Toronto's deputy mayor sends contradictory message, simultaneously saying that Rob Ford needs to address crack allegations for the city to move on, but also that business at City Hall is proceeding normally.
For the second time this week someone other than the mayor held a major press conference in response to allegations that Rob Ford has been captured on video smoking crack cocaine and making racist and homophobic slurs. On Wednesday it was the mayor’s brother Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North); today it was deputy mayor Doug Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre). At times looking frustrated, Holyday spoke with reporters in an attempt to reassure the public that work continues at City Hall despite the controversy surrounding the mayor. He also confirmed that several members of council’s executive committee—a cabinet–like group that consists of the mayor’s closest allies—are drafting an open letter that will ask the mayor to address the allegations directly and clearly. That letter is expected later this afternoon.
Capturing a long week at City Hall, in which the mayor has been facing increasingly loud calls from all corners to speak publicly about substance abuse allegations, Holyday said: “Someone has to say something on behalf of the administration, and I guess that’s why I’m here.”
“We can do our business here,” Holyday emphasized. “If the mayor was hospitalized, or if the mayor went on vacation, or something else happened to take him away from the seat [of power] at City Hall here, we would still continue on with business—that’s the way this is set up. This operation doesn’t depend on any one person.”
“I don’t know if crisis is the right word,” Holyday said when asked if we were in the middle of one, “it’s certainly a situation we have to deal with.”
Members of the executive committee, which includes Rob Ford, are slated to gather later today for a briefing on the agenda for their next meeting, which is scheduled for this upcoming Tuesday. Holyday said that he expects the mayor will be in attendance this afternoon.
Reporters asked Holyday if he had any reason to believe that Ford has a substance abuse problem. His one-word answer: “No.”