Rob Ford: John Tory leads tributes after former mayor’s death

by | Mar 22, 2016 | News

Rob Ford

File photo of Rob Ford. (

Jeremy Appel and Aaron D’Andrea

Toronto Mayor John Tory led tributes at City Hall for former mayor Rob Ford who died of cancer at the age of 46 on Tuesday.

“On my own behalf, and on the behalf of city council, our thoughts are with his wife Renata and their two children,” a somber Tory said, surrounded by members of city council.

Tory said he met with Ford in the hospital, and although the former mayor wasn’t well, he was happy to hear that they looked forward to his return.

“He and I could be engaged in debate, and he would turn to me at a moment when somebody else was speaking in the debate and say, ‘Buddy, I’m going to knock you out cold.’ Then he would prepare and then in fact deliver the verbal blow he had,” Tory said.

“Rob Ford was true to himself and I think that is something that people do remember about him and will remember about him,” Tory said.

Reaction from around the city from Ford friends and foes poured in in the wake of his death.

“Rob was a colleague and this is devastating news for his friends, his family and certainly for those of us who knew him,” Coun. Joe Cressy told Humber News on Tuesday.

“The guy was a fighter his whole life and unfortunately he couldn’t win this final fight, and I am sorry to see him go.”

Ford was first elected as councillor for Ward 2 Etobicoke North in 2000. Cressy said that Ford’s legacy will become a popular topic in the near future.

“In the days and weeks and months ahead there will be a lot of conversation about the lasting legacy,” he said.

“Today I’m still absorbing the news right now, people have lost a family member, a mother has lost a son, some kids have lost their father and I lost a colleague.”

Toronto Sun Editor-in-Chief Adrienne Batra, a former Ford spokesperson, penned a tribute to her former boss, published in the newspaper after news of Ford’s death broke. 

“He’s been called a lot of things –  a populist, a conservative, a radical – and he was all of them in part,” Batra wrote.

“But ultimately, Ford was a political pragmatist who simply didn’t give a damn what anyone thought about him other than his constituents. It was that gumption that endeared him to hundreds of thousands of Torontonians,” she said.

Sun columnist and Ford confidant, Joe Warmington, told Humber News that the former mayor had flaws like everyone else, but he did a lot for the people and loved the city.

“He did have these issues, but he did so much for so many people and set a tone,” he said.

“He was conservative and dared to talk about saving taxpayer’s money and keeping the books balanced.”

After dropping out of the mayoral race in 2014 due to his cancer, Ford was once again elected as councillor for Ward 2.

Lawyer Ari Goldkind ran in the 2014 mayoral race and says that although they had their political differences, he still respected Ford as an individual.

“While obviously, others can write about the challenges he faced as mayor or councillor, as far as I’m concerned, today is not the day to speak about those things,” he told Humber News.

No stranger to controversy himself, former media baron Conrad Black offered his condolences to the Fords.

“Those who knew him will remember him (not only) as a loyal and lively friend who had his faults and paid for them, but as a man of great human qualities,” Black wrote on his website.

Tory said the Toronto sign outside City Hall will be lit with the Belgian colours in response to the terrorist attack in Brussels Tuesday, and will be dimmed in memory of Ford.

Flags at City Hall, Metro Hall and Toronto civic centres have been lowered to half mast. They will remain that way until a funeral is held.

With files from Tyler Bloomfield

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