Late for speech, Rob Ford says he was stuck in elevator
Published Thursday, January 23, 2014 7:01AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 23, 2014 6:44PM EST
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was more than an hour late for a speech at an Economic Club of Canada luncheon because he was stuck in a service elevator at a downtown hotel.
The speech he eventually delivered was a clear pitch for a second term as mayor, as Ford touted his record since taking office in 2010. But he made no mention of a recently released video of him rambling in a Jamaican accent at a restaurant.
Ford was scheduled to speak at 11:45 a.m. Thursday at the event held at the Hilton Hotel in Toronto, but did not appear until around 1:10 p.m.
Rhiannon Traill, the president and CEO of the Economic Club of Canada, says she was stuck in the same hotel elevator with the mayor.
A spokesperson for the Economic Club said that Ford was in the elevator, “between floors,” for 45 minutes.
Before Ford arrived, guests at the luncheon had already begun abandoning the event.
When he finally took the stage, Ford ran down his mayoral record of “keeping taxes low by reducing the costs of government.”
Ford said that as mayor he has created a “leaner and more driven (public) work force that is focused on delivering customer service excellence.”
“All of this, friends, without one day of labour disruptions,” he added.
Ford said that his decision to privatize garbage collection west of Yonge Street has saved the city $80 million, while improving customer satisfaction and reducing complaints by 20 per cent. He said privatizing garbage collection east of Yonge Street will be an election issue for voters.
“Do you want your garbage privatized throughout the city and not have any labour disruption?” he asked. “That’s up to you. Think about it.”
Ford said another election issue is public transit, saying that he fought hard to get the Scarborough subway extension approved by city council. He said during a second term he will continue to push for subways, extending the Sheppard line as well as push for a downtown relief line.
“Do you want subways, or streetcars? Or should I say fancy street cars -- LRTs (light rail transit)? That’s for you to decide.” Ford said. “I’m committing to moving forward on a vision of a fully integrated subway system for our great city … To some of you, this might sound ambitious, but I know it can be done, because they said you could not build a Scarborough subway line and I got it done.”
Ford left the event before reporters could ask him questions, including about a video that surfaced of Ford in a restaurant rambling and swearing in a Jamaican accent. Ford, who has admitted he had been drinking the evening the footage was captured, has already maintained that the video is nobody’s business.
"I was with some friends and what I do in my personal life with my personal friends … it has nothing to do with you guys," he told reporters earlier in the week.