Mayor Rob Ford won’t resign after crack cocaine admission
ABOVE: Mayor Rob Ford admits to drug use, but won’t resign. Jackson Proskow reports.
Mayor Rob Ford is staying put.
Hours after he admitted to using crack cocaine, and as his council colleagues move to constrain his power as much as they can, Ford apologized once again but said he has no intention of stepping down.
“For the sake of the taxpayers of this great city, for the sake of the taxpayers, we must give back to work immediately. We must keep Toronto moving forward,” he said at an afternoon press conference. “I was elected to do a job. And that’s exactly what I’m going to continue doing.”
Ford said he kept his crack cocaine use from everyone – including his brother and advocate, Councillor Doug Ford, who stood behind the mayor during his statement.
“I was embarrassed and ashamed,” Rob Ford said. “To the residents of Toronto, I know I have let you down. And I can’t do anything else but apologize and apologize. And I’m so sorry.”
He had denied those allegations until Tuesday, when he told a crush of reporters outside of his office that he had, in fact, used the drug. He doesn’t remember exactly when, claiming to have been in a “drunken stupor.” But he guessed it was around a year ago.
WATCH: Mayor Rob Ford apologizes but says he will not resign after admitting to drug use.
His apology Tuesday followed a blanket apology Sunday, when he admitted to being drunk at the Taste of the Danforth earlier this year and to having a drunken “party” at city hall on St. Patrick’s Day in 2012 (security emails regarding the latter mentioned Ford, visibly intoxicated, wandering city hall with a half-empty bottle of brandy).
“Folks, I have nothing left to hide,” he said Tuesday.
But the mayor took no questions after his statement, during which he appeared to tear up briefly.
“We live in a democracy,” he said – and he wants Torontonians to choose whether to turf him in next October’s election.
WATCH: Media strategist surprised Ford is not taking leave of absence. Cindy Pom reports.
Mark Towhey, the mayor’s former chief of staff who was fired in May days after crack cocaine allegations first arose, said he wasn’t surprised by Ford’s refusal to resign.
“He’s a football player, he likes to just barrel forward,” Towhey said.
But he thinks a temporary leave of absence might save the mayor’s political career.
“If he stops being mayor for just a little while – he doesn’t have to give up his job – and he dealt with it, based on what he’s said in the last few days, I think he has a chance. People might forgive him,” Towhey said. “He can come back and say, ‘I’m a new man, I’ve dealt with it. now let’s get on with the rest of the business of running the city.’”
WATCH: Toronto residents divided on Mayor Rob Ford following his admission
Many of the mayor’s colleagues are not as patient.
Throughout the day, several councillors urged the mayor to resign or at least take a temporary leave of absence. Former ally Denzil Minnan-Wong drafted a motion requesting as much, saying the mayor’s behaviour is hurting the city.
Ford ignored those calls Tuesday.
TTC Chair and mayoral rival Karen Stintz said soon after the mayor’s announcement that Ford had created “a void” that council needs to fill. But she admitted “council can do nothing” to remove him from office.
“We will continue to do the business of the city,” she said.
WATCH: Councillors Stintz, Vaughan and Fletcher react following Rob Ford’s presser repeating their calls for him to step down
Adam Vaughan, a longtime opponent of the mayor, was disappointed by Ford’s afternoon press conference and suggested neither the mayor nor his brother Doug (after his calls for Blair to resign) should hold public office.
“[Rob Ford] has so clearly violated the trust that the city put in him, he and his brother. And it’s time just to move on,” Vaughan told reporters at city hall. “They have to be isolated. They can’t be allowed to govern the city, they shouldn’t be allowed to hold office, in my opinion.”