Mayoral candidates square off during the City TV mayoral debate that took place in Toronto on March 26 with Karen Stintz, John Tory, Olivia Chow, David Soknacki and Mayor Rob Ford.
TORONTO — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford offered an emotional public apology at a press conference Monday afternoon, after returning to work at City Hall following a two-month stint in rehab.
"I want to sincerely apologize not just to the people of Toronto, but every single person who was hurt by my words and my actions," Ford said at the conference. "I am not asking you for forgiveness. I accept full responsibility for what I have done."
"I have no one to blame but myself."
Ford, who spoke behind a City of Toronto podium in his office, added that he is "ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated" of the things he said when he was "using."
On April 30, Ford confirmed that he was taking a temporary leave from his job and the mayoral election campaign, after the emergence of new videos that seemed to show him smoking crack cocaine. Rumors of a video that showed Ford smoking crack emerged in May 2013, and he later admitted in November 2013 that he used crack cocaine while in office.
The embattled mayor has been undergoing treatment at GreeneStone Clinic, a Muskoka, Ontario rehab facility, since May.
At the press conference, which began at 3:30 p.m. ET, Ford talked extensively about his addiction and the positive impact of his rehab treatment. "Thanks to my treatment, I can proudly say today that I have begun the process of taking control of my life," he said. "I learned that my addiction is really a disease."
"Substance abuse is a very, very difficult thing to overcome. But I will keep battling this disease for the rest of my life."
Ford, who occasionally choked up throughout the 20-minute press conference, credited the staff at GreeneStone for saving his life. The mayor said he underwent "hundreds of hours" of intensive therapy, and worked with a professional team of doctors, nurses and counselors. "They forced me to confront my personal demons," he added.
In November 2013, Ford offered a public apology for smoking crack while in office, but denied that he was an addict.
At one point during Monday's press conference, the mayor's apology transitioned into what sounded like a campaign speech. "With your support, I'm also resolved to continue to work harder than ever for the taypayers of this great city," he said. "When I was first elected in 2010, I promised to stop the gravy train — and that's exactly what I have done."
The mayor also made his often-repeated claim that he has saved taxpayers "hundreds of millions of dollars."
Ford is seeking re-election in Toronto's mayoral race on Oct. 27.
Tags: ROB FORD, TORONTO, US & World, WORLD