#1Jul 10th, 2014
After Rob Ford speech, Toronto council bans invite-only media events
A week after Mayor Rob Ford excluded media outlets from his return-from-rehab speech, Toronto City Council has voted overwhelmingly to ban invite-only media events on city property.
Council voted 38-3 to require politicians and city officials to allow the entire City Hall Press Gallery to attend all media events at city facilities. They also prohibited employees of the city bureaucracy, such as the audio-visual team, from assisting with events where the whole gallery is not allowed.
Ford and councillors Mike Del Grande and John Parker voted against. Councillor Doug Ford skipped the vote after he joined the other three in voting against holding an immediate final vote on the matter.
The motion was tabled by Councillor Paula Fletcher, an opponent of Ford. She said politicians can invite whomever they like if they hold their events on private property.
Now Magazine and Metroland Media, both members of the press gallery, were banned from Ford’s speech last Monday. Ford also excluded other interested outlets that are not gallery members, such as the website Torontoist and the Associated Press wire service.
Ford held the speech in a narrow room in his office suite, which can accommodate only about 25 people, despite pleas from the city bureaucracy to instead use a spacious lounge above the city council chamber. Council’s vote will essentially require Ford to use the lounge for all future events of major media interest.