Councillor Doug Ford is defending his brother's controversial decision to skip the Toronto Pride parade, but hints that the family could be more involved in future Pride celebrations.
"It was Rob's decision not to go, he sticks by it absolutely and I can't speak for him on this issue any more than that," said Mr. Ford, who joined his younger brother, Mayor Rob Ford, at the family's Huntsville cottage over the weekend rather than attend Toronto's Pride celebrations. "We couldn't make it down, but we'll see what happens next year. That could change."
It was the first time the city's mayor had missed Pride since Barbara Hall started the tradition during her term in office.
Last month the rookie councillor stated that he would attend the parade on Sunday, even if his brother wasn't coming. But Mr. Ford was not among the 15 councillors who joined an estimated one-million spectators at the weekend parade.
Heavy traffic and his teen-aged daughters convinced him to remain at the cottage, he said.
"The kids told me they see me more when I was doing business in Chicago six days a week than they do now as a politician," he said. "That pretty much convinced me we could use the family time together. We did some fishing, some inner-tubing, a little grilling. We really enjoyed it."
As for accusations from some quarters that homophobia could account for the mayor's non-attendance, Doug Ford said his brother does a great deal of work in the gay community that is kept from the public.
"I wish I could show the public every single phone call and email of support we receive from the gay community thanking Rob for work he's done for them and their families," he said. "I can guarantee you 100 per cent that Rob is not homophobic."