Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Ford apologises but will not resign

Toronto mayor Rob Ford did not address allegations of drug use and said he will continue to lead Canada's largest city despite pressure to resign (AP/The Canadian Press, Mark Blinch)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has apologised for "a lot of stupid things" and acknowledged the need to curb his drinking.

But he did not address allegations of drug use and said he will continue to lead Canada's largest city despite pressure to resign.

"I'm going to weather this storm," he said yesterday.

Mr Ford made his remarks on his local weekly radio show three days after police said they had obtained a copy of a video that appears to show the mayor puffing on a crack cocaine pipe.

The video was recovered from a computer hard drive during an investigation of an associate of Mr Ford's who is suspected of providing him drugs.

Police have said they do not have grounds to charge the mayor with any crime.

Ford did not address the contents of the video yesterday, saying he cannot comment on a tape he has not seen.

"Whatever this video shows, Toronto residents deserve to see it and people need to judge for themselves what they see on this video," he said.

Police said the video will come out when Mr Ford's associate Alexander Lisi goes to trial on drug and extortion charges.

Lisi is accused of threatening two alleged gang members who had been trying to sell the video to the media.

Police have said they want to talk to Mr Ford, but his lawyer so far has declined.

Mr Ford yesterday admitted making "mistakes" but declined to take a leave of absence or resign.

"I sincerely apologise, there's absolutely no excuse, no one to blame but myself," he said.

"I am going to fight like no one has seen before to win the next election" in October 2014.

Later, he told Toronto radio station AM640: "I am not a crack addict. I'm not an addict of any type of drug -- even alcohol."

All four major Toronto newspapers have called on Mr Ford to resign. Municipal law makes no provision for his forced removal from office unless he is convicted and jailed for a criminal offence.

The populist, conservative mayor also said he would agree to have a full-time city driver, a proposal he had rejected before as a waste of taxpayers' money.

Mr Ford said yesterday he should not have been drunk in public when he appeared at a street festival in August, calling it "pure stupidity".

He also said he got "a little out of control" after St Patrick's Day in 2012, when city hall security guards said they witnessed a "very intoxicated' Mr Ford having trouble walking, and swearing at aides.

Mr Ford warned yesterday: "I'm not saying here I'm not going to drink again. That's not realistic. Just slow down on the eating and drinking and everything."

AP

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