Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne met with Toronto Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly on Tuesday. It was the first meeting between the city and province since Toronto city council stripped Toronto Mayor Rob Ford of some of his powers. Mark Blinch/Canadian Press
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne met with Toronto Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly today, calling him the "representative of Toronto city council," while never mentioning Mayor Rob Ford by name.
"It's important that I meet with people in decision-making roles," said Wynne after a meeting with Kelly at the Ontario legislature.
Earlier in the day, Rob Ford said it was inappropriate for Wynne to meet with Kelly. Ford remains mayor in little more than title after being stripped of much of his powers in a series of council votes last month.
Tuesday's meeting was the first between Wynne and Kelly, a council member from Scarborough. The pair discussed transit and housing issues.
Kelly said he wanted Wynne to know that "at City Hall, we now have a stable, calm government and reasonable government that is looking forward to working with the government of Ontario."
Rob Ford had much of his power wrested from him following a series of controversies, including his admission to having previously smoked crack cocaine and the release of a video showing him acting erratically.
On Nov.14, Wynne called the scandal surrounding Ford "truly disturbing." She also said the province would only intervene if Toronto council ceased to function properly and requested an intervention from Queen's Park that was supported by the other provincial parties.
In a letter to Wynne sent Monday, the mayor said the premier should be meeting with him, not Kelly.
“I believe that it would be most appropriate for you to meet with the elected Mayor of Toronto on these matters, which affect our city as a whole,” Ford wrote.
Meeting features 'two unelected officials,' Doug Ford says
Coun. Doug Ford had harsher words for the premier, describing Monday's meeting as a get-together involving “two unelected officials” and reiterating that “380,000 voted for Rob.”
“We’ve got to focus on a lot of areas. No. 1 is the funding cuts the province has done, especially on the most vulnerable people in society, on the community housing that they did,” he said.
“We’ve got to talk transit. There’s a lot of things we need to talk about with the premier and obviously she’s not interested in speaking to the democratically elected mayor of the city.”
Coun. Peter Leon said he thinks the planned meeting is a sign the city is getting back on track after the mayor’s scandals.
“I believe the purpose of this meeting with the premier and the deputy mayor...is that he’s trying to get more funding from the province,” Leon said.
The mayor also wrote that he is busy during their meeting time with his charity toy drive at city hall, but said he would be available after the event.