The Washington Post

Toronto mayor vows to stay on despite crack use

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses the media Tuesday at city hall in Toronto. (Chris Young/AP)

Rob Ford said Tuesday he loves his job and will stay on as mayor of Toronto despite admitting for the first time that he smoked crack.

Ford earlier acknowledged he smoked crack “probably a year ago” when he was in a “drunken stupor,” but balked at growing pressure on him to resign.

“I was elected to do a job and that’s exactly what I’m going to continue doing,” Ford said. “On Oct. 27 of 2014, I want the people of this great city to decide whether they want Rob Ford to be their mayor.”

The allegations that the mayor of Canada’s largest city had been caught on video smoking crack surfaced in news reports in May. Ford initially insisted the video didn’t exist, sidestepped questions about whether he had ever smoked crack and rebuffed growing calls on him to step down.

The mayor was forced to backtrack after police said last week that they had obtained a copy of the video in the course of a drug investigation against a friend of Ford’s.

“Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine,” Ford told reporters earlier outside his office. “There have been times when I’ve been in a drunken stupor. That’s why I want to see the tape. I want everyone in the city to see this tape. I don’t even recall there being a tape or video. I want to see the state that I was in.”

Police have said the video, which has not been released publicly, does not constitute enough evidence to charge the mayor with a crime.

Police spokesman Mark Pugush said Ford’s acknowledgment of crack use will be passed on to investigators. Several Toronto city councilors called on Ford to step down and Canada’s justice minister urged him to get help.

Ford, 44, earlier walked out of his office and told reporters to ask him the question they first asked him in May. He then acknowledged he had smoked crack but said: “Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it, probably in one of my drunken stupors a year ago.”

Municipal law makes no provision for the mayor’s forced removal from office unless he is convicted and jailed for a criminal offense.

City Councilor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a member of Ford’s executive committee, said he would put forward a motion asking Ford to take a leave of absence.

“My first reaction was ‘Wow,’ ” Minnan-Wong said.

Councilor Jaye Robinson said the mayor needs to step aside and address his problems.

“We have become a laughingstock of North America, if not the world,” Robinson said.

— Associated Press


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