Toronto Women's City Alliance

August 02, 2011 14:18 ET

Mayor Rob Ford Group's Sexist and Outrageous Behaviour Fuels Demands for Public Apology

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 2, 2011) - The Toronto Women's City Alliance (TWCA) is today demanding public apologies from Mayor Rob Ford, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, Councillors Denzil Minnan-Wong and Giorgio Mammoliti for their demeaning, sexist and anti-democratic behaviour during last week's Executive Committee meeting.

All were reacting to TWCA Coordinator Jennifer Arango's simple statement that only 2 out of 13 members appointed to Ford's powerful Executive Committee were women and that the perspective and needs of women and children were not being factored in to decisions that would dramatically change their lives and prospects.

Less than 30 seconds into her presentation, Arango was shut down by Minnan-Wong on a Point of Order that sought to dismiss her statement as not relevant to the KPMG reports. This was followed by a furious outburst from Holyday (some of which can be viewed on Global News), and that was then followed by another Point of Order, this time from Mammoliti.

"The yelling, screaming and accusatory finger pointing tried to bully and silence me. But it only proved the point that women and girls' voices on city issues are irrelevant to the Mayor and his allies and that the work of the TWCA is vital," says Arango.

Children's author Vikki Van Sickle waited 19 hours to speak to the committee about the importance of our public libraries. She maintained an eloquent and friendly composure during her deputation but experienced the brunt of Mayor Ford's sexism. In response to a question, Van Sickle told the committee that her book is entitled "Words that Start with B . . . like budget." Ford, forgetting that his microphone was on – or perhaps not caring – muttered under his breath that he could "think of another word for her".

Earlier that day, Ford joked on a radio show about giving a woman and her child the finger when they told him to stop talking on his cell phone while driving.

"As a young racialized woman, a voter, engaged citizen, and representative of an organization that has a mandate to bring the needs of diverse women and girls to City Hall, I have a right and responsibility to hold my elected officials accountable and propose changes and alternatives to the decisions made by our local government. That is the purpose of the deputation process. That is democracy. The process clearly failed on every front," says Arango.

Since 2004, the TWCA has worked to make women visible and audible in local government and to ensure their concerns and needs are factored in to the political agenda. Poverty, homelessness, unemployment and under-employment, racial and gender discrimination, domestic violence and sexual abuse remain alarming realities for many women and girls in Toronto.

Arango's open letter to supporters and her full deputation can be viewed at the Toronto Women's City Alliance website at: http://www.twca.ca/news.php?article=77 and the TWCA Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Toronto-Womens-City-Alliance/144170215648171.

Contact Information

  • Toronto Women's City Alliance
    Jennifer Arango
    647-235-8575

    Toronto Women's City Alliance
    Sonja Greckol
    416-466-4188