Mayor Rob Ford, councillors host New Year's levee
Both friends, foes of mayor line up to shake hands, take pictures
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and members of council kept things civil at Wednesday's New Year's levee, though the two-hour event wasn't entirely free of from politics.
Hundreds lined up for up to an hour to shake hands with Ford and a handful of councillors, including Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly and councillors Karen Stintz and Doug Ford.
With reporters kept away from council members by a rope partition, constituents lined up to shake hands and take pictures with council members. They received a free City of Toronto pin on their way in and free refreshments on their way out.
A few came wearing "Ford Nation" shirts. Among them was Kevin Mader of Etobioke who said he came to shake hands with "the best mayor we've ever had and support him in his next campaign."
Indeed 2014 is an election year and Ford, despite a scandal-filled 2013, has vowed to seek re-election.
Retired teacher Mary Haynes lined up for an hour to tell Ford he's "a terrible mayor."
"People need to hear that he doesn't have the support he think he does," she said.
Tomorrow is the first day nominations are open for the municipal election, which is set for Oct. 27.
Stintz, one of the first to declare her intention to challenge Ford, left the enclosure to criticize the mayor's performance during last week's devastating ice storm, which left thousands without power over the Christmas holiday.
"During the week of the ice storm we didn't benefit from having a strong mayor and we should have," she said.
In November council moved to strip Ford of many of his powers. Ford still had the power to declare an emergency, but that would have given emergency powers to Kelly. Ford spent the first few days of the storm fielding questions about whether or not he would declare a state of emergency.