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Can Rob Ford be charged for admitting he purchased illegal drugs?

Watch: Ford admits to buying drugs

TORONTO – As Toronto city councillors debated asking Toronto Mayor Rob to apologize, cooperate with police and take a leave of absence in light of the ongoing scandal that has engulfed his office, the mayor made a startling admission about his past behaviour.

“Have you purchased illegal drugs in the last two years?” Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong asked Ford in council Wednesday.

“Yes. I have,” Ford replied.

It’s the latest in a line of startling admissions from Toronto’s mayor, who in the past two weeks has openly admitted to having smoked crack cocaine as well as being publicly intoxicated on at least one occasion last year.

In the past, the mayor has said he smoked an illegal substance while in a ‘drunken stupor’, stressing he did so while extremely inebriated, to the point that he doesn’t remember being recorded.

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Chief Blair responds to Ford’s illegal drug admission: “We investigate all allegations of criminality”

Did Ford incriminate himself with his admission?

Toronto Police told Global News they have passed Rob Ford’s statement on to investigators, but would not comment on potential charges that could be associated with consuming or purchasing illegal drugs.

However, criminal defense lawyer Lawrence Ben-Eliezer says the sparse details Ford provided would not be enough to charge him.

“You have to specify the drug, you have to specify the date, you have to specify the place. He might have bought the drugs in Botswana,” Ben-Eliezer said.

“That may sound ridiculous, but that’s the way the law works.”

WATCH: Why hasn’t Mayor Rob Ford been charged? Mark Carcasole reports. 

Ben-Eliezer says that the real question is whether Ford’s indiscretions will compel Queen’s Park to put forward legislation that would remove the mayor from office – something that is within the province’s power to do, he notes.

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“A municipality is the province’s chew toy. They can do with it whatever they want, subject to Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But essentially they can do with it what they want.”

Section 92.8 of the Constitution Act gives the provincial legislature the power to create municipal laws.
Ben-Eliezer says that could include amending the municipal act, passing brand new impeachment legislation.

Theoretically, he says it could remove Ford from office “in under an hour.”

Related: Want Rob Ford out of office? Talk to Kathleen Wynne | Does Ontario need recall legislation?

However, the provincial government has never passed case-specific legislation. Ben-Eliezer says he doesn’t think they will start doing so now, nor should they.

“You start doing that, you’re enabling the province to engage in witch hunts. If you institute a program of impeachment, then you engage a process where both sides of the dispute have a chance to be heard.”

Asked whether admitting to an illegal act could lead to criminal charges, Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General would not comment specifically, saying that “police investigations and the laying of criminal charges is a function of the police, independent of the Ministry.

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With files from James Armstrong

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