Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty underscored his personal friendship with embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in a Monday night interview on CBC's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon

"I’ve spoken with the mayor and I’ve spoken with members of his family. I’m very close to the family, and I won’t comment further on that," Flaherty told Solomon. 

When pushed, the minister added, "my discussions with him have been personal, they haven’t been about infrastructure or anything like that." 

The comments, however brief, were enough to electrify political commentators on the show's Power Panel, with some arguing that the minister’s matter-of-fact statements lend credibility to Ford, who is embroiled in a scandal over alleged drug use, while others posit that the mayor's personal woes are distracting from official business.

Watch political commentators Alise Mills, Rob Silver, Brad Lavigne and Greg Weston debate the larger message of Flaherty’s brief comments.