TORONTO – Politicians of all stripes are calling for Mayor Rob Ford to resign after a new video emerged and he was allegedly caught in an audio recording making racist and misogynistic remarks.
The mayor is taking a leave of absence but still plans to run for reelection.
“I think it’s a horribly sad situation. I recognize that everybody makes mistakes in life and certainly at a human level I wish Rob Ford well if he is indeed sincere about dealing with his substance abuse problems,” said Councillor Josh Matlow.
“But comments that he’s made that are bigoted and homophobic and his vile remarks about my colleague Karen Stintz are completely inexcusable and therefore [he] must resign.”
‘This is the real Rob Ford’
Audio posted Wednesday evening by the Toronto Sun has a man, apparently Ford, slamming the gay community, using ethnic slurs and making sexually explicit comments about mayoral rival and former transit commission chair Karen Stintz.
“The homophobic, misogynist, hateful kind of comments he makes all the time when he’s in private have been revealed once again,” Councillor Janet Davis told reporters Thursday morning. “And I think most people have finally seen, this is the real Rob Ford. And this character is not someone we want as our leader and mayor of the city of Toronto. It is unacceptable.”
Ford can be overheard saying he’d like to “jam” Stintz in an audio recording allegedly made at an Etobicoke bar on Monday night. He also said he won’t support Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak after Hudak voted with the rest of the legislature to fly the Pride flag from Queen’s Park.
READ MORE: Rob Ford allegedly caught in racist rant
Global News has not been able to verify the authenticity of the audio recording.
Some councillors questioned whether Ford was serious about his stint in rehab or if it was a cynical way of salvaging his reelection bid.
“I think what happened here is the wheels are coming off his campaign, he has very few allies and he very clearly tumbled off the wagon,” Davis said.
Councillor Paula Fletcher questioned whether Ford’s leave was an attempt to take Torontonians “down a blind alley” and would just make it look like he’s trying to overcome his addictions.
The mayor plans to take a leave of absence to deal with his substance abuse issues, according to his lawyer Dennis Morris.
Mayoral candidate John Tory said he is “relieved” the mayor is getting help but added the thinks Ford should resign.
“I am deeply disappointed by these revelations of Mayor Ford’s behaviour. For the good of the city, I call on Mayor Ford to resign,” Tory said during a press conference Wednesday evening.
Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow said it is “obvious that Mr. Ford is a sick man.”
“It’s obvious that he has a serious drug addiction problems, substance abuse problems and I am sure that everyone in this city will join with me to wish him and hope he, has a person, recovers, recovers from his sickness and his illness and his addiction,” she said.
Watch: Olivia Chow angered and disappointed by Rob Ford’s latest comments.
She refused to call on the mayor to resign though was confident he would be voted out of office in October.
In Depth: Rob Ford
Candidate David Soknacki added his voice to the chorus of politicians calling for the mayor to resign.
“Rob Ford is not just a bad mayor. He is also a disgrace. Toronto can’t wait until October 27th,” he said in a written statement. “It is time for Rob Ford to resign, immediately.”
This isn’t the first time since revelations surrounding his substance abuse and allegations of bigotry and criminality that Ford’s colleagues – and even erstwhile allies – have called for him to step down. He has continually refused and can’t be impeached.