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'I make no apologies for photo-ops': Markham mayor responds to critic
August 5, 2017
By Tim Kelly

Stung by a resident's recent publicity stunt and who called him out as "Photo-Op Frank", Markham's mayor replied in an interview, saying: "I make no apologies for photo-ops."

Mayor Frank Scarpitti was the centre of attention when Markham resident Grant Ross, frustrated at his more than three-year wait for a new tree to replace the one destroyed by an ice storm in 2013, made a sign directed at the mayor.

The sign read: "Mr. Scarpitti. Since you don't return calls or reply to emails and you love photo ops be here Tues. 8:00 p.m. Tree Lighting. Celebrate a Tree."

The mayor did not make the ceremony last Tuesday which included an artificial tree and about 30 of Ross's friends.

Scarpitti wanted to talk about the issue of photo-ops and how they come about in a phone interview Thursday night after Ross said, "Frank is always available for photo-ops, they call him 'Photo-op Frank."

"We have press conferences and we have photo-ops on work that we have done that has accomplished something...So I make no apology for the press conferences that we hold and the photo-ops that we hold because they're not pretend, they're not make-believe because when we hold them it means that we've worked, sometimes for years, sometimes for months, sometimes for days, but we've worked at what we've accomplished. And I make no apology for the press conferences, for the photo-ops because it's a way of also letting our community know what's happening in their community," Scarpitti said.

He said his sense of humour is as good as anyone else's, "but when someone sticks up a ‘You're more interested in photo-ops than anything else’, no I'm not...I don't think you get a Markham Pan-Am Centre, I don't think you get a York University, some of the companies we've managed to attract to Markham if it wasn't for the effort that goes into it.”

He also said photo-ops also often arise because the mayor is invited to attend by businesses or organizations, “to lend credibility or validity to their efforts.”