TORONTO — Councillor John Parker suggested Thursday Mayor Rob Ford can no longer dodge questions in light of revelations by Police Chief Bill Blair.
“This is obviously serious business that requires close attention,” he said outside the mayor’s office, where a crush of reporters awaits Ford’s arrival.
“We would all do well to take a deep breath,” said Parker, who said the latest allegations are “too fresh” for him to comment about whether the mayor needs to step down.
“I’ve said all along it would be in his best interests to be clear and I still feel the same way. I guess now more than ever.”
Asked if a politician can survive this kind of scandal, Parker said: “I guess we’re about to find out.”
Earlier, councillor James Pasternak said “our patience isn’t limitless.”
Ford’s rival in the last election. George Smitherman, told Global News he is watching the story unfold but doesn’t want to add his voice to the discussion.
Reporters camped outside the mayor’s office let out a cheer upon learning Blair confirmed a video was discovered during the police investigation. Some said it was vindication after denials by Ford and his supporters.
Coun. Gloria Lindsay Luby told Global News she feels the mayor has lied to her. “He’s been lying to a lot of people, absolutely,” she said.
Luby said Ford needs to step down until he can clear his name.
Video: Councillor Paula Fletcher shocked by latest Ford revelations.
Coun. Paula Fletcher added: “It does appear the mayor has been acting to look after himself.”
She called the day’s developments “unnerving” and said it is an “unprecedented moment” for the city.
Fletcher said the mayor must now “act in the best interest of Toronto.”
Coun. Joe Mihevc called it a sad day and said Toronto’s eye is “blackened” again.
“He has clearly deceived people and he needs to come clean about what he’s been doing,” said Mihevc.
“He has to account for the lies and falsehoods he has perpetrated on the citizens of Toronto. That much he needs to do.”
Mihevc said he felt disappointed and hurt by Thursday’s allegations, none of which have been proven in court.
Asked if Ford can still serve as mayor, the councillor replied: “Probably not.”
Coun. Frank Di Giorgio defended the mayor and said he isn’t going to rush to judgment.
“I don’t think there is compelling evidence that would say he should resign,” he said. “He can continue to work and conduct the affairs of the city.”
Di Giorgio also took a semantic approach to Ford’s denials about the video.
Did Ford not deny smoking crack?
“He doesn’t do it every day,” said Di Giorgio. “I don’t know.”
Video: Shelley Carroll calls on Mayor Rob Ford to step down