Mayor Rob Ford is ignoring the calls for him to step down from his job, so it’s time for Toronto councillors to stop calling for his resignation, Coun. Karen Stintz said Monday.
"Let’s just get on with it," Stintz said, when speaking with reporters at Toronto City Hall.
"The mayor has already indicated that he is not going to take a leave of absence, that he is not going to resign, so we need to take the mayor at his word and we need to continue on with the business of the city."
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Over the weekend, Ford restated his intention to stay in his job, despite increasing pressure from critics and councillors to take a leave of absence.
Ford also apologized for "mistakes," some of which were left unspecified, but which the mayor said included a pair of episodes in which his alcohol-related behaviour led to problems.
"For example, the Danforth, that was pure stupidity. I shouldn’t have got hammered down at the Danforth. If you’re going to have a couple of drinks, you stay at home and that’s it, you don’t make a public spectacle of yourself," Ford told the listeners of his Sunday radio show on Newstalk 1010.
During the same broadcast, Ford called on Toronto police Chief Bill Blair to release a video file, which investigators obtained from an electronic device that was seized during a series of police raids earlier this year.
While Blair did not say what was on the video, he said it featured the mayor and its content was "consistent" with press reports that had described it.
Earlier this year, the Toronto Star and the U.S. gossip website Gawker reported that someone had been shopping a video of the mayor in which he allegedly smoked crack cocaine. The mayor denied both the video’s existence and using crack cocaine.
Months of allegations
The fact that Ford’s weekend apology didn’t address the allegations didn’t sit well with some councillors.
"I think it was minimalist. I don’t think it was adequate, it didn’t address what most people were very concerned about, which were the drug allegations," Coun. Gloria Lindsay Luby told reporters Monday, when asked about the mayor’s radio apology.
Luby said she wants Ford to take a leave of absence, though she expects "he certainly will try" to stay on until the next election.
Several members of the mayor’s executive committee said they had concerns about what they mayor had said on the radio, regarding the allegations that have dogged him since the reports about the video emerged earlier this year.
"I don’t think that the mayor did enough yesterday to satisfy the public," said Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, when speaking with reporters outside the mayor’s office.
Coun. Michael Thompson said the mayor still has to provide more details about the allegations about his personal life and the people he spends time with outside of work.
"There is a need for the citizens to be much, much more informed and to be provided with much more of a clarity in terms of what has transpired and the involvement of the mayor’s office and even the mayor’s staff, in terms of their communications with what we now know are known criminals and drug dealers and so on," he said.
But other executive committee members seemed to favour giving Ford support and helping him move forward.
"If councillors are saying indirectly that we have a mayor who does not seem to be able to conduct the business of the city, then I think we have to get in behind and bolster him," said Coun. Frank Di Giorgio.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said the mayor’s weekend apology, his acknowledgement of making mistakes, along with his intent to make changes are "a good first step."
The months ahead
Ford, 44, is only in the third year of his four-year term as mayor. He is intending to seek a second term.
Stintz, who has served as the TTC chair during Ford’s tenure, is the only current member of council to put her name forward as a mayoral contender so far. Former councillor David Soknacki is also set to run for mayor next year.
Ford has said he believes the coming mayoral election campaign in 2014 will be "a bloodbath."
Prior to his election as mayor, Ford was a city councillor for a ward in Etobicoke — the Toronto suburb where he lives with his family.
In recent months, Ford has clashed with the media and has become particularly irritated by the presence of reporters at his Etobicoke home. On Sunday, he asked that they not come to his driveway any longer.
April Lindgren, an associate professor of journalism at Toronto's Ryerson University, said the mayor is likely to continue to face questions about the allegations related to his personal life in the months ahead.
"It’s the topic, it’s the only thing everybody is talking about and it’s not going to go away by the sounds of it," said Lindgren Monday.
Lindgren said that as the election approaches, rival councillors may use the ongoing distractions at city hall as an opportunity to raise their public profile.