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Rob Ford's Return: Candidates still believe Ford unfit for office

With Rob Ford’s return from rehab on Monday, mayoral candidates John Tory, Olivia Chow and Karen Stintz were back on the campaign trail raising questions over his ability to lead the city.

Ford, who was in rehab for substance abuse for the past two months, spoke Monday following his return to city hall and reaffirmed his ability to be mayor despite his substance abuse problems.

Tory said Ford’s actions have “massively embarrassed” the city and, citing Ford’s lapses in behaviour as well as allegations that he used his public office to benefit his family business, he reiterated his call for Ford to step down.

“Months ago, I called for Mr. Ford to resign,” said Tory. “He may choose to run again. But for the good of the city he should step down as mayor without delay.”

Tory said he was sympathetic to the emotions Ford showed during his statement to the media but said that it doesn’t change anything and that the “risk is too high” that Ford won’t be able to work with members of council and other levels of government again.

“I join with people across Toronto in hoping that Rob Ford has real success in the difficult road to recovery,” Tory said in a statement. “However, Mr. Ford has repeatedly broken faith with the citizens of Toronto.”

He added that Ford’s refusal to answer questions from the media following his statement is “further indication that he doesn’t get it yet.”

Chow said that while Ford seemed sincere, it does not take away from his failures during his tenure as mayor.

“The question is not whether Rob Ford is clean and sober. The issue is that he is a failed mayor,” she stated.

On Monday, Olivia Chow released a new campaign video titled Rob Ford’s billion dollar lie.

Watch the ad below:

Chow also noted that although he gave several apologies during his remarks, including one to fellow mayoral candidate Karen Stintz, Ford did not apologize to the city’s diverse communities, including the LGBTQ community, for his homophobic comments in the past.

Although she did not call for his resignation, Chow said that the people of Toronto elected Ford and it would be up to them to “issue a verdict on his failed policies.”

In his first public address since returning from rehab, Ford publicly apologized for remarks he made about the former TTC chair.

“To my fellow councillors, and especially to Karen Stintz, for my hurtful and degrading remarks, I offer a deep felt apology for my behaviour,” Ford said.

In April an audio recording obtained by the Toronto Sun contained comments allegedly made by Ford at an Etobicoke bar directed at Stintz and his wife.

Following the public apology Stintz released a statement saying it was a private matter.

“If the mayor wants to apologize to me, he’s got my number and he can call. It’s a private matter for him to discuss with me directly,” she said in a statement. “”Mayor Ford has a lot more to apologize to the public for. I’d rather he apologize to the City of Toronto for years of dereliction of duty, abject failure to trim the budget, zero leadership on transit, and years of offensive antics, bigotry, and racism.”

Earlier Monday Stintz said that the city is not defined by one man’s actions.

“Toronto is a world-class city, and our city is not defined by one person,” she said in the statement. “Rob Ford is not Toronto and the upcoming election is not a referendum on Rob Ford.”

She then went on to say that it is the issues that matter to citizens.

“We need a mayor who is fiscally responsible, takes care of our neighbourhoods, and tackles congestion. I will do that.”