‘I didn’t shake his hand’: Montreal, Quebec City mayors criticize Rob Ford
Watch the video above: Rob Ford slammed by fellow mayors at Ottawa meeting. Jackson Proskow reports.
TORONTO – The mayors of Montreal and Quebec City had some harsh words for the scandal-ridden mayor of Toronto Rob Ford at the annual meeting of Canada’s big city mayors in Ottawa.
“He’s got the right to be there. But I don’t care about him; it’s a caucus not a circus,” Montreal mayor Denis Coderre said following the meeting Wednesday afternoon. “I want to talk about issues and you know, we didn’t talk to him, I didn’t shake his hand, I didn’t look at him.”
And mayor of Quebec City Régis Labeaume said Ford can “behave as he wants” but he doesn’t want to tell his kids he is “working with a guy who is mayor [and was] smoking crack.”
“I didn’t even make eye contact with him,” Labeaume said in French following the meeting.
Other mayors didn’t openly criticize or support Ford has his colleagues from Montreal and Quebec City did, saying they’d prefer to focus on the issues.
Ford however had only kind words for his colleagues, saying “everyone is very friendly.”
“I think I got along with all of them. I don’t think I was a distraction,” he said. “I spoke my mind on the subways, I spoke my mind on the budget, I spoke my mind on the $14-million plan. Not all of us agreed on that, but I’m not here to ridicule the Conservative government. I think they’ve treated Toronto well.”
Watch: Rob Ford says he is trying to focus on issues not personal life at mayors meeting
The annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference is a meeting of the mayors from the country’s biggest cities. Ford has never attended but made a point of travelling to Ottawa this year to fight for subway and infrastructure funding from the federal government.
“We are going to build subways in the city,” he said prior to Wednesday’s meeting. “I am not in favour of LRTs; I’ve made that quite clear.”
Though Ford was determined to get money from the federal government for infrastructure and housing, he initially left the meeting shortly after noon Wednesday to have lunch.
Watch: The mayors of Montreal and Quebec city share their feelings on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
The meeting officially ended at 5 p.m. but Ford said the mayors had covered everything he wanted to discuss.
“We’ve discussed everything I was here to discuss,” he said. “The meeting went well, we talked about the infrastructure needs. Of course mine are a little different, like I said from the beginning. I’m pushing for subways and I’m not going to stop pushing for them.”
Soon after Ford left the meeting a photo of him at an Ottawa restaurant appeared on Twitter.
WATCH: Mayor Ford says he’s not planning to attend the afternoon session because all the issues had been discussed
Before leaving the meeting, Ford said he also wanted to tour Lansdowne stadium (the new home of the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks) but security at the stadium told Global News Wednesday that they had been ordered to turn the mayor away.
Despite earlier assertions he was not returning to meeting, Ford went back to Ottawa city hall after his lunch at a nearby pub. Ford staffers said he didn’t know the federal minister responsible for housing, Candice Bergen, would be at the afternoon session.
But upon leaving the meeting just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, Bergen said the meeting had been on her schedule for a while.
Ford didn’t take any questions from reporters when he left the meeting around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to catch a flight back to Toronto.
– With files from Amy Minsky, Laura Stone and Marina Von Stackelberg
WATCH: Rob Ford not exactly Mr. Popularity at Big City Mayor’s Meeting