Rob Ford apologizes to Toronto, says he's 'made mistakes'
Published Sunday, November 3, 2013 1:23PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, November 3, 2013 10:18PM EST
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford apologized to the people of Toronto on his radio show Sunday, saying he’s “made mistakes” but that he will continue to do “the job I was elected to do three years ago.”
“Unfortunately, I cannot change the past,” Ford said at the start of his weekly radio show on Newstalk 1010. “I can just move forward and learn from the past which I’ll assure I am doing.”
“There’s no one to blame but myself and I take full responsibility for it,” he said, without immediately specifying why he was apologizing.
Reading from a scripted statement, Ford also called on Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair to release the alleged crack video “for every single person in the city to see.”
He said residents “deserve” to see the video and “judge for themselves.”
“That is the right thing to do, and chief, I am asking you to release this video now,” he said.
Responding to a caller, Ford said he would hold a news conference should the video be released to the public. But Toronto Police have said that the video will not be released as it is up to the courts to decide how evidence is treated.
An hour into the show, Ford also addressed city staff reports that Ford was “intoxicated” after-hours at city hall on St. Patrick’s Day 2012.
“It got a little out of control,” Ford said, adding, he “can’t change the past.”
Ford also addressed allegations about his bizarre behaviour at a street festival this past summer, saying he shouldn’t have gotten “hammered down at the Danforth.”
“That was pure stupidity,” he said.
Ford was referring to his appearance at the Taste of the Danforth in early August.
“I just got to maybe slow down on my drinking,” Ford said.
Ford also thanked the “thousands and thousands of residents” who he says have called to express support during a “very, very difficult time.”
Ford said the past week has taken its toll. He pleaded with media to stop coming to his house, saying his family, which includes his wife, and young son and daughter, are “scared.”
In his remarks, Ford was directly addressing allegations of an alleged video for the first time since Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair announced earlier this week that a video had been recovered in which the mayor appears and that is "consistent with what has been described in the press."
Ford has been facing controversy since May, when U.S. website Gawker and the Toronto Star reported that some of their staff members had been shown a video in which the mayor appears to be smoking out of a crack pipe.
Ford has previously said he does not use crack cocaine and that the video does not exist. Then, last Thursday, Ford said that he can't defend the allegations against him because the matter is before the courts.
Responding to a caller question on his show Sunday, Ford said: “I still cannot comment on a video that I have not seen.”
Ford also announced Sunday he would be getting a driver, something he has resisted in the past.
His brother and co-host, Coun. Doug Ford called the move a “positive change.”
Ford also reiterated that he intends to seek re-election as mayor during the 2014 municipal election.
“My name will be on that ballot January 2,” he said.
Ford’s comments come a day after he met with Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly behind closed doors. Kelly had been expected to convey to Ford concerns raised by several council colleagues about the ongoing controversy and its impact on city business.
After Ford’s on-air apology, Kelly said he was “delighted” to hear Ford make a “personal commitment to behave himself.”
“He apologized for the sins of the past, he acknowledged the impact of his behaviour on the life of this city,” Kelly said.
But the deputy mayor warned that the public may not be as forgiving.
“If he falls back to his old ways, there may not be potential for forgiveness that’s out there right now,” Kelly said, adding he will be urging his colleagues to hold the mayor to the standards he has now set.
Coun. Jaye Robinson however, said the mayor failed to adequately address the controversy surrounding him, and expressed concern that, in the meantime, tensions at city hall will continue to escalate.
“To me, what happened today means there’s no end in sight,” she said in a phone interview with CP24.
Several council colleagues and organizations have publicly called on the mayor to resign or step aside to deal with his personal matters.
‘Not good enough’
Residents had mixed reaction to Ford’s radio address, with some saying he fell short.
In Scarborough, former Ford supporter Rosemary Jevnikar said Ford’s comments were “not good enough for me.”
“He’s embarrassed the whole city, and he’s old enough to know better,” she said.
In Etobicoke, where many of Ford’s core supporters reside, some said they didn’t hear what they were waiting to hear when they tuned in to the radio show.
“It’s seemed to be sincere but hollow, somehow,” said Valerie Titishov. “He has apologized before and then he continues to do the bad things again.”
Others said Ford handled the matter appropriately.
“He apologized, he admits what he did, a lot of us do the same thing, so why can’t he?” one man told CTV Toronto.
With files from CTV Toronto’s Scott Lightfoot and Calvin To