Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was booed by at least one person at a Remembrance Day ceremony in the city Monday morning.
Ford's speech at the Old City Hall cenotaph was his first public address since admitting to smoking crack cocaine last week.
While the mayor received some applause before his remarks, Globe and Mail reporter Jill Mahoney reported a boo erupted as he took the stage wearing the official chain of office.
CBC reporter Jamie Strashin also said on Twitter the mayor was greeted with "a few boos and mild applause."
Mayor Ford addresses Remembrance Day Service at Old City Hall. He is greeted with a few boos and mild applause. pic.twitter.com/cnLWCQ5Yfp— Jamie Strashin (@StrashinCBC) November 11, 2013
The mayor spoke of the need to remember and honour those who fought for our freedom and paid the ultimate sacrifice. His official Twitter account posted an image from the event.
"Those who did not return are owed a debt that can never, ever be repaid," he said. "Today we remember those who have served Canada so valiantly in times of need."
Ford's participation was controversial in light of the scandal that has engulfed Canada's largest city and calls from many Torontonians that he step down or take a leave of absence.
Several councillors called on Ford to skip the ceremony — an opinion shared by Globe columnist Marcus Gee.
"How can he presume to stand beside those veterans in medals and berets? How can he dare to speak about sacrifice and honour?" wrote Gee on Monday in advance of the ceremony.
A tweet from Elizabeth Church, Toronto City Hall bureau chief for The Globe, suggests one veteran from the Second World War wasn't happy to see Ford on Monday.
“I put my life on the line, that son-of-a bitch was boozing + cracking. ” WWII codebreaker Ronald Hill, 91, says of Mayor Ford. #topoli— Elizabeth Church (@lizchurchto) November 11, 2013
After the mayor laid a wreath at the foot of the cenotaph he walked past a row of veterans and at least one refused to shake his hand.
Tony Smith, who was stationed in Germany after the Second World War, says he wouldn't shake Ford's hand because he says the mayor is "a druggie."
Smith, 80, says he doesn't agree with drugs and Ford shouldn't have attended the ceremony with a crack cocaine admission hanging over his head.
"I didn't shake his hand because he's a drug addict, a druggie,'' Smith said. "He's No. 1 man in the city and he's smoking up and boozing it up. I don't mind people having a drink. I certainly don't agree with drugs."
But Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly argued Ford's presence was appropriate.
"My dad was in the Air Force in the Second World War and he taught me that when you salute, you salute the office not the man," Kelly told The Toronto Sun. "So I think it is important for the mayor of the City of Toronto, for that office, to be present at that time."
What do you think? Should Ford have skipped the ceremony in light of everything that has happened? Tell us in the comments.
With files from The Canadian Press
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