Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam speaks to reporters, August 25, 2014. Photo by Ben Spurr.
A handful councillors were wearing their disdain for Mayor Rob Ford on their sleeves Monday. And on their ties, shawls, and jackets as well.
In a subtle protest against the mayor, about a half-dozen councillors wore pink on the first day of the final council meeting of the term. Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who wore a pink shirt and multi-coloured scarf, said the colour was chosen because "pink is the colour of anti-bullying."
"This was a playful way of showing my discontent with the mayor," said Wong-Tam, who tweeted Monday morning she was wearing pink to "commemorate the end of #RobFord as Toronto's worst mayor ever."
She said voters in the October 27 election should ask themselves if the city has improved under Ford's scandal-filled tenure.
"Is transit running more effectively, more efficiently? Is it more affordable? Is there more affordable housing that's been built? Are the streets in your communities safer? Has the backlog of TCHC been repaired?" she asked.
Councillor Mike Layton, who sported a pink shirt and tie, said the colour was also a reference to hockey commentator Don Cherry, who as the mayor's guest at the inaugural meeting of council on December 7, 2010 shocked those in attendance by saying he'd worn a bright pink jacket "for all the pinkos out there." Cherry also blasted the "left-wing kooks" who opposed the new mayor.
Layton said Cherry's comments "defined the term for a lot of us. Very adversarial, very insulting."
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong was also wearing pink a checkered shirt, but he said it was just a coincidence. He dismissed his colleagues' protest as "drama and novelty."
"Whatever fills their boots," he said. "We've got a lot more on this council agenda that we should be talking about."
Although Minnan-Wong was among the loudest voices calling for Ford to step aside at the height of the mayor's crack cocaine scandal in November - he advocated the provincial government remove Ford if he didn't go willingly - on Monday the councillor refused to rule out endorsing the mayor's re-election bid. He said some of his constituents still support Ford because of his promise to keep taxes low.
"It's for the voters to decide whether this is Mayor Ford's last council meeting," Minnan-Wong said. "There are a lot of different opinions out in various communities about the performance of Rob Ford, good or ill."
This isn't the first time that councillors have made a symbolic gesture against Ford in the chamber. During a meeting in November, several members turned their back on the mayor every time he stood to speak. The silent protest came after Ford made vulgar remarks about oral sex and a former staffer.