Watch above: Rob Ford does lengthy radio interview the day after cancelling TV interviews to focus on his campaign. Mark Carcasole reports.
TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford won’t guarantee a sober four years in office should he be re-elected – he won’t even promise to stay sober this weekend.
But he did pledge to save the city money and rebuild the trust of undecided voters, using language that matches, almost word for word, previous stump speeches.
Ford made the campaign-style promise during an interview with Jerry Agar on Newstalk 1010 Friday morning, two days after cancelling a slew of interviews – including one with Global News – saying he wouldn’t do anymore interviews because he wanted to “focus on the campaign.”
Ford told the radio host that he can’t promise sobriety if he were to be re-elected because he won’t “make promises that I have no control over.”
“I’m not making any promises,” Ford said. “I know one thing for sure. I didn’t drink yesterday and I haven’t had a drop of alcohol today. I can only take it one day at a time.”
He did promise, however, that voters would see a “fitter, healthier Rob Ford” in the next few months leading up to the election Oct. 27.
Listen: Rob Ford’s entire interview on Newstalk 1010
The mayor trails Olivia Chow and John Tory in some opinion polls. He has vowed to run on his record even after being called out for exaggerating his accomplishments and the amount of money he’s saved the city.
“I will never, ever, ever change one thing I did with my policies at city hall. I know I’ve saved the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. I know there aren’t any more strikes, no more strikes in the city and there won’t be under my administration,” Ford said. “In my private life, it was a disaster. In my public life, it was fantastic.”
(The city’s library workers engaged in a short-lived strike under his administration. Ford has also admitted to drinking at city hall.)
Ford reiterated his plan to contract out garbage pickup east of Yonge Street and said he won’t toll the Gardiner Expressway or the Don Valley Parkway. He also said he would build more subways, not light rail transit – or as he incorrectly, repeatedly referred to them – the “St. Clair streetcars.”
(It has been pointed out on numerous occasions, including directly to the mayor during council debates, that light rail plans in Scarborough and elsewhere are not streetcars and would run on their own right-of-way, not along city streets)
The mayor also promised to try and cut the land transfer tax – something he has been promising to do since 2010, with no success so far.
Ford’s ongoing drug scandal created a rift between him and the majority of other councillors in the city who voted to restrict many of his powers. But Ford insisted he can lead council if he’s re-elected.
“I heard this exact same argument four years ago, that I wasn’t going to be able to work with these councillors,” he said.
Watch: Topless protesters confront Rob Ford
At the beginning of the interview, the mayor laughed about the so-called “shirtless horde” of protesters outside the news studios on Queen Street, and his encounter with shirtless jogger Joe Killoran, saying some people are always “going to disagree with my politics.” Ford didn’t say why he didn’t answer Killoran’s questions, or questions posed to him by numerous journalists since.