Rob Ford patois video leaves council members frustrated, stunned
Toronto mayor should step down for the good of the city, Coun. Michael Thompson says
The latest video to appear on YouTube featuring Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has spurred one city councillor to call for him to step down, while another says voters will decide if he holds onto his job when they head to the polls in October.
Coun. Michael Thompson said the mayor's most recent drunken rant is further proof that Ford is unfit for the office of mayor and should resign for the good of the city.
"I was just dumbfounded," Thompson said Wednesday in an interview on CBC Radio's Metro Morning. "We'd heard from the mayor that he was turning over a new leaf. Everyone was hoping that he would change. We're learning now that he hasn't changed, he's not able to change."
Filmed Monday evening at a fast-food restaurant, the video shows an intoxicated Ford ranting and swearing while mimicking a Jamaican-style patois.
When asked about the video Tuesday, Ford admitted to drinking the night the video was shot, but said he was on his own time and in the company of friends.
Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong said the mayor’s admission that he was drinking again is a sign that he has not dealt with an issue that is affecting him.
"I think the reality is that the mayor clearly has a problem with alcohol and that he needs help," Minnan-Wong said.
Minnan-Wong said that the mayor’s issues and how they affect his ability to do his job will be something that voters will consider ahead of the October municipal election.
"Do they want someone who’s got an addiction problem, who’s going to hang out with known criminals? You know, that is a very legitimate question to ask the voters and they’ll have to evaluate that."
Rob Ford 'imploding' says Coun. Thompson
Thompson said he heard about the video while working with Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly and other councillors to hammer out details of the city budget. Thompson told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway the video is proof Ford should step aside before causing more embarrassment to the city he represents.
"He needs to get help for his own well-being," said Thompson. "This is something we see in front of us where he's imploding."
In November, Ford told CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge he was "done" with drinking, had experienced a "come-to-Jesus" moment and vowed to change his behaviour.
Those comments came after a scandal-filled 2013 in which Ford admitted to smoking crack in a "drunken stupor," appeared drunk and ranting in another video, was the subject of a police investigation and made numerous inappropriate comments.
Last fall, Ford said he planned to get help with his weight problem but he didn't need help to stop drinking.
Difficult to quit without help, expert says
Dennis Long, executive director of Toronto's Breakaway Addiction Services, said it's unlikely anyone with a chemical dependence problem can quit without professional help.
"People often say, 'Well I'm just going to stop.' In the vast majority of cases, that doesn’t work," Long said on Metro Morning.
"You can't just walk out and say, 'I'm done with drinking.' It's not that simple. Getting yourself free of a chemical dependency is a long-term project. We're not talking days or weeks or months. We're talking years."
Galloway asked Long what advice he would offer Ford. Long responded that he would advise the mayor to step away from the daily scrutiny of his job and get help.
"[I would say] 'This isn't working for you, you really need to step away for awhile, and sit down with somebody and figure out how you're going to change your behaviour.'"
Given Ford's behaviour, he isn't optimistic the mayor will take those steps. Ford plans to seek re-election in October.
In the meantime, Thompson said, Ford's antics, which have become regular fodder for television comics, have hurt Toronto's reputation worldwide.
"The position of mayor and councillors should be held in high regard," said Thompson. "We should … provide good governance and behaviour associated with our respective positions, and it's not taking place with the mayor."
When Ford arrived at city hall Wednesday morning, he refused to answer questions from a group of reporters waiting to speak with him. He attended an executive committee meeting that has been chaired by Kelly since council voted in the fall to strip Ford of his powers.
A frustrated Ford pushed his way through a crowd of reporters when he left the meeting later Wednesday.
"Stop pushing me, man!" the mayor said at one point, as he barrelled through a hallway filled with reporters and photojournalists.
Kelly issued a statement Wednesday saying council will continue to do its work despite the controversy surrounding Ford.
"We cannot be distracted by the personal actions of others," Kelly said.
Premier Kathleen Wynne was also asked about the new Ford video on Wednesday.
The premier expressed concern that the "discussion about one person's personal issues can detract and distract from the business of growing Toronto."
With files from The Canadian Press