Councillor Michael Ford calls council vote against Rob Ford stadium “deplorable”

Found at city hall: a frame contains photos of all the mayors of Toronto since the amalgamation of former municipalities (East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, York, and the City of Toronto) in 1998.

Oct. 5, 2017

A proposal to rename the stadium at Centennial Park as the Rob Ford Memorial Stadium was voted down at Toronto City Council on Wednesday.

Mayor John Tory supported the idea.

“Mayor Ford had his supporters, those who felt heard and represented and helped by him. This includes many kids who played football, who would feel that he helped them, and that he heard them, hence the suggestion of the naming of a football stadium in the very community that he represented,” Tory said on the floor of council chambers.

“But I also recognize the fact we cannot erase history or gloss over very difficult parts of our city’s past. I know that some of the former mayor’s actions and comments while in office were hurtful and disrespectful to some, and inconsistent with expectations that go with the office that he held.”

Tory said he believes “the divisive era of city politics in Toronto is now over.”

After the vote, Councillor Michael Ford, nephew of Rob Ford, spoke with Signal Toronto. (Michael Ford won the byelection in the local ward where the late Rob Ford was a councillor before he died.)

“I am incredibly disappointed by council’s vote today. I think it was deplorable.”

Ford said his uncle had dedicated many years of his life to city hall and youth in the north-west part of the city. “For council to play politics on one item – this wasn’t the item. I think it was disgusting.”

Asked how he felt on the council floor after the vote where 24 of his fellow councillors voted against the renaming and 11 supported it, Ford said, “I was disappointed, angry, upset, because I saw first hand what Rob did for the city, what he did for the people in North Etobicoke.

“Did he make some mistakes in life and were there some challenging times [while he was] the mayor? Sure. Absolutely. But his devotion to the youth in our community and across the city and his devotion to people was never questioned. And when you look at the integrity of people… it’s important,” Ford said.

Councillor Ford did not vote on the item. “I recused myself from the vote because he is a family member, which I would do again, it doesn’t matter, and I wouldn’t change that. I know, that vote was just a vote, and it was, as I said, disgusting, but at the end of the day, Rob’s legacy will live on no matter what happens in that chamber.”

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