Toronto mayor apologizes for drug use


TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford apologized on Tuesday for smoking crack cocaine and promised he would never make the mistake again, but he insisted he would stay in his job and run for re-election next year.

Following is the text of a statement he made to reporters on Tuesday afternoon:

"With today's announcement I know I embarrassed everyone in this city, and I will be forever sorry. There is only one person to blame for this and that is myself. I know that admitting my mistake was the right thing to do and I feel like 1,000 pounds have been lifted off my shoulders.

"I can't explain how difficult this was to do. I hope, I hope, that nobody, that nobody has to go through what I have gone through. I know what I did was wrong, and admitting it was the most difficult and embarrassing thing I have ever had to do.

"Folks, I have nothing left to hide. I would do anything, absolutely anything, to change the past. But the past is the past and we must move forward.

"I want to be clear. I want to be crystal clear to every single person. These mistakes will never, ever, ever happen again. I kept this from my family, especially my brother Doug, my staff, my council colleagues, because I was embarrassed and ashamed. To the residents of Toronto, I know I have let you down, and I can't do anything else but apologize. And I'm so sorry. I know, I know I have to regain your trust and your confidence.

"I love my job. I love my job, I love this city, I love saving taxpayers money, and I love being your mayor. There is important work that we must advance and important decisions that must be made. For the sake of the taxpayers of this great city, for the sake of the taxpayers, we must get back to work immediately. We must keep Toronto moving forward.

"I was elected to do a job, and that's exactly what I'm going to continue doing. In 2010, I made a commitment to Toronto voters. I have delivered on that commitment and I will continue to deliver on that commitment of saving taxpayers money.

"But they have a choice. We live in a democracy, and on October 27 of 2014 I want the people of this great city to decide whether they want Rob Ford to be their mayor. Again, I sincerely, sincerely, sincerely, apologize. God bless the people of Toronto."

Unidentified voice: "God bless you too."

"Thank you very much."

(Reporting by Allison Martell Susan Taylor, Andrea Hopkins and Solarina Ho)

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