Mayor Rob Ford is playing defence again for putting football ahead of city hall business.
Ford missed about two and a half hours of Thursday’s council meeting to attend a football game of the high school team he coaches.
When asked why he left, Ford said he needed to be there for the crucial game.
“It was a semifinal football game," said Ford. "It's the playoffs, we’re undefeated, we're No. 2 in the city. We’re in the championship game.”
Ford missed much of council's debate about whether to finalize an $8.4-billion transit deal with the province to build four light rail lines in Toronto. Council voted 30 to 11 in favour of ratifying the master agreement with the province, taking the light rail issue off the city hall's agenda.
Coun. Josh Matlow was livid about the mayor's absence and said Ford should have been in council chambers.
“This is about the mayor of Toronto … showing up for council that he ostensibly leads,” said Matlow.
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'He has a mind of his own'
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, who has advised Ford against skipping council meetings for football, was at a loss to explain.
“He has a mind of his own as you know," said Holyday. "I don’t control anybody here, sometimes people like my thoughts and sometimes they don’t.”
Yesterday's game ended in a near brawl after the coach of the opposing team began to argue with the on-field officials.
After the game, Ford's Don Bosco team was taken from the field by a TTC bus.
The mayor said the situation would have been much worse had he not attended the game.
“If I wasn’t there it could have gotten really ugly," said Ford. "You should talk to the school board and police. I controlled my team. Very few people can control these kids, they listen to me."
Ford also said he won't stop coaching.
“I’ve said this from day one. I made a commitment. I’ve done it for 20 years and I’m not changing.”
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