Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attended a St. Patrick’s Day charity luncheon emceed by rival mayoral candidate John Tory on Monday as a new video shows the mayor shouting profanities outside City Hall.
Mr. Ford did not answer questions about the video, barrelling past journalists as he jumped into his waiting SUV partway through the event and wishing everyone a happy St. Patrick’s Day.
The video shows Mr. Ford standing with a group of people on the sidewalk outside City Hall before getting into a cab on Saturday around 10:30 p.m. “Bro, I need a taxi van to take us home,” he said before loudly swearing.
The mayor went to his office Saturday evening and briefly spoke with City Hall security before leaving, a spokeswoman for the city confirmed.
His brother, Councillor Doug Ford, said the mayor did “the right thing” by taking a cab if he had been drinking. Doug Ford also claimed his brother had never vowed to quit drinking, despite the mayor’s public statements to the contrary.
“He never promised anyone he was going to stop 100 per cent,” the councillor told reporters. “So anyways, it is what it is and we’re moving forward.”
In mid-November, the mayor told CP24 that he “guaranteed, 100 per cent” that he had quit drinking for good. He made the vow after admitting that he had tried crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor.” Mr. Ford also appeared on the CBC, and told Peter Mansbridge he was quitting alcohol after having a “come-to-Jesus moment.”
Asked again later about the mayor’s promise to stop drinking, Doug Ford bemoaned the media’s spotlight on his brother as he walked through a parking lot to his SUV. “Why don’t you tell the truth and why don’t you tell the truth?” he said, gesturing to trailing reporters. “You lie on a daily basis.”
Earlier, Mr. Tory briefly introduced Mayor Ford, who waved to the room of more than 200 people and presented a plaque to the luncheon’s organizer. The mayor sat at a table with his brother and Councillor Peter Leon. One table over, Mr. Tory sat with Councillors Gloria Lindsay Luby, Peter Milczyn and Vincent Crisanti. The two mayoral candidates did not speak during the event.
Mr. Tory said it wasn’t uncomfortable to be in the same room as the mayor. “For me to be in the room with the same people who are running for mayor as myself, it’s not awkward at all,” he said.
Mr. Tory declined comment on the latest Ford video. “There are all kinds of videos all over the place and I just think that, again, people will make their judgment on who’s going to get results for them,” he said.
Chief Bill Blair, who confirmed his attendance a month ago, did not attend the event, which was to raise money for charities supporting families in crisis in honour of the late C. Dennis Flynn, a former mayor of Etobicoke. Organizer Mary Flynn-Guglietti, Mr. Flynn’s daughter, said she found out that Chief Blair wouldn’t be at the luncheon in the late morning after arriving at the venue.
“I don’t like last-minute surprises,” she said.
Chief Blair was listed in the program as saying grace. Ms. Flynn-Guglietti said she “begged” a friend to fill in.
“We don’t discuss specifics of his schedule and why it might change from time to time,” police spokesman Mark Pugash said, adding that the chief and mayor both attended the St. Patrick’s Day Grand Marshal’s Ball on Friday.
Toronto Police have been investigating Mayor Ford since last spring, when reports emerged of a video allegedly showing him smoking crack cocaine. Earlier this month, Chief Blair asked the Ontario Provincial Police to take control of the investigation.
With a report from Elizabeth Church.