Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti has sparked the ire of his council colleagues, after describing a Toronto neighbourhood as "a pedophile district."
Mr. Mammoliti issued a press release Monday urging against allowing electronic dance music parties on the Exhibition Place grounds, saying his concerns stem from the fact that nearby Parkdale "is home to one of the highest concentrations of registered sex offenders, including pedophiles, living in the city of Toronto."
By holding these parties "next to a pedophile district, we are simply encouraging the continued abuse of our children," he said in the statement.
Mr. Mammoliti also accused Parkdale Councillor Gord Perks – who has advocated for allowing the parties at the Exhibition Place – of putting the interests of "registered sex offenders" above the interests of children. "Who are you really representing?" he said.
Mr. Perks responded immediately by denouncing his colleague's comments as an "awful slur."
"As we all know, Parkdale is the kind of community everyone in Toronto admires," he said in a statement. "We are economically, socially and culturally diverse. We accept and welcome and love each other."
Asked about Mr. Mammoliti's remarks specifically directed at him, Mr. Perks said: "In this job, sometimes people make personal attacks. That's water off my back. What really bothers me is that probably one of the best places to live in the world got attacked."
Mr. Perks said he has no immediate plans to launch a formal complaint, but he said he will "cool down and think about what the best response is."
Councillor Doug Ford, a sometimes ally of Mr. Mammoliti, called his comments "crazy."
"It's crazy, like his other press releases," he said. "It's crazy."
Last month, council reversed a decision by the Exhibition Place board to ban all-ages electronic dance parties at the site. The board is now in the process of reviewing safety protocols for such events, and are expected to report back to council in July.