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Doug Ford defends decision to skip Pride

Coun. Doug Ford defended his decision to skip the Pride Parade and head up north with his brother, Mayor Rob Ford, and their families, but said he would be open to more participation in Pride events next year.

Ford cited heavy traffic and the insistence of his teen daughters to spend more time with them as the reasons he didn’t make it back for the festivities.

“Since Rob and I have been elected we spend very little time with the family,” he admitted.  “Even my kid said, ‘Dad when you used to travel to Chicago I used to see you more then than I do now since you’ve been in politics.’  So I think you have to take time out with your family and spend it with them.”

When asked if expectations that Mayor Rob Ford would attend at least one Pride event were reasonable, he responded, “I don’t think that was unfair at all and I think we can handle it differently next year in my opinion.”

Ford became the first Toronto mayor since 1995 to not attend the Pride parade.  His press secretary, Adrian Batra, said the mayor wouldn’t be available for comment Monday.

“Rob believes in what he says and he does what he says and that’s his style but I can’t speak on Rob’s behalf,” Doug told CityNews.

He also said Pride overshadowed Canada Day in Toronto.

“We just want to spend time with the family on Canada Day and I don’t think the same sentiment is felt with certain folks in the gay community.  But I think we should be celebrating Canada Day and it was a little bit hi-jacked over gay Pride.”

“I have no problem with the Pride Parade,” he continued.  “I was down there last year and supported it and I’ll continue to support it moving forward, but let’s not lose track of Canada Day and I think…we really lost track of it here in Toronto at least.”

He also wasn’t shy about voicing his disgust after he claims a Toronto Star reported followed the Fords to the family cottage.

“The Toronto Star came up and started to interrogate my daughter (asking) where the mayor was and where I was and we were in town in Huntsville getting food and they asked her again and wanted to know what stores we were going to to hunt us down,” he claimed.  “As far as I’m concerned they are a ruthless media organization.  The Toronto Star can come after me and Rob any time, we are free game, but leave…the rest of my family out of it.”

Counc. Adam Vaughan agreed that media shouldn’t intervene with a politicians’ family time, but said the Fords could have avoided the attention by merely attending one of the many Pride events.

“I appreciate that politicians have private lives and if they are not going to take part in a public event, that’s the end of the story.  I don’t think you need to chase them down to their dock and make sure they are sitting on their Muskoka chair having a tin of beer,” he said.  

“I think he’s got a point that when the family goes away to have some private time, that they are entitled to that and that should be respected. You have to remember though, there wouldn’t have been an issue if they had simply shown up at one of the event’s during the week.”

“The easy way to avoid it is you show up for the flag raising and everyone leaves you alone.”