Toronto

Doug Ford blasts release of Rob Ford crack video, but critics say it's important

Doug Ford blasted the release of a video showing his brother, the late councillor and former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, smoking crack cocaine. But several councillors say it's still an important document for setting the record straight.

Councillors, Toronto Star journalist say video remains relevant

Doug Ford said releasing the video of his late brother smoking crack cocaine only serves to humiliate his family. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Doug Ford blasted the release of a video showing his brother, the late councillor and former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, smoking crack cocaine.

But several councillors and one of the first journalists to see the video say it's still an important document for setting the record straight when it comes to the late politician. 

The video, which was recorded in 2013 while Ford was serving as mayor, was made public Thursday morning after a Superior Court judge lifted a publication ban on the evidence presented in the extortion case against Rob Ford's friend and former driver, Sandro Lisi.

"All it does is hurt Rob's family, hurts Rob's kids," Doug Ford told CBC News.

"We find it disgusting as a family."

Doug Ford said his brother had publicly apologized for his substance abuse issues and sought treatment. All the video does is serve to humiliate him after his death, Doug Ford said.

Certainly Rob Ford was filmed in a moment of weakness.- Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker

Rob Ford, who served as mayor from 2010 to 2014 and had planned to run for re-election before he was diagnosed with cancer, died in March.

Several councillors who worked alongside Ford at city hall were quick to respond.

Scarborough Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker said he doesn't object to the video being released, especially as the allegations were denied for so long, but said what's captured in the video is a "tragedy in the making."

De Baeremaeker said Ford worked hard to become mayor and helped a lot of people, and yet "he was addicted to a horrible drug like so many others."

"Certainly Rob Ford was filmed in a moment of weakness," he said. 

Coun. Joe Mihevc echoed De Baeremaeker's thoughts and said the video clears the record around Ford.

Mihevc said he wishes the video had been made public sooner.

"We could have made better decisions for the city earlier. We could have been able to steer the ship of city council away from all of this earlier," he said.

Is the media right or wrong to post video?

Kevin Donovan, an investigative reporter with the Toronto Star, who was one of three journalists to see the video in May of 2013, said the video is still important because of who filmed it — Mohamed Siad, a man now in jail for trafficking guns and drugs.

"I think it's the right thing for it to come out," Donovan told CBC Radio's Here and Now.

He added the city would have been spared a lot of "misery" had he been able to obtain it the first time he saw it.

Councillors Giorgio Mammoliti and Jim Karygiannis, however, criticized the publication of the video after Ford's death.

Mammoliti questioned the decision to release a video of someone with addiction issues.

"Do we release videos of other addicts? People who are sick? I don't know why people want to bash Rob Ford after he passes away," the councillor said.

Karygiannis, meanwhile, said people should judge politicians for what they do in public, not in private.

"He is dead. We should allow him to rest in peace," Karygiannis said in a statement.

'Leave the man in peace,' says Etobicoke resident

Ellen Perry said posting the Ford video is 'no longer appropriate.' (Martin Trainor/CBC)

In Rob Ford's Etobicoke ward — Michael Ford, Rob's nephew, is now the area's councillor — several people said releasing the video after Ford's death is pointless.

"It's no longer appropriate … leave the man in peace," said Ellen Perry.

Aaron Sellon, who has seen the video, said it may have been relevant while Ford was alive, but now the scandal is over and done with. He said the video's release is "disheartening," considering what Ford did for the city.

But not everyone was against the video being made public.

Greg Thomson said the release of video is still important, because it disproves the assertion that some people have made that it never existed.   

"I'm glad it's out. I think the truth needed to be told," he said, noting the Ford story is still an important one for the city of Toronto. 

Greg Thomson said the Ford video finally provides proof the former mayor smoked crack cocaine. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Doug Ford upset with police investigation

Doug Ford said he still believes his brother was the best mayor the city's ever had and said the crack cocaine saga, which made international headlines, won't define his brother.

He also took aim at Toronto police's decision to tail his brother and Lisi during Project Brazen 2, an investigation that saw the police tap phones and even tail the two men using aircraft. Ford said he believes the investigation cost millions of dollars.

"For what? [Rob Ford] was never charged," Doug Ford said.

An extortion charge against Lisi was dropped Thursday. The charge against him stemmed from his efforts to get the video from the men who filmed it.

Police recovered the video during Project Traveller, which included a major raid on an Etobicoke apartment complex.

With files from Here and Now

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