Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted today to CBC that he abused alcohol in his city hall office but refused to say whether he would resign if he returns to drinking and using drugs.
Ford made the comments Wednesday in a one-on-one interview with CBC's Dwight Drummond, three days after returning to work following two months in a rehabilitation facility.
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In his interview with CBC, Ford also blamed his bad behaviour, such as making sexist and homophobic comments in numerous videos, on his drug use, which he said began long before he was mayor.
'I was born with this disease, I’m going to die with this disease.' -—Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
"I think that goes along with having this disease," said Ford. "[When using drugs] You do things, you say things that just aren't you. I take full responsibility.… All I can do is apologize and deal with this disease. This is an everyday battle that I'm going to have to deal with for the rest of my life. This is the beginning of a long, long journey.
"I was born with blond hair, I'm going to die with blond hair," Ford added. "I was born with this disease, I’m going to die with this disease."
Drummond asked Ford for specifics about his substance use — whether it involved "marijuana, heroin, crack, alcohol — the gamut."
Ford answered, "You name it, I pretty well covered it."
In a later interview Wednesday with another media organization, Ford specifically denied using heroin.
"That's why I went to rehab. I had a disease for a number of years and I was ruining my life, my health was in jeopardy, my job as mayor was very hard to do."
Drummond also asked Ford about an incident that happened while the mayor was at the GreeneStone rehab facility in Muskoka in May. A patient at GreeneStone named Lee Anne McRobb was arrested for impaired driving while at the wheel of Ford's SUV.
Ford said, "I gave her the keys," but he would not give any other details about the incident, citing confidentiality rules for patients undergoing treatment. He suggested that the CBC contact the facility's director.
"She was a resident at GreeneStone and I cannot get into any ... confidential information about any resident," said Ford.
Will Ford co-operate with police?
Drummond also asked whether Ford would co-operate with the police regarding some of the people he had kept company with, known drug dealers among them. Ford referred those questions to his lawyer.
"Regardless of my alcoholism and my substance abuse problem, this is handled through my lawyer," said Ford. "Anything to do with the criminal element, that's before the courts… I think you should speak to Dennis Morris, my lawyer.
Drummond showed Ford a photo published in April newspaper stories that showed the mayor holding a pipe. Drummond asked what was going on in the photo. Ford confirmed: "I was smoking crack."
Ford was asked why he decided to stay on as mayor, given that the stresses of running Canada's largest city might impede his recovery. Ford denied his drug use was brought on by the stresses of the job.
"I love this job," said Ford. "I'm very proud of my public record doing this job. I've done [drugs] for years before I got to this office."
Ford, who is running for re-election on Oct. 27, refused to say if he would resign if he relapses.
"I can only take it one day at a time," said Ford.
"I know I didn't drink yesterday, and I haven't drank today. "
An earlier version of this story quoted Toronto Mayor Rob Ford as saying, "The full gamut" when asked, during an interview with CBC’s Dwight Drummond, whether he had abused a wide range of substances in the past. In fact, Ford said, "You name it, I pretty well covered it," in response to Drummond's question about whether he had used "marijuana, heroin, crack, alcohol — the gamut."Jul 02, 2014 8:42 PM ET