Monday, June 30, 2014
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford offers sweeping apology
An apologetic Ford — back from a two-month leave of absence — appeared on the verge of tears at times as he read a 17-minute statement in which he admitted his addiction to drugs.
“My commitment to living clean is now unwavering,” Ford told around 20 members of the media at an invite-only press conference in the mayor’s office. “To the people of this great city, I want to offer a public apology. I used poor judgment, and I take full responsibility for my actions.
“When I look back at some of the things I have said and some of the things I did when I was using, I am ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated. I was wrong and I have no one but no one to blame but myself,” he added.
Despite spending almost eight weeks in several hundred hours of “intensive therapy” at the GreeneStone Muskoka rehab, Ford quickly reignited the circus-like atmosphere at City Hall. He dodged questions from reporters throughout the day and surrounded himself with a protective ring of City Hall security guards.
The embattled mayor took a temporary leave on April 30 and fled the city the next day to seek help for a “problem with alcohol.”
That sudden exit came just as news broke about a second video which appeared to show Ford smoking crack cocaine. The Toronto Sun also obtained an audio recording of him making several obscene and racist comments in an Etobicoke bar.
“I decided that enough was enough. I had become my own worst enemy,” Ford said about his decision to enter rehab. “I knew it was time to take action. It was time to get help, professional help.”
Ford said he believes GreeneStone “saved my life.”
“I now realize that I was blind to the dangers of some of the company I kept. And those associations have ended,” he said.
“I can proudly say today that I have begun the process of taking control of my life.”
Although Ford has spent more than a year repeatedly denying he suffered from addiction, the civic leader admitted on Monday that he had a problem with drugs and alcohol.
“I was in complete denial,” Ford said. “I had convinced myself that I did not have a problem.
“It soon became obvious that my alcohol and drug use was having a serious impact on my family, on my health, and on my job as mayor.”
The end of Ford’s speech quickly veered into a list of his administration’s accomplishments over the last three years.
“There’s still much more to accomplish,” Ford said. “I plan to continue fighting for the taxpayers of Toronto.”
Councillor Joe Mihevc suggested Toronto residents are “past their Rob Ford addiction” and doubted people will believe Ford’s speech.
“My sense is his redemption song was written by his political strategist rather than by his personal counsellor who is working on his addiction issues,” Mihevc said. “This is about really getting the mayor back into the swing of the election.
“This is not about addiction, this is about leadership for this city and whether you would want a man with that weak a skill-set to be leading this city and embarrassing us all over again for another four years.”
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