Toronto Mayor Rob Ford asked to 'reconsider' marching in Santa Claus Parade
Published Wednesday, November 13, 2013 1:18PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 13, 2013 6:25PM EST
The Santa Claus Parade board is urging Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to reconsider his decision to march in the city’s annual holiday parade, saying his participation in Sunday's event will be a "distraction."
In a letter sent to the Office of the Mayor, event co-chair Ron Barbaro said while Ford "loves the parade" and has "every right to walk ahead of the parade," he should reconsider given the amount of media scrutiny he's been under.
"With the media following the mayor in everything he does, we do not want this distraction to take away from the anticipated fun and enjoyment that children will have on parade day," the letter says.
Ford had said earlier that he will not be walking in this year's parade and would instead participate by being a spectator. But on Monday, the mayor's office announced that Ford did intend to march in the parade.
Barbaro said if Ford participates in the parade, he will take away from the "magic of Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving to usher in the holiday season."
Parade organizers are “absolutely not” picking on Ford, but “protecting the job that we have from the standpoint of safety for the children,” Barbaro said in an interview with CTV Toronto Wednesday.
Ford has been under a constant barrage of criticism after admitting last week to smoking crack cocaine about a year ago while in a "drunken stupor." The shocking admission came after Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair confirmed that his officers had recovered a video that appeared to show Ford smoking crack cocaine, as was first reported by the media in May.
Toronto's annual Santa Claus Parade kicks off at Christie Pitts on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and will run east along Bloor Street to University Avenue. The parade will continue south to Wellington Street before concluding at Front and Jarvis Streets.