TORONTO – Rob Ford is sorry.
The mayor began what could be his last council session with a speech thanking his fellow councillors and apologizing for “embarrassing” council.
“I know I put this council through some challenges, I know I embarrassed council and I want to thank sincerely the deputy mayor for taking on the reins and I can’t thank you enough for taking the job on,” the mayor told said during a five-minute speech in council chambers Thursday morning.
The deputy mayor assumed many of the mayor’s responsibilities in November amid an ongoing police investigation into the mayor and Ford’s admission he smoked crack cocaine despite several months of denial. The police investigation is ongoing.
Thursday’s council meeting is the last before October’s election, which could end the Ford’s mayoral tenure (though a new Forum Research poll indicated he could be gaining popularity, placing him in second place behind John Tory). Ford remains popular with many city constituencies despite lying about everything from his substance use to city finances and policies.
The mayor mentioned several councillors by name and thanked some regular opponents like Gloria Lindsay-Luby, and Karen Stintz.
Councillor Peter Leon, who was selected for Ward 3 after councillor Doug Holyday was elected MPP for Etobicoke Lakeshore (a seat Holyday lost just months later), is “the nicest guy” Ford said he’s ever met.
The mayor sounded like he was choking back tears when in a trembling voice he thanked his brother, campaign manager and most strident advocate, Councillor Doug Ford.
“I did mislead you, I did coerce you, I had to do something to get you into the seat,” he said. “I appreciate you having my back 24/7 and it’s been a challenge and I really want to thank you for being my best friend and all I can say is, Queen’s Park, you have no idea what’s coming up to you next.”
The mayor appeared to be alluding to his brother’s MPP ambitions – ambitions Doug Ford has recently downplayed even after announcing he won’t run again for council.
Torontonians go to the polls on October 27.