US & Canada

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford sorry for 'paedophile' comments

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Media captionToronto Mayor Rob Ford dances in council chamber

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has apologised for implying during a recent television interview that a Canadian journalist was a paedophile.

Mr Ford had said he caught Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale peering over his fence in May 2012.

Mr Dale said he was investigating property Mr Ford reportedly intended to purchase at the time.

The reporter pursued a libel lawsuit against the mayor for defamation.

On Tuesday, Mr Ford issued a public apology to Mr Dale, currently the Toronto Star's acting city hall bureau chief.

"I did not mean to insinuate anything about Mr Dale personally in my interview," he said in front of Toronto's city council.

"I certainly did not intend to suggest that he is a paedophile," he added. "I do not believe Mr Dale is a paedophile."

Mr Ford later blamed the news media for ascribing to him that specific word, which he "did not say".

'Vile' comments

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Image caption Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale has pursued a libel lawsuit against Mr Ford

In an interview last week with British-Canadian former media baron Conrad Black, Mr Ford said he had confronted Mr Dale near his home in 2012.

"I have little kids. When a guy's taking pictures of little kids, I don't want to say the word, but you start thinking, you know, what's this guy all about?" he said during the interview.

Mr Dale subsequently served Mr Ford with a notice of a libel lawsuit for what he described as "vile" and "defamatory" comments.

On Tuesday, Mr Ford clarified that he never personally witnessed Mr Dale "peering" into his yard.

"My neighbour told me, however, that he did see someone doing this," he said. "Mr Dale apparently denies that. At that moment... I honestly believed my neighbour's account of the event."

An earlier police investigation cleared Mr Dale of any wrongdoing.

Following Mr Ford's public apology, Toronto City Councillor Shelley Carroll called the mayor "insincere".

"He's an expert at non-apologies. He's been doing it for years," she said. "You'll never get an admission of guilt from Mayor Ford. It's not his style and it hasn't been since birth."

It is the latest public misstep for Mr Ford, who has been stripped of most of his mayoral powers after admitting he had smoked crack cocaine and purchased illegal drugs while in office.

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