06/22/2012 03:01 EDT | Updated 08/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Mayor Ford won't attend Pride flag raising

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he can't attend next week's Pride Week flag raising event due to a scheduling conflict.

"No, I won't be able to," Ford said when asked if he was attending the event held on the rooftop of city hall in which Pride Week, a 10-day festival celebrating sexual diversity in downtown Toronto, is officially proclaimed.

"Because I've already committed to something else," Ford said when asked why he was missing the event. He did not provide further specifics.

Ford has already said he will be skipping this year's Pride parade on July 1st as he will be at his family's cottage for the Canada Day holiday weekend.

Ford also missed last year's flag raising ceremony and the pride parade, decisions that earned the mayor a considerable amount of criticism.

But he was praised by many in the gay community when he made an unexpected appearance in May at a rainbow flag-raising marking International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

The group behind the event — Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays — had initially said Ford had declined their invitation to the ceremony, a move they saw as a lost opportunity for the mayor.

But in a surprise showing, Ford appeared just as the ceremony got underway and took to the podium to read a proclamation against homophobia.