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Toronto Councillor Doug Ford chides Olivia Chow over town halls

Mr. Ford, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s older brother, raised questions about telephone town halls hosted by NDP Member of Parliament Olivia Chow

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The municipal election campaign won't formally begin until early next year, but that didn't stop Councillor Doug Ford from taking a swing at one of the mayor's potential opponents.

Mr. Ford, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's elder brother, raised questions Wednesday about telephone town halls hosted by NDP Member of Parliament Olivia Chow. Ms. Chow has been rumoured to be considering a mayoral run and head-to-head polls have indicated she could win.

Asked who will run the mayor's re-election campaign, Doug Ford said he plans to be part of his brother's team. He then shifted his comments to Ms. Chow.

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"My concern is who's paying for Olivia Chow's tele town hall meetings? That's a serious matter. Is she breaking the election laws? Or is she using her office in Ottawa to do these tele town hall meetings? Is she jumping out of the gate early?" he asked.

Nathan Rotman, the executive director of the NDP, said Wednesday that the party asked Ms. Chow to conduct the town halls as part of its campaign strategy.

"We have a national transit strategy campaign we have been running all across Canada. Telephone town halls are one of the tools and tactics in the campaign tool box," Mr. Rotman said.

Doug Ford, who has previously said he only planned to serve one term on Toronto city council, reiterated that stand Wednesday.

"I won't be running next time. At least down here I won't be running. I'll be running away from this place in 16 months," he said.

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