Yesterday, in the face of new details of his conduct about to be revealed, Mayor Rob Ford finally acknowledged that he did indeed smoke crack cocaine in the past year.
Mayor Ford has been lying to Torontonians for months, if not longer. He and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, have also unfairly and maliciously attacked anyone who has dared to question his behaviour or honesty on almost a weekly basis.
While he apologized for smoking crack, he did not explain his actions (other than “being in a drunken stupor”), his association with criminals or allegations that he made racist and homophobic slurs in the infamous crack video.
He did, however, use his press conference yesterday to campaign for re-election. Councillor Ford wildly demanded Police Chief Bill Blair’s resignation earlier in the day.
This whole issue really saddens me. Very few of us haven’t made mistakes in life we regret. But most of us when asked about our lives are honest with our responses. Most importantly, we truly learn from our mistakes because we want to be better people and be responsible to those we love.
As for Mayor Rob Ford, his ongoing circus of deceit, shameful conduct, distraction and dishonesty must finally come to an end.
There is no legislation that allows Council to remove a mayor from office- I know many of you have asked me about that. The only ways I know of that an elected municipal politician in Toronto can be disqualified from office is if they are no longer a Canadian citizen or a resident of Toronto, miss three consecutive city council meetings or be convicted of an indictable offence.
However Rob Ford can remove himself from office. I believe he must resign and put the people of Toronto before his own interests. That would be leadership. If he doesn’t, I will support every effort within Council’s authority to hold him to account and prevent him from doing any further damage to our city.
I also believe that Toronto is a strong and vibrant city that I’m proud to call home- we’ve survived even greater challenges. We’ll pull through this experience well if we make the right choices as a community of 2.8 million people. I hope the next mayor we elect will be thoughtful, fiscally responsible and one that celebrates the diversity of our city; a mayor who will focus on our priorities, be honest with residents and bring us together. That person is clearly not Rob Ford.
Meanwhile, as your city councillor, I will continue to focus on our community and work with my colleagues on Council to ensure that the business of our city is done efficiently, that services are delivered well, that tax dollars are spent wisely and we do not allow ourselves to be distracted from our city’s real priorities.