Mayor Rob Ford admits to smoking crack: “Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine”
Video courtesy of Global News
It’s official. Mayor Rob Ford has admitted to smoking crack “maybe a year ago”—that is, while he was serving Toronto as mayor.
“I wasn’t lying,” the mayor said to reporters at a brief scrum in front of his city hall office. “You [the media] didn’t ask the correct questions.” (For comparison, we invite you to judge for yourselves. Here is the video of his Fordship denying using crack cocaine back on May 24th.)
Ford made today’s stunning admission after months of avoiding questions about his drug use, erratic behaviour and the infamous video that allegedly shows him not just smoking crack, but also making homophobic and racial slurs. “I can’t comment on a video that I haven’t seen,” Ford told reporters again today.
“Am I an addict? No!” added mayor Ford. “Have I tried [crack]? Probably in one of my drunken stupors…No I’m not an addict and no, I do not do drugs. I made mistakes in the past and all I can do is apologize, but it is what it is and I can’t change the past.”
The mayor’s appearance lasted fewer than five minutes, before he disappeared back into his office. According to CP24, the last question to the mayor before he left was, “Are you drunk right now?”
Nearly an hour after the scrum, a story appeared on the Toronto Sun‘s website, reporting that the mayor is not willing to not step down.
“I feel like I got 1,000 pounds off my back,” Ford told the Sun‘s Joe Warmington. “I felt I had to say it. It is what is. I feel two inches high right now but I needed to deal with it. I am not going to quit or take a leave. I am not an addict or an alcoholic. I have work to do and I am moving on. The way I see it now, this is over.”
Ford also told the Sun that he knows what’s on the video Toronto Police recovered early last week: “I think I know what’s on the video and I know it’s not pretty…Did I smoke something? Probably. It’s ugly. ”
“I am not a crackhead or junkie,” the mayor threw in.
According to sources in the scrum, many of the mayor’s own staffers did not even know he was about to make this statement. Deputy mayor Norm Kelly arrived at city hall at 12:45 p.m. with Ford’s chief of staff. Both passed by journalists telling them they had no comment. Councillor Doug Ford, typically the mayor’s defender and supporter in these matters, was a few blocks away at Ryerson University, ironically addressing a journalism class. Earlier in the day, councillor Ford accused police chief Bill Blair of being “judge, jury and executioner” because the chief had indicated that he was “disappointed” in the mayor after seeing the much-ballyhooed video of Rob Ford supposedly smoking crack. Doug Ford also called for Blair to step down.
Reactions from other councillors have started piling up, including this take from Jaye Robinson: “I think it’s affecting [Rob Ford’s] judgment. This is a sad day for the city of Toronto.” Councillor John Filion has said, “I have empathy for the mayor as a human being … On a personal level I feel bad for the mayor.”
Councillor Filion filed a motion earlier in the day that seeks to strip the mayor of his ability to hire or fire the deputy mayor, or any of the standing committee chairs. A second motion was also filed at city hall today—this one from councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong—that calls on the mayor to apologize, co-operate with police in their ongoing investigation and to take a temporary leave of absence.
“I think it’s time for him to take a break,” Minnan-Wong told reporters after hearing the mayor’s stunning confession.
Looks like all Torontonians will remember, remember, the fifth of November. Let’s just hope today does not end with city hall in cinders.
More to come, obviously.