WATCH: Global’s Jackson Proskow recounts the bizarre scene of chaos and apologies at Toronto City Hall
TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford issued a public apology Tuesday to Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale over remarks he made during a pre-recorded interview with Conrad Black last week that appeared to insinuate the journalist was a pedophile.
“I do not mean to insinuate anything about Mr. Dale personally in my interview with Mr. Black,” Ford read in a statement to council. “I wish to sincerely apologize again to Mr. Dale if my actual words have caused him any harm or personal offence.”
“I never called Mr. Dale a pedophile. I have no issue with Mr. Dale personally. I understand he is an employee in a very competitive news business,” Ford said.
Read More: Full text: Rob Ford’s apology to Daniel Dale
Dale’s lawyer served Ford with a libel notice last week just days after Ford said in a press conference he stood by “every word” of his interview with Black that aired last Monday on ZoomerMedia.
“He’s taking photos of little kids,” Ford said during the interview with Black. “I don’t want to say that word, but you start thinking ‘What’s this guy all about?’”
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Ford was referencing a 2012 incident when he found Star reporter Daniel Dale on a public lot close to his home. Dale said he was in the park to research a story about Ford’s attempt to buy the land.
At council, Ford maintains he “honestly believed” his neighbour’s account of the events but “I was merely commenting on the thoughts that went through my mind on (that) night.”
“It is unfortunate that the word I did not say has been ascribed to me by the Toronto media,” Ford read.
“If Daniel Dale is here” – he gestured to the press gallery – “I want to personally apologize to him.”
Speaking to reporters, Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly believed Ford’s apology was sincere.
“It appeared sincere and certainly a lengthy one. One in which he repeated a number of times,” Kelly said. “Only Daniel can determine if it was acceptable or not.”
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Ford’s brother councillor Doug Ford said last week the mayor had no reason to apologize.
“This is all about selling newspapers. It’s a shame, it’s a shame they are using Daniel Dale as a pawn here,” he told reporters at city hall.