Former Ontario premier Mike Harris led tributes today during the funeral for former Toronto mayor Rob Ford. Clinton Leonard, who was coached by Ford, also spoke. Mourners also heard from Rob Ford’s children, Stephanie and Dougie. Closing the eulogies and on behalf of so many, Doug Ford said, “Rob, I’m going to miss you like crazy.”
What follows are transcripts of today’s tributes. Click below for each eulogy.
MIKE HARRIS, former Ontario premier
Good afternoon. When Doug called me to say that the Ford family wanted me to share in the celebration of Rob’s life today, I was obviously very humbled and honoured. It is a great privilege to be able to say a few words of remembrance about a fellow public servant and friend that I have known for over two decades.
But as I thought about what I wanted to say, I realized that the real tribute to Rob wasn’t to have me get up here and speak. The real tribute to Rob Ford was in the line of people who waited in the rain on Monday to pay their respects to the man who, for them, was synonymous with Toronto. Some had never met him; others had very personal stories to share about what he had done for them and for their families. But they all took the time to come together to pay respects and to say good-bye. The real tribute to Rob was evident in the humble bungalow in midtown that had an old Rob Ford for Mayor electoral sign on the lawn last week, with the handwritten words, “We will miss you.” Or the local businessman who called Rob about a zoning issue, only to have him show up unexpectedly in his shop so he could better understand the issue. Or the single mom who needed housing for her family, and, thanks to Rob, got it. Or the elderly lady who called regularly because the truth is she was lonely and just needed somebody to talk to.
These are the people who stand as a tribute to both Rob the man and Rob the politician. These are the stories that describe better than I ever could just what Rob Ford was all about. And the thing that all these people all had in common is that Rob had inspired them by his words, by his actions, to care about their city and their community. His blunt talk, no-nonsense, get-it-done-now approach had inspired them to pick up the phone, to attend rallies, barbecues, and to vote, maybe for many for the very first time. His vow to stop the gravy train was as simple and as genuine as any political mantra I’ve ever heard of in my life, and I’ve heard of a few.
Rob lived what he preached. It has always amazed me that Rob was under attack and investigation from his foes in the media because his office and travel expenses were too low. He was attacked because, as Mayor, he would help the less fortunate get sports equipment. What a breath of fresh air he was at city hall. We’re going to miss him at city hall.
You know, politics is a calling for many of us, but those who are most successful at it never let politics change who they were in the first place. This was certainly true for Rob. He came into politics with a strong sense of putting the people he represented first. He believed in, if I can borrow a phrase you may have heard before, doing what he said he would do. And those in public life could all learn a couple of things from him.
I want to say a few words about the Ford family. When you meet one Ford, you meet and know them all. So while Rob’s dad, Doug Senior, was the first I met as a member of our Common Sense Revolution caucus in 1995, the others soon followed. And as the late Jim Flaherty and I found out, when you were a friend of one Ford, you were a friend of them all, and they with you. Politics is hardest on the people who don’t run for office. It’s hardest for those who love us at home. The public scrutiny, the interrupted dinners, the late nights and the busy weekends all take their toll on our families. But the Ford family seems to thrive on their contributions to public service, and for that we admire all of you and we thank all of you.
To Diane and Rob’s brothers and sisters and their families, I know you will find strength in your many family memories of your time together with your son, your brother, your uncle. To Renata, Stephanie and Dougie, I hope you will find some peace and comfort in knowing that we all share your sadness and your pride. You should be very proud of your dad’s contribution to this city. All of us in Toronto thank the entire Ford family for sharing Rob with us. We too will miss him. Thank you.
CLINTON LEONARD, team member coached by Ford
I would like to thank everyone for coming out today. I’m sure the family greatly appreciates you all. The Co—the team and I are still heartbroken that Coach is really gone. He’ll be truly missed. Coach was always about family and gelling as a unit. With that came our team memorable moments, with us going to Peterborough to play a exhibition game, then staying at a hotel. Coach told all of us to be on our best behaviours, or you guys are going to run and do six inches until practice was over. No one wanted to get that face red, so we behaved, but Coach still believed somebody would have did something stupid. So he pretty much hid in the bushes looking for us.
Another great memory was after each season he would take – he would take all of us to Pizza Hut for lunch on Kipling. I would – I could be here all day telling you guys what Coach did for all of us. He was honestly a blessing. She showed us right from wrong, and steered us onto the right paths to be smart, successful, young men in today’s society. Rest in sweet paradise, Coach Ford. We love you.
STEPHANIE FORD, daughter
DOUGIE FORD, son
Stephanie Ford: Thank you so much for being here today. It means so much to my brother Dougie and I. My dad was a great Mayor. He helped a lot of people. He was also amazing dad. He was so happy whenever he was with us, and he was so nice to us, but also strict sometimes, like a dad should be. He would buy us the best toys and take us to amazing places, but what matters was that we were happy together. I remember at the hospital he smiled at me and he said Stephanie, I might not be here for too much longer. He said I want you to remember that I’ll always love you. I need you and your brother to be strong for your mom. I know my dad is in a better place now, and he’s the Mayor of heaven now.
Dougie and I know that he will be with us forever. I love him so much, and I just want to thank everyone again for all your support.
DOUG FORD SR.
Well, I first want to start off with telling Stephanie and Dougie that you’ll always be taken care of. You’ll always be loved, and you have thousands of people that are going to love you and take care of you and Renata. Always remember that.
Want to – just want to start off with thanking some people. Pastors, thank you so much. St. James Church is just a beautiful church. I want to thank the police. Incredible. We have the best police in the world; EMS, fire, TTC, and all the city staff, and especially Protocol. Protocol’s incredible. They did a incredible job. I want to say a special thanks to Mayor John Tory. He’s bent over backwards for our family, he’s filled every request. John, I just want to thank you very, very much for supporting our family through these tough times. We’re honoured to have the Lieutenant Governor here, the Premier. Nothing but class. Madam Premier, we’ve had our differences, but today we’re putting our political differences aside, and we aren’t here as Conservatives or Liberals or NDP or Green, we’re here for the Rob Ford Party, the party of the people.
Rob was truly the party of the people. And we do a lot of polling, and you’d see that 50 percent of Rob’s support would traditionally vote for Liberals, 40 percent NDP, and we had some fiscal Conservatives in there. So when they talk about Ford Nation, it’s a very diverse group. And we saw that over the last few days. Rob was the champion of the teen, he was the champion of the immigrant, the new Canadian, the union worker, the frontline worker, and champion of the little guy. Always said there was a big guy that was the champion of the little guy. And that was so suitable for Rob.
Rob truly believed he was the Mayor of Canada, not the Mayor of Toronto. I’ll tell you the reason why. I walked into his office once, and he was talking to a constituent. I think it was Edmonton. I’m not a hundred percent sure, but out in Edmonton. And I say constituent because he believed everyone was his constituent. And he got off the phone and I said Rob, you know, who were you talking to? Oh, we have a supporter out in Edmonton, and they had a problem. And I said so let them deal with it. He goes oh, no, I’m going to call the Mayor of Edmonton to get him to take care of it. That’s – you know, that’s – that’s what Rob was.
And I’ll tell you a little story about being the Mayor of Canada. We went to Chicago to watch the Blackhawks with great friend, late Jim Flaherty, myself, and Rob. It was a challenge and a half just getting him on the plane without everyone recognizing him. It’s tough to hide Rob, that’s for sure. Jim we could stick in our suitcase and carry him along, and you know.
And so we got there. We had the best time ever. We laughed from the time we got on the plane, from the time we got off the next day. But I’ll never forget in between periods we went to the – I guess the owner’s box, and there’s a couple of hundred people in there. And one of our gracious hosts started introducing Jim as the Finance Minister of Toronto and the – Rob the Mayor of Canada. So after that, you know, I always joked around with Jim and called him the Finance Minister of Toronto, and Rob the Mayor of Canada.
Rob was always willing to go out and help people. I read thousands of e-mails over the last couple of weeks. I was beside Rob in the hospital, and I didn’t even realize the thousands and thousands of stories that are out there that I read and people shared with me over the last few days. It was just absolutely incredible. And I’m going to share with everyone a story that’s no – no one has ever heard before. But this is classic Rob Ford.
I was at Deco, working late one night, and Rob came in. I think it was around ten o’clock at night. And he’s – and he came in with a sub. He used to love going to Mr. Sub at the corner of Martingrove and Rexdale, going to see his friend Gus over there. And he said – and he called me Jones. And if you didn’t know his Jones, Jones, we called each other Jones. Comes in and he goes Jones, you wouldn’t believe what I just did. And this was when he was the Mayor. He said I went into Mr. Sub and Gus was there, and Gus works 16 hours a day trying to make a living. And an order came in on the phone for Mr. Sub, and the total order was about $32. But it was late at night, and Gus didn’t have anyone to deliver it. And I think you know where this story’s going here.
So Rob – Rob jumped up and, you know, pulled out $32 and gave it to Gus, and went on to carry the four subs and a few, you know, pops and that, and he went over to the house and he decided to deliver the subs to the house. And he knocked on the door, and the people opened up, and you could just imagine, you know, what they were thinking when you have the Mayor of Toronto, you know, delivering a sub at ten o’clock at night. But in Rob’s mind – and after he told me, I said Rob, you’re the Mayor of Toronto, you can’t be delivering subs. You know, Pizza Pizza’s bad enough, 30 minutes or free, but this – So he said, and you know, Jones, you wouldn’t believe it. I met, you know, four new voters, so I have them as supporters now. And he said the best thing of it all, they gave me $35 and I got a three-dollar tip.
So that’s – you know. But again, you know, that’s – that’s classic Rob. And so John, you know your new job, right? You have to be delivering.
Yeah, and I’ve never met anyone who was so passionate about the people, so principled about his values. And when it came to saving taxpayers money, making sure that government was accountable and transparent, Rob would never, ever waver. And again, he just loved the people of Toronto. And I can’t tell you how grateful our family is, and we’ll be forever grateful and indebted to this city, for the love and the outpouring of support. My brother Randy said when we were walking down the street we haven’t seen this much love and support since the Blue Jays won the World Series or the Leafs won the Stanley Cup.
And again, to the people of Toronto, and right across this country – and we ended up having e-mails right across the world – we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We love each and every one of you. And again, we’ll always serve. The Ford family will always serve the city of Toronto, the province of Ontario, and this great country of Canada. And the – one of the best tributes I ever heard – the best tribute I ever heard was from Rex Murphy. And if you haven’t watched Rex Murphy’s tribute, please do so. Because Rob believed in government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and that was Rob Ford. Thank you very, very much. God bless each and every one of you. And Rob, I’m going to miss you like crazy. I love you more than anything in the world. And don’t worry, Ford Nation will continue, will continue respecting the taxpayers. Thank you.