TORONTO (NEWS1130) – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has admitted he has smoked crack cocaine.
“Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine,” the mayor told reporters at city hall today.
“But am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago,” he adds.
“I wasn’t lying; you (reporters) didn’t ask the correct questions. No, I’m not an addict, and no, I do not do drugs. I’ve made mistakes in the past and all I can do is apologize.”
The mayor says he has made mistakes and all he can do now is move on. “I can apologize to my family, my friends, my colleagues and the people of this great city.”
Ford has been under intense scrutiny for months after two media outlets reported the existence of a video that they said appeared to show the mayor smoking crack.
Until today, Ford had denied he ever smoked crack cocaine and suggested the video did not exist.
“There’ve 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 and a video, and I know that. So, I want to see the state that I was in.”
“It is what it is, and I can’t change the past,” he adds.
Over an hour after making the admission, Ford took to a podium and announced he wouldn’t step aside. He expressed his shame and embarrassment, adding he had kept his drugs use from his family.
Ford is also promising that “these mistakes will never, ever, ever happen again.”
Ontario’s premier not calling for Ford to step down
Some people are calling for Ford to step aside after this unexpected admission. But Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne isn’t amongst them.
“As a Torontonian — as all Torontonians — I’m concerned. I’m watching this with concern. I have faith in the chief of police and in the police service, and I have faith in the judicial system.”
“I am not going to preempt what the mayor may or may not do,” she says. “I’ve said I’m concerned, but the mayor will have to make his decisions about what is appropriate right now. I know that there are motions that are being brought forward, and he’s going to have to take action that he thinks is appropriate for the city of Toronto.”
What happens now?
Andrew Sancton, a political science professor at Western University in Ontario, says there’s a chance Ford might be able to minimize the damage and stay on as mayor.
“I think it’s entirely possible that he can contain this to just this one incident, when he was drunk; he’s already admitted that he’s behaved badly when drunk… I’m saying this because I’ve learned that you don’t underestimate Rob Ford’s popularity.”
“He has said he just smoked crack once when he was drunk. If that explains the video, then maybe all will be forgiven.”
Sancton says city council now faces a major challenge when it comes to running the city on a day-to-day basis when the mayor is such a big distraction.