Rob Ford is back from rehab; he has resumed his mayoral duties; and he’s running for re-election.
At a Monday news conference, Ford offered an apology to the city of Toronto, and described his two months of intensive therapy:
“I want to sincerely, sincerely apologize not just to the people of Toronto, but every single person who was hurt by my words and my actions,” the mayor said on his first day back. “It was never my intention to embarrass the city or offend my fellow members of council. I deeply regret some of the personal choices I have made in the past.”
Ford’s return to office follows a year of disturbing comments and actions that included alcohol abuse, making inappropriate comments, and smoking crack cocaine. In April, the mayor said that he would seek help for his addiction problems and entered into treatment.
At Monday’s news conference, the mayor said he underwent hundreds of hours of intensive therapy at GreenStone Residential Addiction Facility in Ontario, which helped him realize that as a public official, he is “held to a higher standard.”
“I now realize that I was blind to the dangers of some of the company I kept and those associations have ended,” Ford said.
“When I look back at some of the things that I have said, some of the things that I did when I was a user, I am ashamed, embarrassed, and humiliated,” said Ford. “I was wrong, and I have no one, no one to blame but myself.”
Choking up multiple times throughout the press conference, the mayor also thanked his supporters, the city of Toronto, and members of the media for allowing him his privacy. He also apologized directly to Karen Stintz, a Toronto city councillor who Ford made offensive statements about in an audio recording that surfaced in April.
“I accept full responsibility for what I have done,” Ford said. “Thankfully, we live in a civilized society, a society that realizes that people do make mistakes. And that some people need help. And those who seek that help can be given another chance.”
Ford did not allow for any questions from the media, and invited only certain members of the press, excluding all members of the city hall press gallery. Amin Massoudi, Ford’s communications director, said that the decision was due to “a restricted amount of space available in the office.”
Meanwhile, Ford plans to amp up his reelection campaign with the help of his brother and campaign manager, Doug Ford, who told CBC news that after undergoing 450 hours of counseling and therapy, the mayor is “a new Rob Ford.”
“It was unacceptable. It was totally unacceptable,” Doug Ford said about his brother’s behavior. ”He realizes it.”
“People are willing to give second chances,” the city councillor said.
Despite his stint in rehab, Ford has refused to throw in the towel for re-election. However, he only has four months left in his term as he faces re-election this October against two challengers: businessman John Tory and former Parliament member Olivia Chow.