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Mayor Ford admits 'mistakes' but won't leave office

Mayor Rob Ford arrives to host his weekly radio show in Toronto on Nov. 3, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford acknowledged Sunday that he has made mistakes in his life but left unanswered questions about the alleged crack video that has propelled him into the international spotlight.

“I’m the first one to admit I am not perfect, I have made mistakes,” Ford told his weekly radio show.

“Unfortunately, I cannot change the past. I can just move forward and learn from the past, which, I assure you, I’m doing.”

Ford apologized to his family, members of city council and Toronto taxpayers. He said he was referring to being inebriated in public during Taste of the Danforth in the summer and St. Patrick’s Day last year and texting while driving.

“A lot of stupid things. It’s all self-inflicted,” he said while promising he would make changes.

“I also know that to move forward I have to make changes in my life, which I will assure you I can do,” he said. “I want to keep working for the people of this city.”

Ford didn’t talk about the contents of the video that police say appears to be the one that two media outlets say allegedly appears to show him smoking crack cocaine. He said he hasn’t seen the video so it’s impossible to explain its contents.

”Obviously when the video is released, I’m going to explain to the best of my ability what’s in the video,” said Ford, who called on police chief Bill Blair to release the video so everyone can see it.

“Whatever this video shows, folks, Toronto residents deserve to see and people need to judge for themselves what they see on this video,” Ford said.

“That is the right thing to do and chief, I’m asking you to release this video now.”

Blair said Thursday that the video will be evidence in the case against a friend and sometimes driver for the mayor Alexander Lisi who faces criminal offences including trafficking marijuana. Police allege Lisi, 35, tried to get his hands on the video and charged him with extortion.

The mayor also spoke to KiSS 92.5’s Maurie Sherman who asked Ford what was in the envelope that Lisi put in his car and he said, “No comment.” Click here to listen to the full interview.

Toronto police said Sunday that it is up to the courts to decide whether evidence is released to the general public.

After reports of the alleged video first surfaced in the Toronto Star and the U.S. website Gawker in May, the mayor said he does not use crack cocaine and that the video does not exist.

He steadfastly refused to talk about the issue for months, but Blair’s stunning announcement on Thursday that police had what appeared to be the video triggered a torrent of calls for Ford to either resign or address the issue.

Ford met privately Saturday with deputy mayor Norm Kelly who relayed concerns from city councillors about the fallout from the police revelations.

Kelly appealed on Sunday for everyone, including Ford’s critics on city council, to give the mayor a second chance.

“I would urge my colleagues to do that, to show that this is more than just rhetoric… that in fact he has learned his lesson,” Kelly told to The Canadian Press in a phone interview after the radio show.

Kelly said Ford addressed a number of the concerns councillors asked him to pass on to the mayor on Saturday, including acknowledging the impact of some of his actions and promising to get a full-time chauffeur to drive him.

The video saga earned Ford international headlines, with countless foreign media devoting space on their websites to the story.

With files from CityNews.ca staff