Toronto mayor admits getting ‘hammered,’ deflects drug reports
Few of his constituents are likely to argue with Toronto’s mayor on at least a couple of points he made on a radio program Sunday.
“I’m the first one to admit I am not perfect,” Rob Ford said on CFRB-Newstalk 1010 radio. “I have made mistakes.’'
Among them, he said, was getting “hammered,” and the mayor of Canada’s largest city acknowledged that he had a drinking problem. But he did not discuss the substance of a video that is purported to show him smoking what appears to be a crack pipe while making racist and homophobic remarks. Ford said, as he has in the past, that he can’t comment on a video he hasn’t seen. He did, however, call on the city’s police chief, Bill Blair, to release the video so Toronto residents could judge for themselves.
“That is the right thing to do, and Chief, I’m asking you to release this video now,” he said on the weekly radio show he co-hosts with his brother, Doug Ford. “Whatever this video shows, Toronto residents deserve to see it.”
The police chief has said it would be up to the courts to release the video.
The mayor spoke candidly about his drinking, including his behavior at a large street festival in Toronto called Taste of the Danforth. “It was pure stupidity,” he said. “I shouldn’t have gotten hammered down at the Danforth.”
He also admitted that his drinking “got a little out of control” at City Hall on St. Patrick’s Day.
Although Ford said he intended to curb his drinking, he did not promise to stop altogether. He said that he intended to get a driver and that when he does drink, he’s going to stay home. “I can assure people, hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”
Added his brother: “You’re going to curb your drinking, at the end of the day -- especially in public.”
The interview came after a group of Ford’s close advisors met Friday, saying they had “very serious concerns” with the revelations about the mayor, and some city business leades called for the mayor to step aside, according to the Globe and Mail.
“I’m hoping upon reflection that he will make the right decision,” Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly was quoted as saying, without saying what he thinks that decision should be. “That’s going to be up to the mayor, and that will be reviewed with him in a private conversation.”
In an interview with the Associated Press on Sunday, Kelly said he was encouraged by Ford’s decision to hire a driver and would encourage other mayoral councilors to support Ford’s course of action.
The mayor’s remarks hardly reassured everyone, however. “As for this vague statement easing the pressure on Ford: Forget it,” Charlie Gillis said in Maclean’s magazine. “It leaves too much open to question.”
[For the record, 4:40 p.m: A previous version of this post referred to Mayor Rob Ford as Tom Ford.]
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