As Rob Ford enters the last month of his mayoralty of Toronto, he says "it will definitely be remembered."
The mayor, who is battling a rare form of cancer, paid a brief visit to City Hall Friday afternoon – just days after he was re-elected as a councillor in his old Ward 2 seat, and ahead of a swearing-in ceremony in December that will mark the end of his tumultuous reign. The visit also came just days after he received news from doctors that his abdominal tumour has not shrunk after two rounds of chemotherapy.
"I got some news that I really didn't want to get two days ago," Mr. Ford said, who was diagnosed in September with liposarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that originates in the fatty tissue. Doctors had originally hoped that the first two rounds of chemotherapy might shrink the tumour – which they say is too big to operate on – but Mr. Ford said the chemotherapy has not done that.
In December, John Tory, who beat out the mayor's brother Doug Ford for the role of chief magistrate, will officially become Toronto's new mayor. At that time, Mr. Ford – who only dropped out of the mayoral race because of his illness – will move into a smaller councillor office next door. On Friday afternoon, he paid that office a visit "to see how I'm going to re-arrange things."
When asked how he would like his mayoralty to be remembered – a turbulent period in Toronto's history, which included multiple drug and police scandals centred around his behaviour – he chuckled.
"It will definitely be remembered – put it that way. No one's going to forget it. Obviously there's good and bad parts to it… People know that I saved a lot of money. And people are going to know that I had a few personal struggles."
The mayor arrived at City Hall Friday afternoon accompanied by his mom, Diane Ford. While there, he paid visits to councillors in their offices to congratulate those who had won re-election Monday.
He said he's been playing "phone tag" with Mr. Tory – his political rival for more than eight months on the campaign trail – but that he looks forward to working with him. "Some things we're going to agree on, some things we're not going to agree on."
The notoriously tight-fisted mayor also said that "it's up to John" which committee roles he's assigned, but has Mr. Ford has his eye on the "big money committees – where the big money's spent," such as government management and the audit committee. He also said he'd be open to the idea of serving as Mr. Tory's deputy mayor.
"If he wants to do it, I'll take it," he said. "Whatever he wants to give me, I'll accept it and do whatever you're supposed to do."
Still, he said, his priority for the next while will be his health. He could not commit to whether he'll be able to attend upcoming events – including the Remembrance Day service at City Hall, and the council swearing-in ceremony in December, although he'd like to be at both.
Mr. Ford, who appeared tired and spoke with a raspy voice, said he has to undergo at least three more rounds of chemotherapy. "Unfortunately we're back to square one."
In addition, he said he's battling pneumonia. "I'm a little fatigued…sore throughout my body – those are the symptoms. My feet, my legs, they're swelled up."
"This is going to be a rough ride," he said. "I know it's going to be a rough ride. I have to hang in there."