Just one month into Mayor John Tory's term, former mayor Rob Ford is already slamming his performance, telling reporters "that's not the way I would run the city."
Mr. Ford – who just completed his fifth round of chemotherapy for a rare form of cancer – made an unusual appearance at a police graduation ceremony in Etobicoke Thursday where Mr. Tory was a guest speaker. Afterward, the councillor delivered his assessment of the new mayor's work on files including garbage collection and the island airport, saying, "Some things he's done alright. Some things – ridiculous."
Mr. Ford's sudden hospitalization forced him to drop out of the mayoral race against Mr. Tory last year. Since then, his brother Doug Ford has referred to the unusual situation of having a former mayor sitting alongside a current mayor as a "dual mayor situation" – a comment Mr. Tory has brushed off.
"I wish John Tory the best of luck. Maybe he has a different way of running the city. I just don't like some of the stuff he's doing already," Mr. Ford told reporters.
"Look at the garbage. Garbage, he should've nailed that," he said, a reference to Mr. Tory's campaign promise to privatize garbage collection east of Yonge Street. Earlier this week, Mr. Tory appeared to distance himself from that same promise, saying that he would like to have more information before making a final decision.
"This is how you do it: Dot the i's and cross the t's. I just don't know," Mr. Ford said. "He's making up all these excuses. That's not the way I would run the city."
The former mayor also criticized the fact that Mr. Tory only announced after he was elected that he would not participate in island airport debates because of his son's job as CEO of an airline company.
"The airport – he didn't tell anyone he had a conflict. That was just game-playing," Mr. Ford said.
He also slammed Mr. Tory on his recent rush-hour towing blitz. Both the former and current mayors made traffic management and congestion top priorities when they were running against each other in the election.
"Going out, taking all the cars off the road – we've been doing that for years," Mr. Ford said. "That's something that's been done for years."
Mr. Tory's spokeswoman, Amanda Galbraith, responded to Mr. Ford's comments with an e-mailed statement.
"Councillor Ford is welcome to his opinions," she said. "Mayor Tory is focused on cutting traffic and congestion so we can get this city moving and ensuring the people of Toronto get the best possible service for the least possible cost."
Despite his comments, the outspoken Etobicoke councillor said his primary focus is on his health, and not on Mr. Tory. In the coming days, he said he will be undergoing "27 or 28 days of consecutive radiation." After that, his doctors will make an assessment on whether surgery is an option.
"I've got to get better, and then let me get into the ring," Mr. Ford said. "When I'm in good form. But I'm not in good form right now."
The event, which celebrated the graduation of 88 new recruits into the force, was also attended by Chief Bill Blair and police board chair Alok Mukherjee. But unlike the other guests, Mr. Ford did not give a speech. Mr. Ford's appearance was also unusual in that as recently as last month, Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said that a police investigation targeting Mr. Ford is still "ongoing."
Earlier this week, Chief Blair said he had suspended the controversial policy of carding, which enables police to collect information from people in an internal database – a policy that has been criticized as disproportionately targeting racial minorities.
Mr. Tory, Mr. Mukherjee and Chief Blair all made references in their speeches to the importance of respect from officers when dealing with Toronto's diverse communities. In his speech, Chief Blair told the new officers "we must all be constantly vigilant against the influence of bias," adding that "public trust is essential to our mission."