A Toronto City Hall beat reporter who covered the downfall of Mayor Rob Ford said Friday that he is suing the disgraced politician for suggesting that he is a pedophile.
Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale made the announcement in the pages of Canada’s largest newspaper.
Dale said he has served Ford with a libel notice, the first step in a lawsuit for his “malicious and defamatory insinuation… that I have some sort of predatory interest in young children — that I am a pedophile.”
The Ford remarks were made to shamed media mogul Conrad Black, who co-hosts a new current affairs show on Canadian television, and were later repeated on American radio.
Ford, who was stripped of most of his mayoral powers and duties last month after admitting smoking crack, was recalling a May 2012 confrontation with Dale, who was staking out the mayor’s home for a story about him wanting to buy an adjacent city park.
“Daniel Dale is in my backyard taking pictures,” Ford told Black during an interview earlier this month for Vision TV, which has also been named in the lawsuit.
“I have little kids. He’s taking pictures of little kids,” Ford said. “I don’t want to say that word but you start thinking what this guy is all about.”
Dale denied taking any pictures or standing on cinder blocks to peer into the mayor’s yard, as Ford suggested.
“I was on (adjacent) public land researching a public-interest story about the mayor’s unusual application to buy public land,” said Dale.
But Ford has refused to apologize, saying: “I stand by my words.”
Black also defended the interview, telling public broadcaster CBC that he did not believe Ford was insinuating that Dale was a pedophile.
“I don’t think any of us who have young children under the age of 10 would have been particularly pleased about seeing a stranger leering out over the back fence looking at them,” Black told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
“I did not take it that Ford was saying Dale was a pedophile.”