25,000 grant in order to study political parties in the city of Toronto," he said.

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Ms. Stintz then lashed out: "I'm actually shocked that you would use this time when we're talking about leadership and setting a stage for this entire corporation that you would so blatantly lie."

Mr. Miller said he would apologize if he was misinformed.

But later, questioned by reporters, Ms. Stintz acknowledged the meeting with Jim Watson, the provincial minister.

She then acknowledged asking for a $25,000 study of "governance" and "checks and balances" at city hall, to be conducted by the Conference Board of Canada. She insisted the proposed study would not include political parties. But Adam Grachnik, spokesman for the minister, said the request, which was denied, was for a study of city hall governance that would have included a look at political parties.

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