News

Toronto mayor admits smoking crack cocaine

Toronto mayor admits smoking crack cocaine

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is shown speaking to reporters at the City Hall in this still image courtesy CBC in Toronto November 5, 2013. Photo: Reuters/Courtesy CBC

By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted on Tuesday that he has smoked crack cocaine, probably “in one of my drunken stupors,” but insisted he’s not an addict.

Speaking just days after Toronto’s police chief confirmed that police have recovered a copy of a video that two media organizations have said shows the mayor smoking the drug, Ford told reporters he had smoked crack, perhaps about a year ago.

“Yes I have smoked crack cocaine,” Ford said in his first admission of drug use after six months of evading the question.

“But, no, do I? Am I an addict? No. Have I have tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago,” he said.

Elected in 2010 on a cost-cutting platform, Ford has maintained strong support from voters in his suburban base even as the scandal has escalated. A poll taken after Police Chief Bill Blair confirmed the existence of the video put Ford’s approval rating at 44 percent, up five points from a previous poll.

Ford repeated on Tuesday a plea to the police to release the video, which he told the Toronto Sun newspaper was probably “not pretty”. He said he would not quit or take a leave of absence.

‘HAMMERED’ AT FESTIVAL

Ford has already apologized for “mistakes” in his past, admitting to being “hammered” at a street festival this summer and drunk at city hall after-hours on St. Patrick’s Day last year. All four big Toronto newspapers, including the right-leaning Toronto Sun, have urged him to quit.

“I don’t even remember,” Ford said on Tuesday of his drug use. “After some of the stuff that you guys have seen me, the state I’ve been in. It’s a problem.”

In May, when the Toronto Star newspaper and the Gawker media blog first reported the existence of the video, Ford said he does not use crack cocaine, and he could not comment on a video he has not seen.

Blair said on Thursday that police had obtained a video “consistent” with the Gawker and Star accounts, recovering the video from a deleted hard drive scooped up as part of a wide-ranging drug probe.

But that video did not in itself not support charges against the mayor, Blair said.

Contacted after Ford’s admission on Tuesday, a police spokeswoman said: “The information will be passed on to investigators.”

COUNCIL SUPPORT WANING

While Ford’s popular support has held strong, his once rock-solid supporters at city hall have started wavering.

City councilor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a member of Ford’s cabinet-like executive committee, said he will bring a motion to the next city council meeting asking Ford to take a leave of absence. Council does not have the power to force Ford out of office.

“It is very disappointing to have the mayor of the City of Toronto admit to smoking crack cocaine,” he told reporters. “I was disappointed at two levels: firstly that he did it, but secondly that it took him so long to admit it.”

Another motion circulating at city hall would seek to restrict Ford’s ability to remove people from his executive committee and other standing committees.

Ford’s personal life made headlines even before he was elected mayor.

In 2006, when he was a member of city council, Ford caused what the Canadian Broadcasting Corp called “a drunken ruckus” during a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game, shouting obscenities and insults until he was ejected.

In 2008, police charged him with assault and threats to his wife, but then withdrew the charges, citing inconsistencies in her story. Ford maintained his innocence, and the two later reconciled.

Recent Headlines

in Sports

NL Wild Card: Bumgarner, Giants silence Pirates

Fresh
San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner waits his turn in the batting cage at PNC Park in Pittsburgh during a team workout Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Bumgarner gets the start against Pittsburgh Pirates' Edinson Volquez in Wednesday night's National League wild card baseball game in Pittsburgh.

The San Francisco Giants routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 on Wednesday night in the National League wild-card game.

in Sports

Dunn retires following a 14 year career

Oakland Athletics' Adam Dunn leans against the batting cage before the start of the AL wild-card playoff baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo.

Following the Athletics loss to the Kansas City Royals in the A.L. Wildcard game, Adam Dunn told ESPN that he has played his final game.

in Sports

Report: Paul Molitor, Twins set to meet

Minnesota Twins coach Paul Molitor is seen in the dugout during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Saturday, May 10, 2014.

Molitor has never managed in the majors or minor leagues but has extensive coaching experience since leaving baseball as a player.

in Sports

Brady tries to keep even keel during slow start

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) warms up on the sideline during the third quarter of an NFL football game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Foxborough, Mass.

Tom Brady tries not to get too high when things are going well or too low when they're not.

in Sports

Hoke says Gardner will start against Rutgers

Michigan head coach Brady Hoke shouts trying to flag down a referee on the sideline in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Appalachian State in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. Michigan won 52-14.

After QB Shane Morris on the field following a hit to the head last weekend, Michigan coach Brady Hoke took responsibility for the program's breakdown in communication

Bellingham Traffic