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Tory takes jab at Ford with proposed ‘conduct’ code

Mayoral candidate John Tory releases his own code of personal and political conduct in Toronto on April 3, 2014.

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

Mayoral candidate John Tory sharpened his attacks on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Thursday morning, announcing a code of conduct he'd like to see enforced at city hall if elected as mayor.

At a press conference at the Arcadian Loft in Bay Street's Simpson Tower, Mr. Tory said he wants to "reset the bar."

"It's unfortunate that we even need to discuss this during the course of an election campaign," he said. "Mr. Ford's disgraceful and disrespectful behaviour has made it necessary."

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He made a jab at the mayor's "I'm not perfect" catchphrase – a now-common deflection to questions about his behaviour.

"I'm not perfect," Mr. Tory said. "But unlike others, I will never be content with that fact."

Top among Mr. Tory's ten rules are respecting the law, showing up for work each day and holding a weekly press availability. He also said if elected he will keep a public schedule, something past mayors have done but Mr. Ford has not.

Most of the points in the "code of personal and political conduct" appear to stem from Mr. Ford's controversial behaviour during his term as mayor.

It also includes not compiling an "enemies list," treating city staff professionally and "mending relationships in a divided city council." Ensuring city resources are used "exclusively for city business" is also in the code.

"Torontonians did not know they were electing a mayor who would hang out with criminals involved with drugs, the very people he should be trying to get off our streets," Mr. Tory said.

He made the announcement a week after he took issue with Mr. Ford's behaviour – in particular, his association with criminals – at a debate at Ryerson University March 27. That debate came a day after the first debate of the election campaign, for which Mr. Ford`s opponents were criticized for avoiding his alleged criminal behaviour.

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He said the mayor`s lack of acknowledgment that this behaviour was wrong is what offends him most.

The conduct code also includes enforcing penalties for elected officials who abuse their privileges. Mr. Tory claimed there should be a broader spectrum of penalties than what exists now – a "tap on the wrist" or 90 days without pay. He also said that in some cases, the maximum penalty may not be enough depending on what someone has done.

"I think if it was hanging around with known criminals, not showing up for work, not answering the boss's questions, as it were, you`d be out the door" Mr. Tory said. "I' m just saying I think the mayor of Toronto should be subject to no less a standard."

Mr. Tory is a former leader of the Progressive Conservative party of Ontario. He lost the 2003 mayoral election to David Miller and did not run against Mr. Ford in the 2010 election.

Shortly after Mr. Tory released his code, opponent Olivia Chow issued a news release with allegations about his current involvement with Rogers Communications and his past political decisions. The news release alleges Mr. Tory promised he would resign from the Rogers board of directors and hasn't. But the Tory campaign contends that he "has been clear he would resign from the Rogers board if he is elected as mayor."

Mr. Tory's spokeswoman, Erica Mozes, said the allegations were untrue and "trumped up by Chow's war room."

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