Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford returned from two months of rehabilitation and delivered an emotional apology to the public and to fellow city officials, though he avoided questions from reporters about his use of racial slurs.
Ford said he came to terms with his substance abuse problem after "intensive" therapy.
"Like a lot of people dealing with substance abuse I was in complete denial. I had convinced myself that I did not have a problem," he said. "But it soon became obvious that my alcohol and drug abuse was having a serious, serious impact on my family, and on my health and on my job as mayor."
"I am ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated. I was wrong and I have no one to blame but myself," he said. "I want to sincerely apologize not just to the people of Toronto but to every single person who was hurt by my words or my actions."
Ford thanked reporters for leaving him alone during his time in rehab but said he will not ask for their forgiveness.
The controversial Ford, who was thrust into the spotlight after reports that he was filmed smoking what were believed to be drugs, wasted no time Monday causing controversy before he even spoke by restricting access to his speech to only a handful of chosen reporters. Ford also said ahead of time he wouldn't be taking any questions.
That did not stop Toronto Star City Hall reporter Daniel Dale:
I asked Ford about his slurs against blacks, Jews and South Asians. He didn't respond.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) June 30, 2014
Ford has also been accused of using a racial slur toward a cab driver and avoiding events held by Toronto's ethnic communities.
The mayor's press secretary says he'll kick me out if I ask anything else. We're into campaign-speech segment of the proceedings.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) June 30, 2014
Ford had many of his budgetary powers taken away by the city council last year after he admitted to smoking crack, the Star reported at the time.
Ford is up for reelection in the fall and a poll released Friday shows him trailing candidates Olivia Chow and John Tory among likely voters, The Globe and Mail reported. Tory in particular has been calling for Ford's resignation and continued to do so following Ford's remarks.
John Tory says his position hasn't changed: Ford should resign. Said city needs answers to questions that weren't addressed today #TOpoli— Jennifer Pagliaro (@jpags) June 30, 2014
For those catching up to the story, the Star also provided an extensive primer on the Rob Ford saga in Monday's paper:
Mayor Rob Ford says he won't take any questions at this speech. Here are 75 questions he hasn't answered: http://t.co/wZTm0yRlAX— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) June 30, 2014
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