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Rob Ford owes council an apology, says city integrity commissioner

03/26/2015 11:14 EDT | Updated 05/26/2015 05:59 EDT
Former mayor Rob Ford owes a "sincere, specific and public apology" to city council for his use of racial epithets and mocking another person's language, says Toronto's integrity commissioner Valerie Jepson.

Jepson released a report on Thursday outlining a St. Patrick's Day incident at City Hall in 2012 in which the then-mayor used "offensive racially abusive words" toward another person. She wrote in her report that Ford does not deny that he made the statements, and therefore she takes the details of the incident as fact.

"I find that Mr. Ford's conduct clearly fell below the standards expected of him and were contrary to the Code of Conduct," wrote Jepson. "Considering the position he held at the time, his actions were egregious and wholly unbecoming of the Office of the Mayor."

She quotes Ford as saying: "Nobody sticks up for people like I do, every f—ing k—e, n—r, f—ing w—p, d—go, whatever the race." She writes that he called a person racial epithet and mocked his language.

Ford was mayor between 2010 and 2014. He famously admitted he smoked crack during his tenure and attributed some of his behaviour, specifically using offensive racial language, to his addiction issues.

Ford, in his response to Jepson, said he made an apology when he returned from a leave for rehab on June 30, 2014.

"While I realize that I am unable to erase the past and the errors I may have made, I have taken full responsibility, and apologize for my hurtful comments," said the councillor.

Broader apology not enough

But Jepson wrote that Ford needs to apologize specifically for the March 2012 event for three reasons: it will allow Ford to take responsibility for this specific incident, it will signal that he understands and respects the Ontario Human Rights Code, and it gets the apology on the public record.

She said Ford has been cooperative and responsible with the investigation into the complaint into his behaviour on that night thus far and she sees no reason to seek other punishment. However, she ends her report with a warning.

"Should Mr. Ford engage in similar conduct in the future, it may be necessary to consider more significant penalties," she wrote.

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