Regina’s mayor is sending his condolences to the family of former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
“Mr. Ford was a very colourful figure and had lots to say and lots of issues and got the attention of most Canadians and people around the world the way he chose to govern in Toronto,” explained Michael Fougere.
The two never did meet in person; Fougere said the extent of his interaction with Ford was over the phone during Big City Mayors’ Caucus teleconference meetings.
“I mean he certainly made you think about what was happening. He was somewhat polarizing but he was a very passionate leader. He had very strong opinions,” Regina’s mayor continued. “People in public life, you want people who actually will say what they really mean and with Mr. Ford you knew actually what he meant every time he spoke.”
Politicians of all stripes praised the passion and fierce determination that made Ford a political powerhouse for years and endeared him to throngs of devoted followers despite the cloud of scandal that hung over him.
Ford’s successor, Mayor John Tory, said he was sad the man he described as “a profoundly human guy” would not return to city hall, adding Ford’s presence “will be missed”.
“The city is reeling with this news, and my thoughts are with his wife Renata and their two children, as well as Rob’s brothers Doug and Randy, his sister Kathy, his mother, Diane, and the rest of their tight-knit family,” Tory said in a statement.
He praised Ford as a man who “spoke his mind and who ran for office because of the deeply felt convictions that he had.”
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne stopped in the middle of question period to extend condolences, with gasps coming from members of the provincial legislatures at the news.
Shortly afterward, the legislature observed a moment of silence in Ford’s honour.
Ford died Tuesday morning after losing his battle with cancer. He was diagnosed with abdominal cancer in the fall of 2014. One year earlier he had confessed to smoking crack cocaine with in a drunken stupor.
He was 46.