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Transcript: Rob Ford’s Post-Rehab Speech

At a press conference today, Rob Ford discussed addiction, shame, and stopping the gravy train.


Today, Mayor Rob Ford officially returned to work after his nearly two-month stint in rehab—and delivered a statement to the media before leaving without taking questions. Here is the full text of his remarks:

Good afternoon everyone,

I stand before you today having completed two months of intensive rehab therapy at GreeneStone Residential Addiction Facility. For a long, 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, serious impact on my family, and 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—professional help. This is a decision that will change my life forever. At GreeneStone I worked with a professional team of dedicated doctors, nurses, counsellors and the best trainer anyone could ask for. I underwent hundreds of hours of intensive therapy.

I now know … I now know that the staff of GreeneStone changed my life. They forced me to confront my personal demons. I learned about things like triggers, and what happens when you have uncontrollable cravings. I learned that my addiction is really a disease, a chronic medical condition that will require treatment for the rest of my life.

I also learned that I’m not alone fighting this chronical [sic] medical condition. I personally saw 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 GreeneStone, I met others who like me, have struggled with the impacts of their abuse for years. Listening to their stories gave me the strength and helped me deal with my own mistakes.

Thanks to my treatment I can proudly saw today that I have begun the process of taking control of my life. But folks, this is a long, long road to recovery, and no matter what I do, no matter what I do, I will never be able to change the mistakes that I have made in the past.

When I look back on some of the things I have said, and some of the things I did when I was using, I am ashamed, embarrassed, and humiliated. I was wrong and I have no one but no one to blame but myself. I want to sincerely, sincerely apologize, not just to the people of Toronto, but every single person who was hurt by my words and my actions. It was never, never my intention to embarrass the city, or offend my fellow members of council. I deeply, I deeply regret some of the personal choices I have made in the past.

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 judgement, and I take full responsibility for my actions. At GreeneStone, 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, I want to 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. I want to thank the media for giving me and the residents at GreeneStone the privacy we needed.

But I am not, I am not asking you for forgiveness. I accept full responsibility for what I have done. Thankfully, thankfully, we live in a civilized society, a society that realizes that people do make mistakes, and that some people need help, and those who seek that help can be given another chance. Substance abuse is a very, very difficult thing to overcome. But I will keep, 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, I am absolutely determined, to make myself the best person I can be for my family, for the people of Toronto. And with your support, I’m 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—and friends, it’s a long journey—my resolve as your mayor has not changed. We have accomplished a lot together. When I was first elected in 2010, I promised to stop the gravy train, and that’s exactly what I’ve 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 save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

We’ve made the TTC an essential service, and we have contracted out garbage, saving you $80 million while improving service delivery. I am keeping Toronto accountable to you, the hardworking everyday taxpayer. Many said I could not work with the unions. Well folks, I proved them wrong by achieving historic labour deals, deals that are fair to the taxpayer, and fair to our frontline workers. And most importantly, we brought all three levels of government together to build new subways for the fantastic people of Scarborough.

We have come a long way. We have come a long way despite my personal struggles, and I’m 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 is still much, much more to accomplish.

I plan to continue fighting for the taxpayers of Toronto every single day. But over the coming months, friends, my top priority will be rebuilding trust with the public and my fellow members of council. Again, again I sincerely want to thank the amazing staff at GreeneStone 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, very difficult time. I look forward to serving you for many, many more years. Thank you very much.


  • HotDang

    Well that clears all that up. I’d vote for him.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      Me too. I don’t know how I could’ve been so wrong about him.


    • wklis

      Why? Only name you might recognize on the ballot?

      • terry the censor

        You are missing the sarcasm of the previous comments.

  • Eric S. Smith

    I was kind of hoping that his speech would go in the “I now understand that I must step away from public life to fully commit to my recovery…” direction, since that would probably have been best for him. But nope—personal journey, regret about “the past,” and campaigning. The spiral will continue.

    So, does he flip out and bite someone between now and election day, which is basically the only way he can get more ludicrous, or does he crash and burn in a way that’s not even darkly humorous?

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      I’m not sure that’ll happen. Ford is an immense screw-up who’s never been called on his shortcomings, but he can stay focused long to make himself a force in this election. I don’t see any way he can win but he’s going to stick it and cause Tory a lot of trouble — I think this is what is driving him now.

      • dsmithhfx

        Rob wants Chow for our next mayor.

        • bobloblawbloblawblah

          Yes. I think there’s a fair bit of anger from Ford towards all the Conservatives who have abandoned him. Like an angry schoolboy he’s going to do his best to throw the election to Chow if he can’t be the one who gets to wear that fancy chain around his neck. It’s till all about Robby. Nothing new there.

    • OgtheDim

      Suarez has apologised.

  • Cameron Campbell

    This is a campaign speech. From the City Hall. Nice to see he’s got that ethics thing clear in his head now.

  • Sally Snyder

    Rob Ford has repeatedly stated that he is frustrated with the “rich elites” of Toronto. To put things into perspective, here is a look at the Ford family business:

    He’s not ‘one of us’.

    • mytwocentsworth

      I think he’s a wannabe one-of-us, although I doubt he’d want my bank account.

  • Bumbaclot

    Not to toot my own horn, folks, but that was a GREAT friggin speech! First I wiped the slate clean with the “sorry sorry sorry” part, then reminded everyone what a awesome job I done stopping the gravy train. Plus got to show off my new size 44 pants.

    Chow and Tory and them better keep their heads up because Rob Ford is back!

    • Don River

      Your mouth must have been dry when you finished Mr. Mayor. How many did you have when you got home to the man-cave?

      • Bumbaclot

        A couple a cops. Stayed in the basement though, per Dougie’s advice. Wouldn’t want any photos or videos gettin’ leaked to the media maggots.

  • dannyR

    If we can thank Rob’s Greed-Stoned personal trainer for a semblance of honesty in one thing it’s this:

    The word “billions’ does not once creep into his deft little segue to a campaign style credit-grabbing routine.

    Now, since we have the transcript above for all time, would Ford Nation shiIIs finally leave the b-word lie out of the Kool-Aid they expect everyone else to drink?

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      It really is a shame he couldn’t just leave the boilerplate stump speech out of it, even if he didn’t repeat his fantasy about saving a billion bucks. Nothing says “i haven’t changed in the least bit” than by his launching into the usual campaign speech. Pathetic, really.

      • dannyR

        It was almost worth his self-plug to hear him nail it. It’s now got the force of a signed affidavit:

        I have not saved Toronto a billion. I’ve honestly looked myself in the mirror and seen that it was all self-lying and lying to everyone else.

  • Don River

    He offers a deep-felt apology to Stintz? Sounds kinky.

  • Micko

    Ford got reelected yesterday. Live with it.

    • Don River

      He’s Adam Vaughan in disguise? I did not know that.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Shhh. The adults are talking.

  • Kevin Harvie

    Addiction and illness is real, and for his family’s sake, I DO hope he’s on the road to recovery…

    Having said that…Rob Ford has done and said too much, which has NOTHING to do with the influence of drugs and alcohol, that is unforgivable. Has he saved money? Sure, but at the expense of Torontonians. The Gardiner is a MESS. Transit might be essential, but it’s a daily MESS. Programs that rely on the city have been choked out of existence. He’s a racist, crass homophobic hick that doesn’t deserve to be the representative of this World Class City.

    If you vote for Rob Ford, I know ALL I need to know about you…and UNFRIEND me.

  • christinaarcher

    What gravy train? What gravy train? How has he halted it? Proof, you lying druggie. Proof.

  • JanMac

    “For a long, long time, … I was in complete denial. … alcohol and drug use was having a serious, serious impact … on my job as mayor.” “I had become my own worst enemy.”

    We know this rofaux. You’re the only bimbo who didn’t. Tell us something we want to hear. We don’t care about your dark moments, your pain, your triggers, your cravings or your revelations. OK, you’ve finally seen the light. What does that mean to us? We care about the pain you caused us and we want to know what you’re going to do about it. RESIGN OR ANSWER QUESTIONS!!!