It appears that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been caught on tape, once again, with what some are calling the troubled public official’s unfortunate “extra-curricular activity” – smoking crack cocaine. With the latest video footage surfacing of Mayor Ford partaking in the illicit drug, Ford announced on Wednesday that he has decided to take a break from politics to deal with his substance abuse issues.
The video, which was released to the media on Wednesday, shows Ford inhaling from a crack pipe and exhaling a puff of smoke. According to reports, the footage was shot unbeknownst to Mayor Ford on the previous Saturday in a basement around 1:15 a.m. by a drug dealer.
Rob Ford being caught in this latest public display could not have come at a more inconvenient time for the mayor, who was in the midst of embarking on a reelection campaign to keep his seat as leader of Canada’s largest city. The campaign was tailored around the message of second chances and learning from mistakes. In light of recent developments with this alleged use of crack, those close to the campaign say that Ford will take a break and suspend further efforts for reelection, and remove himself from his current duties as mayor, while he addresses his inner demons.
Mayor Ford made international headlines last year when, after vehemently denying ever engaging in the use of crack cocaine and abusing alcohol, he was forced to confess his problems, chalking up the experience to being in a “drunken stupor.” Now on his trail, the Canadian media took the time to relentlessly follow Ford’s every move. Cameras caught the mayor recently acting erratically, discombobulated and even making inappropriate and highly offensive remarks across Canadian television news outlets. Ford was reportedly seen as recently as this past weekend acting unruly in a neighborhood bar; cursing, making sexual remarks about his female rival in the run for mayor, and even attempting to start a fight.
In a public statement to the residents of Toronto, Mayor Ford confessed to his constituents that he indeed does have a problem with alcohol and is withdrawing from his run for reelection to commit himself to achieving full sobriety. Many on Toronto’s city council, who have seen the mayor spiral out of control over the past year, have responded favorably to the mayor’s decision to take the necessary steps and face his problem head-on by seeking the help he will need to get better.
The vast opinion of the city’s residents say that as publicly humiliating as it seems, getting caught with crack the second time around may have been just what the troubled mayor needed. Torontonians say that this time Ford does need to break away from the public spectacle he has become and assess his life. As for the future of his political career, Toronto council member Frank Di Giorgio was quoted as saying it is too soon to tell if the mayor can ever make a comeback into the political arena. Di Giorgio stated that sobriety is a process and it is just a matter of how long it will take for Mayor Ford to do the necessary work to help himself.
By Hal Banfield