Defiant Rob Ford attacks council on drinking, tax hikes
Toronto mayor formally addresses media for 1st time since Steak Queen video posted online
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford called his alcohol-fuelled, late-night appearance at a steakhouse a "minor setback" in his personal life, before attacking city councillors who criticized him and who voted for tax hikes.
"Monday was unfortunate. I had a minor setback. We all experience these difficult bumps in life," he said at the start of his first formal address since the video appeared on Tuesday.
Ford had promised never to drink again in November, after revelations he used crack cocaine and was in "drunken stupors" while in office. On Tuesday, he admitted to drinking on Monday night. He called his drinking "completely a private matter" before rebuking his colleagues on council for criticizing him for his apparent relapse.
"There are some councillors who claim that my personal life is somehow impacting their work. Folks, that is absolute nonsense," he continued.
He then pounced on members of the executive committee, who met Wednesday to discuss the budget.
"There are some councillors who want to distract from the fact they want to hike taxes in 2014. I’m opposed to that 100 per cent as you saw today."
Ford is mainly upset about a proposed 3.21 per cent property tax hike.
"This is almost double — double — the 1.75 [per cent] that we agreed on a year ago, including the 10 per cent land transfer tax reduction, including 0.5 per cent for the subway," he said.
The mayor said city council continues to "spend, spend, spend," and "tax, tax, tax," since he was stripped of many of his powers by a council vote.
Ford allowed for questions at the end of his brief remarks, but said he would only answer questions regarding the budget and not personal matters.
The first question was whether the mayor was on drugs on Monday. He thanked the media and abruptly left the podium.