Five things we learned from CP24’s rare interview with Rob Ford’s mother and sister

Five things we learned from CP24’s rare interview with Rob Ford’s mother and sister

(Image: screenshot from CP24 livestream)

When asked about the ever-widening scandal surrounding Rob Ford, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty—a close family friend—choked back tears. “At the end of the day, he has to make his own decision about what he ought to do,” he said. “Certainly his family is helping him and wishing him well.” Yesterday, we got some unexpected insight into what exactly that help entails, courtesy of Ford’s sister Kathy and mother Diane. The women, both normally media-shy, said they were mad enough about the press’s “unforgiving” treatment of Rob Ford to speak to CP24’s Stephen LeDrew. Here, the highlights from the interview.

1. They have a five-step plan.

Diane explained that the family held a pow-wow last Friday at her house, when everyone “all had our say. And it was a real outpouring of feelings.” The result? A list of five “guidelines” for Rob: get a driver; install a breathalyzer in his car; lose weight; think about the company he keeps; and see a counsellor.

2. That plan does not include treatment for addiction…

“Robbie is not an addict. I know because I’m a former addict,” said Kathy, who explained that “when Robbie drinks I think he just goes full-tilt.” Later in the interview, she again denied that her brother is an addict, saying “he couldn’t function if he was. He couldn’t accomplish the things he has.” Since the interview, Ford’s lawyer revealed the mayor is now “seriously considering” treatment.

3. …or stepping away from office. 

One message was clear: Ford won’t resign and the family doesn’t want him to. Diane said her son wouldn’t be able to take time off: “Rob has an active mind, Rob has an active body. He’s got to be moving, he’s got to be thinking, he’s got to be productive.” She noted that he hasn’t shirked his duties at city hall, despite the intense scrutiny he’s under. “He made a mistake, he’s admitted to the mistake—not a nice one—but he’s done it,” she said. “But he’s been to work every single day.”

4. Rob Ford does have a serious problem. 

Diane acknowledged that Ford has demons to face. The problem she considers most pressing, however, is a bit of a surprise. “He’s got a problem,” she said. “He’s got a weight problem. He’s got a huge weight problem. And he knows that. And I think that’s the first problem he has to attack because this will change your whole demeanour.”

5. Doug Ford is taking a step back because he’s “hot” 

Kathy suggested that Doug—the mayor’s usual spokesman—took a step away from the spotlight in recent days because he was extremely emotional about the growing scandal. (A hint of that emotion came through in his interview with Joe Warmington earlier in the week). Said Kathy, “Doug needs time to chill out and just cool down because he’s hot. And I don’t blame him, I really don’t, but when it all comes down to the bottom line he will be there for Rob.” Doug’s radio silence didn’t last long: just this morning, he told AM640’s John Oakley that Rob may need to go “away on a little vacation.”