WATCH ABOVE: Rob Ford is going door-to-door to garner votes for his brother Doug who replaced him. This is a family that doesn’t seem to give up, determined to keep Ford Nation at Toronto City Hall. But as Mike Drolet reports, the dynamic duo has an uphill battle trying to unseat the front runner in the polls.
TORONTO – A defiant Toronto Mayor Rob Ford returned to the public spotlight Saturday, receiving a boisterous welcome from his supporters as he vowed to triumph over a rare form of a cancer.
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Hundreds of people, many with children in tow, chanted “Rob, Rob” as Ford spoke at a barbecue that his family puts on every year.
Accompanied by Tom Petty’s hit “I won’t back down,” Ford said he conquered his substance abuse problems and will conquer his cancer as well.
“Go tell cancer that I’m going to put him where I put that guy in the mirror three months ago,” Ford said, his voice hoarse.
Doctors detected a tumour in Ford’s abdomen and he is now undergoing treatment for a rare and aggressive form of cancer. He was released from hospital after undergoing chemotherapy and further treatments are planned.
Ford bowed out of the mayor’s race this month, but is instead seeking a seat on council. His brother, Doug, has now jumped into the mayor’s race in his place.
Saturday’s public party came exactly one month before the city’s election. It’s his first major public appearance since being hospitalized for cancer this month. Friday night he did some door-to-door campaigning.
WATCH: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was going door-to-door Friday night campaigning for a council seat in Etobicoke when a few of the local youths got him to film a short video with them.
Long lines of hungry Ford fans snaked away from a busy grill, while shorter queues formed to nab Rob Ford bobblehead dolls, with proceeds going to his brother’s mayoral campaign.
Though the crowd’s spirits were high, the ailing mayor’s health loomed large over the event.
Supporter Leo Robinson, clutching a sign slagging a mayoral rival, said although Ford was battling a rare cancer, he shouldn’t quit politics but rather keep at it and stand up for the little guys.
“He’s for the people. And once you’re for the people, at the end of the day, whether you’re here or not, you’re still going to be fighting for the people,” Robinson said.
WATCH: Thousands attended Ford Fest in Ford Nation. But there was controversy before Doug or Rob Ford arrived. Cindy Pom explains.