TORONTO – Rob Ford debated fellow mayoral hopefuls Tuesday evening for the first time since returning from a two-month rehab stint for his substance abuse problem.
“I have proven in the last 14 years in government that I’ve watched every single one of your tax dollars,” Ford said to a chorus of cheers and boos.
“I have created jobs, I have worked with youth, nobody’s worked with youth closer than I have…folks, my record speaks for itself. It’s a record of success, success, success.”
All of the five major candidates took part in the debate, including John Tory, Olivia Chow, Karen Stintz and David Soknacki.
“Since Rob Ford came back, we’ve seen the best and the worst of our city,” Chow said.
“Rob Ford isn’t going to resign, so join me in firing him.”
The debate was hosted by the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) and was held at the Global Kingdom Ministries on Markham Road.
Candidates addressed areas of concern for the residents of Scarborough including transit, jobs, and youth engagement.
A group of Ford supporters heckled Ford’s political opponents and yelled out their support every time the mayor spoke on stage.
“He’s the only one that makes sense,” said Bill Parkin, who called for “Ford more years.”
“He’s the only mayor that’s done anything good for us.”
Anti-Ford demonstrator John Furr, who got into a verbal confrontation with Parkin prior to the debate, said it was time for Ford to leave public office.
“Remaining in office is an insult to average Torontonians. If he really wants to show us that he wants to earn our trust, he should be resigning,” said Furr.
“The mayor’s problems, by and large, are not related to addiction. They’re related to his contempt, they’re related to his racism, to his homophobia, they’re related to his toxic environment that he’s created.”
Earlier Tuesday, two police officers were seen inside the mayor’s office reportedly investigating a threat against Ford.
It’s unclear who made them or when. Neither the mayor or his brother Doug Ford have commented.
-With files from The Canadian Press
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