Rob Ford in spotlight over street festival behaviour
Toronto city councillors concerned by mayor’s actions in online videos
A flurry of Rob Ford sightings late Friday night at Toronto’s Taste of the Danforth Festival is renewing questions about the mayor's behaviour.
A series of videos posted to YouTube between the hours of 11 p.m. ET on Friday night and early Saturday morning show Ford walking around the popular Greek food festival by himself, occasionally stopping to pose for photographs.
Mala Turay posted a video online that shows Ford surrounded by people on a side street off of Danforth Avenue.
"I'm not driving. I'm not driving. I'm not driving," Ford is heard saying repeatedly.
Turay told CBC News the mayor was "stuttering" his words and "when I was talking to him I noticed he was not himself — he was drunk."
The mayor has not responded to the allegations. CBC News attempted to reach the mayor’s office on Saturday but did not receive a response.
'I'm not driving. I'm not driving. I'm not driving.'—Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
"The further he came up along the Danforth, the more people he was talking to, (and) the more obvious he became," Turay said.
Later in the video he can be heard asking people where to find the party.
"He said that about four or five times, ‘Let's go party up here’, ‘Where's the party at over there’, just going on," Turay said. "He's the mayor. He should be setting a better example if he's representing our city like that."
As Ford walked along the Danforth, the public swarmed for more photos and videos, with staff and police arriving later to escort the mayor.
"The police weren't saying much. The staff weren't saying much, you know, whispering in his ear every now and then," Turay said. "He's just taking pictures, trying to be a friendly guy."
'I'm big news. I'm a big guy'
CBC’s Tony Smyth later saw the mayor at an Etobicoke gas station buying snacks at approximately 1 a.m. Saturday morning before walking back home.
When told that his actions on the Danforth made him "big news" on Friday night, Ford replied: "I'm big news. I'm a big guy."
"I guess anything happens with me is big, right?" he added.
Ford has been embroiled in an on-going controversy since May around a video that allegedly shows him smoking crack-cocaine.
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On Saturday, Coun. Shelley Carroll said Ford should have known the risks of going anywhere alone after recent events had the potential to spur "controversy and speculation."
"The mayor seems not to have understood he's kind of vulnerable to this kind of swarming and behaviour around him," she said.
"It could have been avoided if, as the leader of the city, he understood going to a major banner event he should have had staff with him and perhaps some security from the get-go."
Alleged groping incident
In March, Ford was accused by former mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson of grabbing her backside during a photograph at a Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee meeting.
Ford denied groping Thomson, calling it "completely false."
Later that month, a front-page story in the Toronto Star reported Ford was kicked out of an annual gala dinner in support of Toronto’s armed forces because he was intoxicated.
Sources told the Star that Ford spoke in a rambling, incoherent manner, which the mayor later called an "outright lie."
After hearing Ford's reaction to the story, Coun. Joe Mihevc told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway that it was "not accurate."
"There is something there and I think many of us have been privy to it. However, I don't really want to focus on that," Mihevc said. "It is up to the mayor to come clean and to figure out what he needs to do to pull his life together."
Ford was arrested in Miami in February of 1999 for drunk driving and marijuana possession.
Coun. Jaye Robinson, who was removed from Ford's executive committee in early June, said on Saturday that this latest incident is more proof that the mayor should "take a leave of absence, address his personal problems and then come back to continue to act as the mayor of Toronto."