Winnipeggers react to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's crack use
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admits to using crack, refuses to leave office
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford lit up everything from TVs to Twitter on Tuesday with his shocking admission that he had used crack cocaine.
That revelation had Winnipeggers talking about addiction, public relations and what the saga means for other Canadian politicians.
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz wouldn’t comment directly on the scandal but said being honest with the public is an important part of being a politician.
“I think, to me, being truthful is always the number one priority,” he said Tuesday.
But some local public relations students said there may not be any coming back from the latest truth from Ford.
“Communications strategies are about promoting a good product, but if it’s something that’s immoral or wrong, I don’t think there is anything to make that good,” said Red River College public relations student Luke Reimer.
"I don't think it's acceptable for any Canadian to smoke illegal substances or to do illegal activities, and especially for someone in a position of authority."
Ford told reporters Tuesday morning he had smoked crack cocaine. In a press conference later that day, he said he wasn’t planning on resigning, but he was "sincerely" sorry for what he did.
Ford also told reporters he was not an addict but admitted to being in more than one “drunken stupor.”
Casting spotlight on addictions
The CEO of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba said she hopes the case doesn’t glamorize a difficult problem many people in Canada face every day.
“The difficulties that he’s having, many others in Ontario and Manitoba and our country struggle with all the time,” said Yvonne Block.
“We need to not glamorize, or as you say, create entertainment out of a scenario that is all too common.”
She said she hopes some positive can come from Ford’s admission, and people struggling with addiction can be reminded there are resources out there to help them.
“I think you to somebody. Talk to a loved one, talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner,” said Block.
Ian Rabb, who ran for the Progressive Conservatives in the 2011 Manitoba election, is an advocate for addictions prevention.
"It's not the substance that's the problem. It's why someone needs to be intoxicated, why someone needs crack cocaine," said Rabb, a former drug addict who currently runs Two Ten Recovery in Winnipeg.
Rabb said he cannot speak for Ford, and he wouldn't say if the Toronto mayor should step down. However, he said he's concerned for Ford's well-being.
"If he has a problem, or if anybody has a problem, we need to get them help," said Rabb.
"It's a disease," he said of addiction. "I didn't wake up one morning saying, 'You know what? When I grow up, I'm going to be a meth addict.'"
Resources for those struggling with addiction are available at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba.