Toronto mayor refuses to quit over ‘cocaine’ storm

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

Toronto mayor Rob Ford apologised for being “hammered” in public and acknowledged the need to curb his drinking, but the mayor of Canada’s largest city didn’t address allegations of drug use and said he will remain in his job despite mounting pressure to resign.

“I’m going to weather this storm,” Ford said.

Ford made his remarks on his local weekly radio show at a time when he is facing growing pressure to resign after police said they had obtained a copy of a video that appears to show him puffing on a crack cocaine pipe.

Ford didn’t address the contents of the tape, saying he cannot comment on a tape he hasn’t seen.

“I just got to maybe slow down on my drinking,” Ford said.

Ford acknowledged making “mistakes” and that he can’t change the past, but vowed “to ride the storm out.”

“I want to move forward, but to move forward I also have to make changes in my life which I will assure [you] I will do,” Ford said.

He declined to take a leave of absence or resign.

“I sincerely apologise, there’s absolutely no excuse, no one to blame but myself,” Ford said. “I am going to fight like no one has seen before to win the next election.”

Ford said he shouldn’t have been drunk in public when he appeared at the Taste of the Danforth street festival in August.

“That was pure stupidity,” Ford said.

“I shouldn’t have got hammered down at the Danforth. If you are going to have a couple of drinks, you stay at home and that’s it. You don’t make a public spectacle of yourself,” Ford said.

Ford also said he got “a little out of control” after St Patrick’s Day in 2012. A city spokeswoman released last week an incident report from city hall security guards who said they witnessed a “very intoxicated’ Ford having trouble walking and swearing at aides that day.

The incident report said that at 2.30am on St Patrick’s Day, Ford “visited the security desk alone with a half empty bottle of Remy French brandy.” The report states the mayor said his car had been stolen and that he wanted to call police. Security told Ford his car was at home and took the bottle from him before finding him a taxi.

Ford met with deputy mayor Norm Kelly, who had said he wanted to express the concerns of city council members after news of the video emerged. Police announced that the video had been recovered from a computer hard drive during an investigation of an associate of the mayor suspected of providing him with drugs.

Allegations that Ford had been caught on video smoking crack cocaine surfaced in May.

Two reporters with the Toronto Star and one from the US website Gawker said they saw the video but did not obtain a copy.

Police chief Bill Blair told a news conference he was “disappointed” in Ford, but said the video did not provide grounds to press charges against him.

All four major Toronto newspapers have called on Ford to resign. Many city councilors and The Toronto Board of Trade have also called on him to step aside.

Ford called on the police chief to release the video.


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