Toronto Star reporter says he will continue with lawsuit despite Rob Ford apology

Mayor Rob Ford attends an executive committee meeting at Toronto's City Hall on Thursday, December 5 2013. Ford …UPDATE: Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale has responded to Mayor Rob Ford's apology offered Tuesday in council, and said on Twitter that he will still proceed with legal action.

"His statement today didn't come close," Dale tweeted Tuesday afternoon. "I'm proceeding with a defamation lawsuit."

He continued:  "In his 'apology,' the mayor didn't retract anything at all. Instead, he blamed the media for its reasonable interpretation of his words. He also blamed his neighbour. He used the words 'lurking' and 'leering.' And, crucially, he didn't retract or specifically apologize for the categorically false, malicious, and in-itself-defamatory claim about me taking pictures of his young kids. I didn't ask for an 'I apologize if.' I asked for an "I apologize because I said false, damaging, and unfounded things, and here they are.'

"So: while I appreciate the mayor's first step, no dad or teacher would accept that apology as sufficient. I would appreciate another try."

**********

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has apologized, sort of, to a reporter who had threatened legal action against the mayor for wrongfully portraying him as a pedophile in recent interviews.

Ford was served with a libel notice last week from Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale over comments he made during an interview with Conrad Black that was broadcast twice on Vision TV.

The notice said Dale would launch a lawsuit if Ford did not apologize. On Tuesday, Ford apologized. Sort of. In a way only Ford could: by blaming the media.

On Tuesday, Ford stood in council and offered these comments:

I want to take this opportunity to clarify my comments made in an interview with Conrad Black and to apologize to Daniel Dale for the way in which the media has interpreted my statements.

I never called Mr. Dale a pedophile. I have never used that word to describe Mr. Dale. I do not believe Mr. Dale is a pedophile, nor did I intend to suggest that with my comments.

My comments to Conrad Black were in context of my worst experiences with the incredible assault by media, particularly the Toronto Star, on me and my family.

My comments related to the fear I had for my family, when my long-time neighbour told me that someone was lurking at my fence and appeared to be taking pictures of my family home over the fence.

To be clear, I never personally saw Mr. Dale peering over the fence or taking pictures. My neighbour told me, however, that he saw somebody doing this.

Ford has suggested in previous comments that he personally saw Dale standing on cinder blocks and taking pictures. He previously stated that he stood behind everything he said in the interview with Black.

[ Related: Daniel Dale’s reluctant decision to sue Mayor Rob Ford ]

Both Vision TV and ZoomerMedia, the television channel and production company that first aired Ford's comments, were also served with libel notices.

The controversy stems from an incident last year in which Ford confronted Dale while he was reporting on a plot of public land behind Ford's home. Ford had made an unusual request to purchase the public land and Dale says he was on site to research his story.

Here is Ford's original comment:

Daniel Dale in my backyard taking pictures. 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?

Here is what Dale's libel notice said:

The false and defamatory statements have caused and are continuing to cause serious harm to Mr. Dale’s professional and personal reputation. Mr. Dale reserves all of his rights, including to seek damages from Mayor Ford and ZoomerMedia.

ZoomerMedia and Rob Ford should immediately retract the false and defamatory statements in their entirety, and apologize to Mr. Dale – publicly, abjectly, unreservedly and completely – if they wish to even begin to undo the harm caused by the broadcast of Mr. Ford’s outrageous statements.

It is hard to argue that Ford's apology on Tuesday could be considered "abjectly, unreservedly and completely." But it was offered publicly, so one out of four ain't bad?

Want to know what news is brewing in Canada? Follow @MRCoutts on Twitter.