Councillor Jaye Robinson is standing behind her call for Rob Ford to take a temporary leave of absence, even though she believes the comments cost her a spot on the mayor's executive committee.
A day after being booted from the cabinet-like committee and being stripped of her role as chair of community development, Robinson held a press conference at City Hall and again said that Ford should step aside for a while unless he can resolve allegations he smoked crack cocaine.
"At this time, a temporary leave of absence is not out of the question if the mayor is unable or unwilling to answer the questions that have still not been clarified to date," she said. "I have to say, I stand firmly behind everything that I stated and I believe that Torontonians feel like-minded. They want answers and they want them now."
Robinson, who was the only female member on the 13-person executive, also criticized the mayor for not having the "courtesy" or "respect" to dismiss her in person. She said one of the mayor's "junior staffers" contacted her when she was in her ward on Monday at around 4 p.m. and asked to see her at City Hall in ten minutes. When she responded that that was impossible, his office told her staff that she was being removed.
Although she was given no reason, Robinson said she believed Ford dropped her because of her suggestion that the should take a leave, and because she publicly criticized Doug Ford, the mayor's brother, for speaking on the mayor's behalf.
"It is unfortunate that the executive committee no longer seems to have room for a diversity of voices or points of view. It is unfortunate that the executive committee can no longer tolerate reasonable, informed disagreement," she said.
But Doug Ford denied that Robinson was fired because she disagreed with the mayor. Instead, Councillor Ford depicted her removal as a routine shuffle aimed at repositioning the mayor's team as council heads into election season next January.
"We want to move forward, maybe in a little different direction, and I don't think this is a big deal at all about shifting one person to another," Councillor Ford said. "The only people who are making a big deal about it is the media."
He also said the mayor's office repeatedly tried to contact Robinson to fire her in person but she avoided his requests.
Doug raised eyebrows in the press gallery by claiming that Robinson's replacement, Anthony Perruzza, a dyed-in-the-wool NDPer, was politically aligned with the conservative mayor in some ways. Perruzza is taking over Robinson's spot on the executive as well as her former role as chair of the community development committee.
"Anthony Perruzza, that took her place, shares the same priorities as the mayor moving forward on this file," Doug said.
But while the Etobicoke councillor characterized Robinson's ousting as unrelated to her public criticism of the mayor, Denzil Minnan-Wong, another of Rob Ford's close allies, said there was likely a connection.
"Well I think that that probably contributed to it," Minnan-Wong said. "You're going to have to the mayor about that. But what I would remind everyone is that members of the executive have been removed for far less reasons."
He cited the case of Brian Ashton, who former mayor David Miller dismissed after he refused to back the land transfer tax.
Minnan-Wong accused Robinson of "trying to score some political points" by calling on Mayor Ford to step aside. He said that although Robinson was the sole woman on the executive, her gender played no role in her firing.
For her part, Robinson didn't go so far as to suggest she lost the job because she was a woman, but said the mayor likely won't be concerned with a lack of female presence in his inner circle.
"I think the mayor will be more comfortable with an all-male cast on executive committee," she said.
Robinson wasn't the only councillor who was shuffled out on Monday. Paul Ainslie, the chair of the government management committee, was moved to the less influential parks committee. In March he spoke openly with media about allegations that the mayor has a substance abuse problem.