Rob Ford should step aside, get help, politicians say
Despite admission he smoked crack cocaine, Toronto mayor stays on the job
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's admission that he smoked crack cocaine drew swift reaction from local, provincial and federal politicians, with several urging him to step aside, at least temporarily.
In an afternoon statement, Ford apologized again for the embarrassment he has caused the city, but he gave no indication he was prepared to step aside.
"To the residents of Toronto, I know I have let you down," he said to members of the media gathered at city hall.
While Ford apologized, he also sounded a defiant tone: "For the sake of the taxpayers, we must get back to work immediately."
Several members of Toronto City Council had urged Ford to step aside following his confirmation earlier in the day that he had used crack cocaine.
"There's simply no credibility left," Coun. Jaye Robinson said after Ford's afternoon statement.
"I can't trust anything they say," said Coun. Adam Vaughan, speaking of the mayor and his brother, Coun. Doug Ford.
"I think it’s time for him to take a break," said Toronto Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, who is a member of Ford's executive council.
Minnan-Wong has prepared a motion calling on Ford to apologize, co-operate with police in their investigation and to take a temporary leave of absence.
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Coun. Karen Stintz, who announced in late October that she would challenge Ford for the mayor chair's in the 2014 municipal election, tweeted: "Our city, even his supporters, have been betrayed by Mayor Rob Ford's crack cocaine admission. #Toronto deserves better leadership."
"I'm not sure his sincere apology is going to be sincere enough," said Coun. Paula Fletcher.
However, not every councillor was urging the mayor to go.
Coun. Peter Leon said it's the mayor's decision whether he steps down.
"I would rather leave this alone for now.... I'm more concerned with doing the business that is before us for the City of Toronto," he said.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said the issue is making it difficult for the city to carry on business.
"We want municipalities to be able to function and there is a huge amount of turmoil at city hall right now," she said.
"The police service and the judicial system have to take action. But the mayor will have to make his decisions about what is appropriate right now."
Doug Holyday, the former deputy mayor of Toronto and now an MPP, said: "Well, I'm saddened by that, and that's a problem that many families have gone through, but you have to seek help as many situations arises, and I think he should seek help."
Asked if he thinks Ford should step aside, Holyday responded: "I leave that up to him, but I think it would complicated and difficult to fulfil his job as mayor if he was receiving treatment for addiction problems."
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said: "I'm not going to give advice to Mayor Ford on what he should or shouldn't do. That's up to him and his conscience."
Several federal cabinet ministers also weighed in on Ford's admission.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay called it a "sad day" for Toronto, adding that he thinks Ford needs to get help.
"I'm the attorney general of Canada, I'm the justice minister. You know where I stand on the use of illegal drugs," he said.
MacKay wouldn't say if he thinks Ford should step down or be charged.
"I'm not in a position to direct the police. Those are beyond the purview of the attorney general and the minister of justice," he said.
Industry Minister James Moore tweeted: "Schadenfreude can be so incredibly ugly. Particularly in the context of the disease of addiction."
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the MP for Whitby-Oshawa east of Toronto, said he had no comment on Ford's admission.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau both said they hope Ford gets help.
With files from The Canadian Press