Disgraced Toronto Mayor Rob Ford drew laughs with self-deprecation late Thursday in his first public speech since he was stripped of most powers over headline-grabbing misconduct.
Ford, who was sanctioned at the beginning of the week following his admissions of smoking crack and binge drinking, was promoting his administration’s fiscal record to a largely business audience.
“We’ve reduced Council and the mayor’s budget by $6.4 million over four years,” he said, adding after a pause: “Even more in the last three days.”
The reference to Council’s vote on Monday to slash the mayor’s annual $2 million office budget by more than 60 percent provoked chuckles in the audience, according to video of the event distributed on Friday.
A smiling Ford, who has vowed to try to overturn Council’s decision in court, took a bow before adding, “I didn’t support the last three days.”
Ford also said he has transformed Toronto over the past three years into an “economic powerhouse.”
His boast that he has saved Toronto a billion dollars, however, has been widely criticized as exaggerated.