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Mayor Ford in Chicago: Toronto is open for business

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, right, makes a few remarks as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel listens, before the pair signed a new "sister cities" agreement Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, in Chicago.

Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he is "pumped up" about his business mission Chicago. "We're exchanging business cards, we're talking about business, we're talking about jobs," he told reporters after meeting Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Things are going fantastic. I'm really pumped up."

He said is busy spreading the message that Toronto is open for business.

"I am very happy to be here to share Toronto's story with Chicago businesses," he said in remarks before signing a city-to-city partnership agreement with Mr. Emanuel and posing for photographs.

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Before a lunch talk by David Jacobson, U.S. ambassador to Canada, Mr. Emanuel introduced Mr. Ford as "my new friend, Mayor Ford."

Mr. Ford appeared at Chicago's vast Merchandise Mart building earlier in the day for a breakfast and panel talk about the economic strengths of the two cities.

He shook hands and handed out business cards, but left in the midst of the talk after staying at the event for about an hour. Staff said he had to leave to prepare for his meeting with Mr. Emanuel.

Later Wednesday, Mr. Ford will take a boat tour of the Chicago waterfront and go to a dinner and tour at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox.

"We're going to tour down the harbour and see all the beautiful architecture," he said.

Mr. Ford promised  the Chicago trip would not cost taxpayers "one red cent."

"I don't believe we should bring down 200 people and put it on the backs of taxpayers," he told Newstalk1010 radio.  (In fact, the Toronto delegation numbers less than 80.)

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But city staff in the mayor's entourage are having their costs covered. It's unclear whether the eight city councillors on the trip are paying their own way. Councillors Jaye Robinson and Michelle Berardinetti said they were sharing a hotel room to save money but didn't believe they should have to pay from their own pockets.

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About the Author
Toronto columnist

Marcus Gee is Toronto columnist for the Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper.Born in Toronto, he graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1979 with a degree in modern European history, then worked as a reporter for The Province, Vancouver's morning newspaper. More

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