Councillor apologizes for radio call-in outburst
Published Wednesday, September 30, 2009 7:57PM EDT
A Toronto city councillor is apologizing after she called in to a talk radio show last week to defend the record of Mayor David Miller -- without fully identifying herself.
Sandra Bussin (Ward 32, Beaches-East York), the speaker for city council, didn't give her last name or say she was a city councillor when she called the Strong Opinions show on CFRB Radio last Friday.
That show is hosted by activist Tarek Fatah and John Tory, a former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives who may himself run for the office that Miller will not context next year.
Miller had announced Friday that he would not seek re-election in November 2010, and many people unhappy with his record as mayor had called in to vent.
Bussin, a Miller loyalist on council, defended Miller's handing of the 39-day municipal workers' strike this summer. "He actually got a really good deal for the city," she said Friday.
But she didn't just defend Miller, who called "the most brilliant politician, municipally, anywhere in the country." She called Tory a "three-time loser," referring to his election losses in the 2003 mayoral election, the 2007 provincial fight he lost in Don Valley West and the byelection defeat this past winter that finally led Tory to quit as party leader.
Tory said he was happy with both his resume and his life. He has said he will considering running in 2010 for the mayor's job.
"I should have indicated I was a city councillor,'' Bussin told reporters Wednesday, adding she had written a letter of apology to Tory and will apologize at council if asked to.
Bussin was back on the radio Wednesday to confirm she had appeared last week. She told CFRB that "to be airing such factless information, I couldn't let that pass."
On Friday, Bussin was asked three times if she worked for the city.
"No I don't work for the city, I work for my constituents," she said Wednesday, adding that as a councillor, she is technically outside the administration of the city.
Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, one of Bussin's opponents on council, said, "If they are prepared to say something publicly, they should be prepared to stand up and put their name behind it."
Reached by telephone, Tory said: "She's apologized, I accept the apology. I think the bigger lesson is how we remove this kind of toxic environment that seems to exist at City Hall and in politics generally, and focus more on getting things done for people."
As for her "three-time loser" shot at Tory, Bussin said, "Well, that's true, is it not?"
With a report from CTV Toronto's Austin Delaney