Two years in, Mayor Rob Ford defiant, proud of accomplishments
Published Thursday, October 25, 2012 7:07PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 25, 2012 8:18PM EDT
Two years after he swept into office with a promise to “stop the gravy train,” Mayor Rob Ford is dismissing his critics and the controversies that have dogged him.
“It feels great. I can’t wait until the next campaign,” Ford told reporters at a football field on Thursday, where he was coaching the Don Bosco high school team.
Ford’s dedication to high school football has been a source of tension between the mayor and a number of councillors, who say he should be spending more time at city hall.
But Ford was unapologetic.
“I’m saving kids’ lives,” he said Thursday.
He also touted his achievements since taking office, including a four-year labour deal with municipal unions, outsourcing garbage collection, getting rid of the vehicle registry tax and freezing property taxes.
“We’ve had no labour disruption for four years, which a lot of people said is impossible to do,” Ford said. “I did it.”
“There’s no more strikes in the city. Everyone is happy.”
Ford said his biggest disappointment is “probably” the opposition to his plan to build more subways.
But, “we’re going to get subways one way or another,” he said, noting that the issue was raised again this week during TTC discussions about a possible downtown subway relief line.
Ford conceded that he’s “made some mistakes,” such as getting caught talking on his cellphone and reading while driving.
“I’m not perfect and I don’t think any councillors are,” he said. “I know for a fact every councillor has driven on their cell phone, I know for a fact every councillor has read (while driving). I was the one that got caught.”
Ford wouldn’t comment Thursday on the integrity commissioner’s finding that he and his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, violated the council’s code of conduct by making disparaging remarks about the city’s medical officer of health on a radio talk show.
Ford also denied city ombudsman Fiona Crean’s revelation that his office had prepared lists of preferred candidates for various appointments, such as seats on the port authority and the library and police services boards.
“There were no lists,” he said without elaborating.
He said Toronto has too many watchdogs who are “tripping over themselves…trying to look busy.”
Ford’s critics didn’t hold back when asked to grade the mayor’s performance so far.
“He spends a little too much time on the high school football field,” Coun. Josh Matlow told CTV Toronto.
Another councillor, Shelley Carroll, said council is still “looking at chaos” since Ford was elected, especially when it comes to transit headaches.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Zuraidah Alman