Toronto's embattled mayor swung from contrite to combative in a matter of hours, shifting gears Monday morning to his usual take-all-comers style after asking for forgiveness Sunday afternoon.
The change of tone put Rob Ford on familiar ground. He has long been considered a lone wolf on council, comfortable taking a contrarian view on issues, at times casting the lone dissenting vote even among his own executive. During his radio show Sunday, where he apologized to his family, taxpayers and council colleagues for his past bad behaviour, he promised to "fight like no one has ever seen before" in next year's civic election.
"The mayor is not given to giving in," says Gloria Lindsay Luby, a long-serving councillor from Etobicoke, a heartland of Mr. Ford's support and the area of the city he represented as a councillor.
Mr. Ford has vowed to stay on the job despite a storm of controversy over a police report that ties him to an alleged drug dealer and Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair's announcement that a video exists featuring the mayor purportedly smoking crack.
As the mayor digs in, his fellow councillors are at a loss to say what the next days and weeks will bring. "This book has never been written before," says Councillor Shelley Carroll, a Ford critic who held key posts under former mayor David Miller.
Councillors were divided Monday on how best to proceed, with some promising to soldier on with the business of the city and others arguing that the business of the city will be impeded as long as Mr. Ford remains mayor.
There is no mechanism for council to remove him from office – only he can make that call. And while Mr. Ford is just one vote out of 45 on Toronto City Council, as mayor he has the ability to set the agenda of his executive committee, thereby controlling which issues go to council through it, Ms. Carroll points out.
"Council has the clout to run the city," she says, but that does not mean it will be business as usual. "All the wheels will start grinding more slowly if he decides he doesn't want to do anything."
IN HIS OWN WORDS
"Friends, I am the first one to admit I am not perfect. I made mistakes, and all I can do right now is apologize."
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on his radio show
"Any of my executive members – obviously, I'll be talking to them today – anybody wants to go? Go. I'll be running the ship even if it's by myself."
Mr. Ford answering questions on radio