NOW Magazine and other outlets were prohibited from attending Rob Ford's speech Monday, and had to watch on the teevee.
Rob Ford's invitation-only, post-rehab speech at City Hall on Monday was intended to push the reset button on his political career, to prove to the public that he's spent the past two months staring deep within himself and come out the other side a changed man.
Instead, what we got was a slightly thinner, slightly more emotional version of the person who has been abusing the city's highest office for the past four years.
What started out as a possibly sincere but much too vague apology morphed into familiar Fordian sloganeering, complete with references to the "gravy train" and millions of taxpayer dollars saved.
Unsurprisingly, the confession-turned-stump speech isn't getting great reviews. Here's what his rivals and colleagues had to say about the supposedly new-and-improved Rob Ford:
"His 'redemption song' was written by his political strategists rather than by his personal counsellor who's working on his addiction issues. This is about really getting the mayor back in the swing of the election, and frankly I don't think Torontonians will buy it. Torontonians are tired of the divisiveness and the polarization that he represents and are looking past the addition issues.
This is not about addiction, this is about leadership for the city and whether you want a man with that weak a skill set to be leading this city and embarrassing us all over again for another four years. What I'm hearing from residents is people are saying 'no thanks.' "
- Councillor Joe Mihevc
"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.
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."
- Councillor and mayoral candidate Karen Stintz, to whom Ford publicly apologized for lewd sexual comments he made about her.
"I note that Rob Ford has not apologized to the diverse community, to the ethnic and visible minorities and the LGBTQ community. The question is not whether Rob Ford is clean and sober, the issue is that he is a failed mayor."
- Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow
"I think that his refusal to answer questions today is further indication that he doesn't get it as yet. There are so many questions that are unanswered from the media, from the police, and I think from the public. And I think we need answers to those questions before we really know what has happened in the last number of months and what is going to happen going forward. So we'll have to see whether those questions are ever answered but certainly there was no start on that today."
- Mayoral candidate John Tory
"I thought it was a speech in two parts. I liked the first part and thought it was unfortunate that he turned it into a campaign speech. Frankly regardless of the drugs and the alcohol, I think he was a disaster as a mayor."
- Councillor John Filion