Coun. Doug Ford says he’s sorry if he offended anyone by handing out cash to people living in a Toronto Community Housing building last night, promising to switch to Tim Hortons gift cards in future.
The mayor’s brother arrived at the building on Wednesday bearing gifts for children and money for their parents — astounding fellow councillors who characterized it as vote buying.
"Here you go," said Ford as he handed out $20 bills in the lobby of the Tanridge Toronto Community Housing complex, near Albion Road and Elmhurst Drive.
"Words fail," said Coun. Gord Perks on Twitter. "What have we become?"
"This is how rich people buy votes," said Coun. Joe Mihevc on his Twitter account
Residents were clearly elated. "I'm glad to see that Doug Ford can put all that behind him tonight," said one resident of the apartment about the seemingly never-ending controversy that follows the Ford brothers.
Ford later defended giving out the money to a newspaper reporter, saying it was no different to handing out gift cards to businesses like Tim Hortons.
But late Thursday afternoon, Ford told CBC News that he understood why some people might have been offended to see him handing out cash. He said he would've handed out the coffee chains gift cards, but only had about $200 in cash on him at the time of the holiday visit. He estimates he handed out all $200.
"If I offended anyone, I apologize. I’m just trying to do some good for people," he said.
After Ford visited the apartment building, he then went to his mother's house for the Ford family's holiday party — to which councillors and the media were invited — where he joined his brother, Mayor Rob Ford and Coun. Gary Crawford, among others.
Earlier this week, Doug Ford waded into a similar controversy with his plan to donate $50,000 of his own money to revitalize 10 parks around the city.