ABOVE: Jackson Proskow has the latest on the ongoing controversy surrounding Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
TORONTO – Pressure continues to mount against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford after he made a shocking admission Tuesday of having smoked crack cocaine in the past.
Global News municipal reporter Jackson Proskow was front and centre of the media scrum where Ford made the announcement that caught everyone off guard.
“Something made him stop and talk yesterday,” said Proskow in a panel discussion on The Morning Show. “This was a complete surprise, not only to the staff at the mayor’s office, to the mayor’s own lawyer.”
In a late afternoon press conference, Ford made an emotional speech about being ashamed and embarrassed but still felt he had no reason to resign.
The mayor went on further to say that the public can decide whether to remove him from office when he runs for re-election next October. But critics say the damage may have already been done.
“He hasn’t really incriminated himself, except in the court of public opinion where now he’s come across as a liar,” said municipal lawyer John Mascarin. “He said for months he hasn’t done crack cocaine, and now he comes out and says it.”
Ford’s comments come just days after police said they recovered a video depicting the mayor smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.
Meanwhile, Ford’s behaviour has sparked considerable concern from his colleagues at city hall who are continuing plans to restrict his power as mayor or reiterating calls for him to step aside.
“It’s also a man for six months has deliberately lied, covered up, muddied the truth, attacked those who dared even put questions to him, and that’s going to be the longer term credibility problem,” said Bob Reid, Lead Strategist at Veritas Communications.
Court documents released last week into the Information-To-Obtain (ITO) search warrants of Mayor Ford’s friend and occasional driver, Alexander “Sandro” Lisi, revealed that Ford was also the focus of a lengthy police investigation.
Lisi, arrested on drug charges Oct. 1, has also been charged with extortion.
“He must have some knowledge, some inkling of what else he did in the past six month,” said Toronto Star reporter Kevin Donovan in an interview on The Morning Show. “The police were tailing him, watching him at all time. There are massive pages of this search warrant document, page after page blacked out.”
“He must know there is something damaging in there and for some reason he decided to make this admission now.”