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Councillor Doug Ford speaks to the media in Toronto's city hall on Thursday May 30, 2013 . (Chris Young for The Globe and Mail)
Councillor Doug Ford speaks to the media in Toronto's city hall on Thursday May 30, 2013 . (Chris Young for The Globe and Mail)

Doug Ford blasts councillors for taking 'gravy plane' to national municipality meeting Add to ...

Toronto City Councillor Doug Ford on his radio show Sunday criticized councillors who are attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) meeting in Vancouver, deriding them for taking a “gravy plane” to the event.

His brother and co-host, embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, did not attend the conference.

Rob Ford had opened the show with a light touch, discussing local sports teams, the weather and a recent Baskin Robbins event. He did not address his Saturday comments on another radio station when he said he will skip Toronto’s Pride parade again if it conflicts with family time at the cottage. He also admitted he doesn’t know when the parade is taking place.

In his earlier comments to the radio station KISS 92.5, Mr. Ford noted that he has not been able to spend much time with his family recently and that he was keen to go to the cottage with them on the Canada Day long weekend.

Pride events, a huge tourist attraction that pumps over $100-million into the local economy, have historically centred around that same weekend. It will again this year. “I don’t know when the Pride parade is this year,” Mr. Ford told the radio station.

His repeated unwillingness to participate in the parade stands in contrast to his predecessors and has garnered criticism in previous summers. On the show, though, Mr. Ford stressed that he had “no problem” raising the Pride flag at a recent event. But he held firm that he would not alter his vacation plans.

“If it falls on the day that I’m going up, the weekend that I’m going up to the cottage, unfortunately family comes first,” he said. “We’ve had a tradition of going away every Canada Day and that tradition’s not going to be broken.”

The decision comes after two weeks of escalating disarray at city hall.

The crisis started after reporters at two different media outlets said they had seen a cellphone video that appears to show the mayor smoking a crack pipe. The video has not been publicly released and The Globe and Mail cannot vouch for its contents.

The brothers barely touched on the issue on their radio show Sunday but they did take the Toronto Star to task, specifically an anonymously sourced story about attempts to delete the emails of former staffers. The report was later refuted by city staff. “They will do anything, anything to sell that tabloid newspaper,” Doug Ford sneered. “We demand an apology.”

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