Ford asks for video's release, apologizes for 'mistakes'
Sandie Benitah, CP24.com
Published Sunday, November 3, 2013 1:17PM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 4, 2013 1:13PM EST
Mayor Rob Ford used his radio show Sunday to apologize repeatedly to Torontonians for his mistakes but said he will continue to govern the city while learning from the errors of his past.
However, before apologizing, he used the first minute of his weekly radio show on Newstalk 1010 to ask Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair to release a much talked about video that allegedly shows the mayor using drugs.
The video was seized during a drug raid.
"It's the right thing to do," Ford said about his request for the video's release. "I'm asking you to release the video now. Whatever the video shows, I want Toronto residents to see it and people can judge for themselves what they see."
Ford then addressed his own behavior without being specific about what “mistakes” he was referring to. This past week, court documents have shown police caught the mayor in the frequent company of an alleged drug dealer. Blair also confirmed to reporters the existence of the video which was first reported by the media back in May. Reporters who saw the video said the mayors appears to be smoking from a glass pipe and can be heard making racist and homophobic remarks.
Ford has previously denied the existence of the video and has said he is not addicted to crack cocaine.
On Sunday he acknowledged the video but did not say what people would see in it.
“When the video is released, I am going to explain to the best of my mind what is in that video or videos,” he said, while insisting again that he has not seen the video in question.
When a caller asked him specifically what drugs he has consumed, Ford would only repeat that he can’t comment on a video he hasn’t seen.
Ford, however, acknowledged being publicly drunk during the Taste of the Danforth (“I was hammered,” he said) and on St. Patrick’s Day in 2012.
On Friday, at the media’s request, the city released an email sent by security about the mayor the night of St. Patrick’s Day, 2012.
In the detailed email, security guards on duty said a “very intoxicated” mayor came to city hall at around 2 a.m. with some of his staff members and others. The mayor was reportedly swearing at his staff and carrying around a half empty bottle of Brandy.
“St. Patrick’s Day got a little out of control,” he said. “I can’t change the past. I have to maybe slow down on my drinking. I don’t know what else I can say.”
"I’m the first to admit I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes,” he said early on in the show. “I have made mistakes and all I can do right now is apologize for those mistakes. I sincerely, sincerely apologize to my family, the citizens and taxpayers of this great city and my colleagues on council.”
“Unfortunately, I can’t change the past and can just move forward. I have to make changes to my life which I assure you, I will do,” he added.
Among those changes, Ford said he is hiring a driver to help him conduct city business.
The mayor has been heavily criticized in the past after he was caught talking on his cellphone while driving and on a separate occasion, reading a paper. Both times, Ford refused to get a driver.
While apologizing for his past, Ford remained firm about his position on council, insisting he will move forward and not step down.
“I’m going to ride the storm out and keep doing what I was elected to do,” he said.
“I love the work that I do and I’m going to keep doing it. I want to keep working for the people of this city and next Oct. 27, we can let the people decide who they want to run the city.”
Ford versus the media
One thing Ford didn’t apologize for is his ongoing feud with the media.
On Thursday, the mayor was caught on video shoving a Toronto Sun photographer, one of several journalists standing outside his home as he stepped out for the day.
“Get off my property!” a red-faced Ford screamed repeatedly.
After the mayor refused to answer questions from reporters about the allegations, the media continued to follow the mayor both Thursday night as he trick-or-treated with his children and again on Friday to his mother’s house for what appeared to be a family meeting. The mayor never went to work on Friday but he did make a stop at a Mississauga police station where he filed a complaint against a photographer who was still following him.
Ford called police on the media a second time on Saturday afternoon after he was followed to a WalMart parking lot.
On Sunday he said he is pleading with reporters to stay away from his Etobicoke home.
“I beg you, plead with you, please please please, do not come to my front door and stand on my driveway,” he said. “I have a wife, an eight-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son and they are scared.”
“I’ll meet you anywhere, just please don’t come to my house,” he added.
Members of the media immediately took him up on his offer, including Michael Cooke, the editor-in-chief of the Toronto Star – a paper the mayor has blacklisted and has publicly accused of having a vendetta against him.
The Star was the first Canadian paper to report on the infamous video and whispers of substance abuse issues.
“Dear Mayor Ford – thank you…the Star accepts your “let’s meet” offer. Tomorrow. My office or yours?” Cooke tweeted.
Ford has yet to respond to the Star but after his radio show, the mayor rushed past a horde of reporters waiting by his vehicle at Newstalk's studio, refusing to answer a single question.
'I am not a drug addict'
Soon after leaving, Ford conducted an interview with AM640 where he answered questions about the allegations and his statement.
He again asked the media for some space, saying he will speak with reporters at city hall and not on his personal property.
As for the alleged drug use, he told the station that he is not an addict of any drug and is not an alcoholic. When asked if he does crack, Ford said "no."
The mayor also vehemently denied a suggestion made by AM640 on Thursday that Ford called the radio station pretending to be a supporter named "Ian."
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