Rob Ford: full text of Toronto mayor's speech
Controversial Toronto mayor discusses his time in rehab, past political record on 1st day back at City Hall
In a highly anticipated speech Monday, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford spoke about his time in rehab, apologized to the city's councillors and residents and talked up his political record. Here's the full text of Ford's speech at City Hall, as provided by his office.
I stand before you today having completed two months of intensive rehab therapy at GreenStone residential addiction facility.
For a long time I resisted the idea of getting help. Like a lot of people dealing with substance abuse, I was in complete denial. I had convinced myself that I did not have a problem.
But it soon became obvious that my alcohol and drug use was having a serious impact on my family, on my health, and on my job as Mayor.
After experiencing some of the darkest moments in my life, I decided that enough was enough. I had become my own worst enemy. I knew it was time to take action. It was time to get help. This is a decision that will change my life forever.
At GreenStone, I worked with a professional team of dedicated doctors, nurses, counsellors and trainers. I underwent hundreds of hours of intensive therapy. I now know that the staff at GreenStone saved my life.
They forced me to confront my personal demons. I learned about things like triggers and what happens when you have cravings. I learned that my addiction is really a disease, a chronic medical condition that will require treatment for the rest of my life.
And I also learned that I'm not alone.
That this disease touches many lives. It affects people from all walks of life. And we all know someone who has suffered from this terrible disease. At GreenStone, I met others, who like me, have struggled with the impacts of their substance abuse. Listening to their stories gave me strength and helped me deal with my own mistakes.
Thanks to my treatment, I can proudly say today that I have begun the process of taking back control of my life. But it is a long road to recovery. And no matter what I do, I will never be able to change the mistakes I have made.
When I look back on some of the things I have said, some of the things I did under the influence, I'm ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated. I was wrong, and I have no one to blame but myself.
I want to apologize, not just to the people of Toronto but to everyone who was hurt by my words and my actions. It was never my intention to embarrass the city or offend my fellow members of council. I deeply regret some of the personal choices I have made.
I now realize that I was blind to the dangers of some of the company I kept. And those associations have ended.
My commitment to living clean is now unwavering.
To the people of this great city, I want to offer a public apology. I used poor judgment, and I take full responsibility for my actions. At GreenStone I accepted that in my position, I am held to a higher standard.
To my family and to all those who stood by me during these extremely difficult times…thank you for giving me another chance.
To my fellow councillors, and especially to Karen Stintz, for my hurtful and degrading remarks, I offer a deep felt apology for my behaviour.
To the media, I want to thank you for giving me and the residents at GreenStone the privacy we needed. But I am not asking you for forgiveness. I accept full responsibility for what I have done.
Thankfully, we live in a civilized society. A society that realizes that people make mistakes.
That some people need help, and those who seek out that help can be given another chance. Substance abuse is a very difficult thing to overcome, but I will keep battling this disease for the rest of my life.
I will continue to receive ongoing professional treatment for my substance abuse problem. I am determined to make myself the best person I can be, for my family and for the people of Toronto. And with your support, I am also resolved to continue to work harder than ever for the taxpayers of this great City.
While I know it's just the beginning of my personal journey, my resolve as your Mayor has not changed. We've accomplished a lot together.
When I was first elected in 2010, I promised to stop the gravy train. And that's exactly what I have done.
We've moved away from the tax and spend ways of the past and changed the culture at City Hall. We have reduced the size and cost of government. And we have saved the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
The days of transit strikes and garbage strikes are now over. We've made the TTC an essential service. And we have contracted out garbage collection, saving you 80 million dollars, while improving service delivery.
I am keeping the City of Toronto accountable to you, the taxpayer.
They said I couldn't work with the unions… Well, I proved them wrong by achieving historic labour deals. Deals that are fair to the taxpayer and to our frontline workers. And most importantly, we have brought all three levels of government together to build new subways to Scarborough.
We have come a long way, and despite my personal struggles, I am extremely proud of my public record. Toronto's economy is booming, we are creating jobs, and building our City.
We have a beautiful, clean safe city that is one of the greatest places in the world to live and do business.
But there's still much more to accomplish. I plan to continue fighting for the taxpayers of Toronto. But over the coming months my top priority will be rebuilding trust with the public and my fellow members of Council.
Again, I want to thank the amazing staff at GreenStone for giving me the power to change my life. And I want to thank the people of Toronto for their understanding and continued support during this very difficult time.
I look forward to serving you for many years to come.