Rob Ford is nowhere near Toronto, Doug Ford says
Doug Ford says he was the one spotted at a city Tim Hortons
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s whereabouts are still unknown to the public, but his brother says he is definitely not within the city limits.
"He is nowhere close to the GTA," Coun. Doug Ford told reporters on Wednesday.
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He was also dismissive of reports that the mayor had been seen at a west-end Tim Hortons, telling reporters the person who was spotted was himself.
Last week, the mayor announced he was taking a leave of absence to seek help for substance abuse.
It was later revealed Ford had boarded a flight to Chicago, but turned around upon arrival. Hence the questions about where he is now.
While some council members say he should be left alone while in treatment, others want to know more about what is going on.
Coun. John Filion told CBC Radio's Metro Morning that now is not the time to press the mayor for details.
"Whatever right we may have to know I think is trumped by the mayor’s right for privacy when he’s seeking treatment for such a serious illness," Filion said on Wednesday morning.
Filion said if and when the mayor returns to office would be a more appropriate time to ask Ford for specifics.
"I would say if the mayor comes back in 30 days or 60 days and declares himself cured that then the public would be entitled to some sort of evidence that he has been in rehab and has had some kind of treatment program," he said.
'Is he in one?'
Later in the day, Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti told reporters he had spoken with the mayor via telephone, though he said only Ford could confirm whether he is in a program.
"Is he in one? Only he can answer that question,” Mammoliti said. “Given the circumstances that we’re all looking at … some kind of an explanation may be needed just to satisfy everybody and then leave the guy alone."
Mammoliti didn’t say whether the mayor had disclosed to him where he was.
"It really is none of my business as to where he is … but the city should have some form of indication that he is in [rehab], based on the whole scenario and how it’s unfolded over the last year or so," he said.
The phone call to Mammoliti isn’t the only one Ford has made since taking leave. He also spoke to Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong in recent days and to Toronto Sun newspaper columnist Joe Warmington, to whom he said he was "enjoying" rehab.
Stintz says she hopes Ford is getting help he needs
The mayor has faced questions about his use of drugs and alcohol for much of the past year, after reports emerged that someone had been shopping a video that showed him using crack cocaine.
For months, Ford denied both the video’s existence and using crack cocaine.
That changed after police revealed in October they had obtained a video file that was consistent with what had been reported. Days later, Ford admitted that he had smoked crack cocaine.
His admission of drug use became a worldwide news story, as did a series of other stories about strange behaviour involving the mayor that was caught on tape. Those videos included footage of Ford imitating a Jamaican-style patois and another in which he was ranting and swearing and talked about wanting "to kill" someone.
Coun. Karen Stintz is one of the more than 50 candidates registered for the mayoral race.
On Wednesday, she said she hoped Ford was doing exactly as he said.
"He’s indicated to the city that he’s seeking treatment and professional help and as I said, on behalf of the city, I only hope that he is seeking and getting the help that he so desperately needs," Stintz said.
Ford, a father of two, is in his first term as mayor. Before taking office he served as a city councillor for 10 years. He will turn 45 later this month.