Toronto Mayor Ford admits he smoked crack; will not resign

Tue Nov 5, 2013 5:33pm EST
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted on Tuesday he has smoked crack cocaine, probably "in one of my drunken stupors," but insisted he's not an addict and said he would stay in office and run for reelection next year.

Speaking just days after Toronto's police chief confirmed that police have recovered a copy of a video that two media organizations have said shows the mayor smoking the drug, Ford said he had smoked crack about a year ago.

"Yes I have smoked crack cocaine... Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago," he told reporters outside his office.

Later, he returned to address the media with an emotional formal statement. "To the residents of Toronto, I know I have let you down, and I can't do anything else but apologize," he said.

Elected in 2010 on a cost-cutting platform, Ford has been able to maintain strong voter support in his suburban base even as the scandal has escalated. A poll taken after Police Chief Bill Blair confirmed the existence of the video put Ford's approval rating at 44 percent, up five points from a previous poll.

But while Ford's popular support has held strong, his once rock-solid supporters at City Hall have started wavering.

City councilor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a member of Ford's cabinet-like executive committee, said he will bring a motion to the next city council meeting asking Ford to take a leave of absence. Council does not have the power to force Ford out of office.

"It is very disappointing to have the mayor of the City of Toronto admit to smoking crack cocaine," he told reporters. "I was disappointed at two levels: firstly that he did it, but secondly that it took him so long to admit it."   Continued...

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (R) speaks to the media at Toronto City Hall November 5, 2013 as Ford's brother, Doug Ford, looks on from left. REUTERS/Aaron Harris