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Councillor Rae’s Assistant quits

The constituency assistant to Toronto Centre-Rosedale city councillor Kyle Rae has resigned, saying Rae has moved “away from the social justice agenda that was the reason so many people became involved in his campaigns.”

Alex MacLean, who had been Rae’s assistant for about two years and has known him for 18 years, says the councillor has been ignoring his poorer constituents in favour of those in Rosedale.

“I think there’s an appalling difference between the time he spends on their issues and the time spent on people south of Bloor and especially south of Carlton.”

Rae, who is also an ex of MacLean, says he’s not ignoring any of his constituency, which includes the gay village.

“I don’t think he’s accurate. I think this office is continuing to work with groups and people from all parts of the riding.”

MacLean says the final straw for him was a conversation about Paul Croutch, the homeless man who was beaten to death by three army reservists on Aug 31. MacLean wanted Rae to join those calling for the case to be prosecuted as a hate crime.

“But it was obvious he didn’t get it.”

Rae says he wasn’t aware of MacLean’s unhappiness.

“We had a very good conversation about it. I think he took it very personally. It happened in the neighbourhood he lives in.”

Rae also says he didn’t think he should make statements while the case was being prosecuted.

“It’s very difficult to make statements when a case is before the courts. You might recall my experience with the police.” (Rae was successfully sued for libel by police officers involved in the Pussy Palace raid; the city paid out $170,000 for Rae’s statements.)

MacLean also says he was unhappy with Rae’s refusal to work on trans issues. He says Rae refused to sign a letter MacLean had written to Ontario health minister George Smitherman calling on the province to restore funding for sex reassignment surgery (SRS).

“He said he wasn’t using up his points with Smitherman on this.”

Rae says he had written another letter to Smitherman on the subject of SRS, and had also written to the Tories when the Harris government delisted the procedure.

Rae says MacLean hadn’t mentioned any of his concerns when he resigned.

“He may have found issues now, but he didn’t say anything at the time.”