Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Budget chair explains Rob Ford 'ticklefest' pic

Toronto's Chief Budget Officer Councillor Frank Di Giorgio shares a moment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford during a budget meeting at City Hall in Toronto, January 30, 2014.

AARON HARRIS/REUTERS

It was not all sharp words and political point-scoring during this week's two-day budget debate at Toronto city council.

While councillors sparred over spending, Mayor Rob Ford and the man he appointed to chair the budget committee, Frank Di Giorgio, were photographed on Thursday sharing a moment at the front of the chamber to the side of the Speaker's chair.

Mr. Di Giorgio, traditionally an ally of the city's controversial mayor, has faced a barrage of criticism from Mr. Ford, who called the spending plan the councillor had worked on for months "the worst budget ever."

Story continues below advertisement

While it looked in the photograph like the veteran councillor was tickling the mayor, Mr. Di Giorgio said that is not exactly what happened.

"It looks like a ticklefest, but that's not what it was," Mr. Di Giorgio explained on Friday after the photo drew attention on websites including The Globe and Mail.

"He has been angry with me because I've been promoting something other than what he wanted."

To help get over that, Mr. Di Giorgio, who, like the mayor, has coached high school football, said he asked Mr. Ford if he wanted to line up against him in a "three-point stance," like players on a scrimmage line.

When he put out his hands, he knocked the mayor into the wall, and that, he said, is what was captured by the cameras.

Mr. Ford, who has been working out and has shed 40 pounds, is by far the heavyweight of the pair, but Mr. Di Giorgio figures he would be the winner on the football field if it came to that.

"I have way more dexterity," he said.

Story continues below advertisement

In the end, the budget chair took the unusual step of voting with the mayor and against his own budget. Mr. Di Giorgio said he wanted a lower tax increase than the 2.23 per cent council approved and also wanted a reduction to the land transfer tax.

"Because of that, I thought, 'You know what, I'm going to vote against it,'" he said. "I knew it was going to carry anyway."

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Toronto City Hall bureau chief

  More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Please note that our commenting partner Civil Comments is closing down. As such we will be implementing a new commenting partner in the coming weeks. As of December 20th, 2017 we will be shutting down commenting on all article pages across our site while we do the maintenance and updates. We understand that commenting is important to our audience and hope to have a technical solution in place January 2018.

Discussion loading… ✨