It’s kind of hilarious that the last time I wrote about Toronto’s (to put it lightly) controversial mayor, I thought the most bizarre behaviour I had seen from him was getting up from a special Toronto meeting and putting “ROB FORD MAYOR” fridge magnets on people’s cars.
But nope, nope and nope, that does not even come close to strange Ford behaviour. Chances are you’ve probably heard about this even if you’re not from Toronto, since the story was broken by John Cook of Gawker, a US website.
In the story, first appearing on Gawker and later in the Toronto Star, the reporters (Cook of Gawker and Kevin Donovan and Robyn Doolittle of the Star) were able to view a video that was being shopped around by, supposedly, Somalian drug dealers in the Toronto area. The video showed Rob Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine. He also apparently called Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party, a “fag” and apparently referred to the students he deals with at Don Bosco as their former coach as “fucking minorities.”
For a lot of people, I don’t think it was surprising to hear about yet another stupid thing Ford may or may not have been caught doing. Don’t know if anyone was necessarily thought the latest Ford salvo would be crack-smoking allegations, but that’s what happened.
At first, Ford simply said to reporters (who understandably swarmed around his house the morning after the story broke) was that the allegations were “untrue” and “ridiculous” but then kept silent about it the rest of the day. And the day after that, and the day after that.
Eventually, Ford’s executive committee signed a letter to get Ford to speak about in full. By the way, this letter came about yesterday, at which point Ford had been silent for eight days. Ford did finally speak to the media at 3:30 p.m. yesterday, sporting a new hair cut and a look on his face that could be called a smirk or a grin depending on what you believe.
He said “I do not use crack cocaine” and said he is not an addict. It was an interesting choice of language, as many pointed out. because of the verb tense. The statement could be interpreted as “I do not currently use crack cocaine” which might suggest that he did in the past.
His denial of the allegations was interesting in that he tried to blame the Toronto Star solely for the story, even though it was Gawker that broke the story first. He then went on to talk about the fact that he was recently fired as the coach for Don Bosco but still supports the school, and then wished Mark Towhey, his former chief of staff (who he fired) the best of luck with whatever he’s going to do now.
Interesting point about the Towhey firing: the Toronto Sun (which is usually a staunch Ford supporter) claims that Towhey told them that the reason he was fired was that he suggested that Rob Ford get help in the form of rehab or whatever. The Star in this morning’s paper also suggested Towhey might have been fired when he refused to go and collect football equipment Ford had donated to the school.
A lot of people weren’t convinced by Ford’s denial thanks to his selective language and refusal to take questions. Now, if this weren’t enough, another paper published something this morning. This paper was not the Star but the Globe & Mail, one of Canada’s most prominent national newspapers.
After an 18-month investigation of the Ford family, reporters cited ten unnamed sources in saying that Doug Ford, Rob Ford’s older brother and mayoral office force, sold marijuana as a teen. As well, Rob’s brother Randy and sister Kathy were also alleged to have connections to drug dealers.
Doug Ford was quick to pounce on this one, outright denying, with very clear language, that he ever sold drugs. He used a sentence that Rob Ford should have used in yesterday’s statement. Doug said “I never sold” marijuana.
At this point, Toronto city hall is a huge circus. Nothing is going to get done unless Ford puts this to rest, and as far as I see it, that can only be done in two ways. One, Ford could hold a press conference in which he takes any and all questions aimed at him re: the crack cocaine scandal. I’d be a little more reassured if he actually says he’s never smoked crack cocaine and I’d like him to comment more on the video. Second, Rob Ford could resign.
And to be honest, I think he should. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve never been a particular fan of Rob Ford, but I think his personal drama is now stopping Toronto from doing anything, and he’s probably not building confidence in the taxpayers he’s trying to represent.
As I said in my previous Ford post, I genuinely believe, beneath the burnt bridges and buffoonery, that he wants to help Toronto become a better city. He’s just chosen way too many awful ways to do that.