Today Thu Fri
It is forecast to be Mostly Cloudy at 11:00 PM EDT on July 23, 2014
Mostly Cloudy
It is forecast to be Partly Cloudy at 11:00 PM EDT on July 24, 2014
Partly Cloudy
It is forecast to be Clear at 11:00 PM EDT on July 25, 2014



Rob Ford Temporarily Suspending Mayoral Campaign to Seek Help for Substance Abuse Issues

Decision reportedly follows new recordings featuring the mayor allegedly smoking crack cocaine and making inappropriate remarks and acting out at an Etobicoke bar.

rob ford crack council drost

In a press conference on November 5, Rob Ford claimed he had put his crack smoking behind him, saying it would “never, ever, ever” happen again.

Rob Ford’s lawyer, Dennis Morris, has confirmed to the Canadian Press that the mayor is taking a leave of absence from his re-election campaign to get help for substance abuse issues after new videos and audio recordings have emerged featuring the mayor saying racist and misogynist remarks, smoking crack, and a report that the mayor got upset with Justin Bieber at a nighclub after the pop star joked if Ford had crack on him.

The story first broke when the Toronto Sun reported that the paper “obtained a new raunchy audio recording of Ford ranting and swearing in an Etobicoke bar” on Monday night. Among the targets of his comments were fellow mayoral contender Karen Stintz and Ford’s wife, Renata.

The audio was recorded at Sullie Gorman’s, a pub by his mother’s house in Royal York Plaza, located across the street from a park named for his late father. Ford is recorded saying he’d “like to fucking jam [Karen Stintz].” In an interview with the Sun, Ford said he wouldn’t use that terminology, would like the audio to be verified, and added that he was joking.

Through a spokesperson, the Stintz campaign released a statement on the audio:

The comments released tonight by Mayor Rob Ford are deeply offensive to everyone living in Toronto. That a sitting mayor would make such shocking and bigoted remarks is disgusting…. In addition to seeking help, we hope for a full apology from Rob Ford, not only to Karen, but to all in this great city who expect more from their mayor.

The mayor also used the term “dago” in the recording, an ethnic slur for an individual from Italy, Spain, or Portugal. He also criticized Conservative leader Tim Hudak for supporting the pride flag, adding he might vote for the Green Party instead. In a tweet, Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner responded with, “Dear Rob, thanks, but no thanks. Greens are working to end sexism and homophobia.”

After this, the Globe and Mail reported that two reporters saw three new video clips of the mayor allegedly smoking crack cocaine. The footage was reportedly taken early Saturday morning at 1:15 a.m. and it appears as though Rob’s sister Kathy Ford, who has an admitted history with drug use, and Sandro Lisi, who has drug-related convictions, also appear in the footage. The video clips are being shopped to various media outlets for “at least six figures.” Stills from the videos also appear on Gawker.

The Toronto Star then published a separate story, detailing Ford’s relationship with Muzik nightclub, where Ford had a run-in with Bieber in March. The pop star joked about Ford’s crack use when the mayor went to shake his hand, and quickly went back to his private booth. With party hostesses and people he just met at Nathan Phillips Square, the mayor allegedly partied until 5 a.m. The report also claims that Ford was in the washroom for 45 minutes, vomited, appeared impaired, and returned to drink some more. According to the Star, witnesses claim Ford said that his “wife and children do not like him” and “he is in over his head.”

The Star reports that on a night in April an unidentified person says Ford was doing lines of cocaine. The report goes on to detail Ford’s special relationship with the owner of Muzik, who recently lobbied to shut down a rival dance party and provided booze for the past two Ford Fests. In the report, owner Zlatko Starkovski is quoted as telling staff, “Rob Ford is our best customer. His money is no good here.”

Ford’s decision to go to rehab comes only comes on the heels of these reports, with his lawyer Dennis Morris saying the mayor needs time off to “freshen up.” Ford released a statement saying, “It’s not easy to be vulnerable and this is one of the most difficult times in my life. I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence. I have struggled with this for some time.”

Over the past year, Ford has repeatedly denied or downplayed suggestions he has a substance abuse problem and reportedly rejected help when people encouraged him to enter rehab.

People from across the political spectrum urged Ford to resign immediately, from John Tory and David Soknacki to Josh Matlow (Ward 22, St. Paul’s). For now, Ford’s name will remain on the ballot. There is no word on when he will return to campaigning.

More to come.


  • OgtheDim

    The Globe has a story about a Saturday video, and a screenshot of him doing crack.

    How anybody could now consider voting for this guy…..

    • CYW

      But they will. They will say the recordings are fake and that he was stalked, harassed and persecuted and completely ignore that the mayor of Toronto was doing ILLEGAL drugs in his sister’s basement.

      • dsmithhfx

        “Ford said he wouldn’t use that terminology, would like the audio to be verified, and added that he was joking.”

      • BlueCollarBusinessMan

        You try having people accuse you of smoking crack all the time, and spy on you, heck, it would be enough to make the Pope smoke crack.
        I hope he finds Jesus in rehab

        • dsmithhfx

          “You try having people accuse you of smoking crack all the time, and spy on you, heck, it would be enough to make the Pope smoke crack.”

          He was only accused of it after the first video was shopped around, and three different reporters watched it and verified his identity.

          Then he denied it, so it came down to: who is lying. Surprise, surprise: he was.

          Did he continue to smoke crack, even after that: obviously yes, as recently as Saturday. Did he continue to lie about it: yes.

          OK, he clearly has an issue with substance abuse, like many other people. It is clearly affecting his ability to do his job. He is involved in a criminal activity that is very destructive in our city, and that ties up a lot of very, very expensive police work.

          He should resign and go find Jesus or whatever. He’s not fit to be mayor. “Not perfect” doesn’t quite cut it. End of.

        • torontothegreat

          What ridiculous logic. It’s like those stupid people who say “Well you accused me of cheating you on so many times, so what did you expect?”

          You’d expect any sensible person would fix the problem, not become the problem.

        • CYW

          He was doing drugs long before he became mayor. And, don’t forget that he and his brothers were dealers in high school. Ironic that Rob is addicted to the same drug he pedalled in high school …. think about how many young lives he and his brother ruined selling drugs to teens …

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      They’ll point to his rehab as evidence that he’s a good guy doing the right thing. There’s no getting through to Ford Nation.

      • dsmithhfx

        I expect he’ll lose a few more percentage points over this, and come October, a good half of his hard core supporters will either vote for another conservative (if they can learn to mouth some populist rhetoric), or just not turn out.

  • Sandy

    Hopefully this is his rock bottom and he will finally get help. I’m no addictions expert, but I’m not convinced 30 days is enough. I hope he is well-advised by true addictions specialists, and not by members of his enabling family. I take it as a positive sign that Doug Ford is not the spokesman for Rob Ford at this particular moment. Maybe Rob realizes he can’t depend on his brother to steer him towards the help he needs.

    • OpportKnocks

      Doug has said little for a couple weeks which is very unusual for him. I think the rift between them that Toohey referred to when he left has become a chasm and it is officially over.

      No money + no credibility = no campaign

      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        I agree. Except for his campaign kickoff and the ensuing kerfuffle over the firetruck, Doug has been rather quiet. Very un-Doug. I’d heard a rumour that he was in the US looking for an experienced backroom type to help run the Ford campaign. My feeling is that Ford knows he’s toast, so he’s going to do whatever he pleases and that means lots of partying. If he’s caught so what? There is a safety net for him: he liked the job of Councillor and he could always go back and do that in his old seat. Rob’s not a quitter but if
        he’s sure he’s going to lose he might do that citing health reasons. God knows his brothers don’t want him around Decco.

        • torontothegreat

          A candidate can lose the mayorality but keep their councillor seat?

          • dsmithhfx

            Ford is mayor, not a councillor. He would have to run for council again. Maybe if he withdraws from the mayors race, he could run in the upcoming election. I don’t see him doing that, though.

          • bobloblawbloblawblah

            It’s hard to picture him dropping out….Ford isn’t a quitter. He di like and understand the job of councillor. He never really liked the Mayor’s job and the stress which is why started partying. From most accounts he was good councillor, not a policy guy but one who cut through the red tape. He could easily return to that if his ego lets him.

          • dsmithhfx

            Maybe he was good at helping constituents. At city hall though he was a contrarian pain in the ass, a very rude and disruptive bully.

          • bobloblawbloblawblah

            No, I mean he could jsut drop out of the race and run in his old ward. He’d win in a heartbeat.

          • torontothegreat

            I honestly think he’d love that, but Family Ford won’t have it. Kind of sad really.

          • bobloblawbloblawblah

            Well, that’s the problem….the whole family seems to dwell in this world of illusion where Rob is Mayor and Doug goes on to be Premier and anyone who questions this is the enemy. Mama Ford has them believing they’re the Canadian Kennedys. The whole thing is killing Rob who just wants to drink away the pressure of a job he doesn’t understand or like. Rob has daddy issues and won’t want to disappoint the Family. Not until the Ford Clan adjust their thinking will there be a change. Not until they realize that the whole world isn’t in love with them and wants them in charge.

          • torontothegreat

            It’s sad, but very true. Clearly Dianne and Doug want to have this political legacy but for some reason or another they injected Rob into it instead of themselves, I would suspect by taking opportunity in the fact that he was already a seated councillor. If you really parse his actions early on in his career it’s like he went into muni politics just to get away from them, just like he says he’ll move to Cali if he’s not elected, in some weird passive denial of his own situation with his family.

      • Matthew Fabb

        On Twitter there’s been a photo of Doug Ford heading to Chicago to apparently deal with some Deco business stuff. Looks like Doug Ford was out of town while this happen and possibly still down there now.

        • Paul Kishimoto

          God willing, he stays.

    • torontothegreat

      This is definitely not rock bottom. Rock bottom is personal and not based on optics.

    • rich1299

      30 days definitely isn’t enough, its just the beginning of a long process. Typical in-hospital addiction treatment is 21 days since that’s how long OHIP will pay for plus aftercare group therapy usually once per week for about a year or so which is the most critical part of the treatment. You need to have done a very basic early treatment group before attending the 21 day in-hospital program, for the early treatment section you’re not expected to be sober all the time and you cannot show up for group if you’ve used so far that day, if you show up intoxicated, and they can tell, you’ll be kicked out of that group though welcomed back if sober at the next one. You’re expected to have been sober for a few days before the 21 day program, or if you can’t manage it then a week in the detox ward just before the 21day program starts.

      During those 21 days you’re just learning the basics, learning about your addiction but rarely getting so in-depth to understand why you became addicted, learning about proper nutrition, other things you can do besides use, and the basic techniques of relapse prevention including relaxation techniques and easy at home type exercise routines. You have several hours of group therapy and several hours with certain specialists in different fields every day. You cannot leave the property till the 2nd weekend and only if you’re doing well. You can be kicked out of the residential program if you use and your use has a negative effect on others in the program, its a very difficult time and seeing someone intoxicated just makes things much harder. 21 days goes by very quickly.

      The aftercare treatment following this 21 days is the most vital part of the whole treatment
      program, many people skip the in-hospital portion and go from the early
      treatment group right into after care depending on their particular case. Its not uncommon for some to need many years of trying and often several times through the program before they can get and stay sober.

      The first 1-1.5 years or so is the hardest time to remain sober, its most common for people to relapse at certain points in their recovery and that will be discussed with you so you know when you need to be extra careful. If Rob were to stay sober and start treatment today he’d be at high risk to relapse just before the election and around the time of taking office again, if he were to be re-elected that is. If he were able to stay sober for over one year the chances of him relapsing drop off significantly though of course its always possible.

      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        From what I’ve read, he’s heading somewhere undisclosed in the US. The OHIP thing won’t apply, not that Ford is worried about the dough.

        A thought tho’: he’s taken a leave of absence….I wonder if he’s still getting paid?

        • rich1299

          I’d hope not

  • Ronda Zwierz

    Can’t wait to see the next poll results.

  • OgtheDim

    Best line of the night comes from Johnathan Goldbie to John Barber

    “You were swearing at Rob Ford before it was cool.”

    This follows Barber tweeting (which he doesn’t do much of)

    “Crack, sexism, racism, inexcusable vulgarity, rank idiocy… That’s not news. Tell me something I don’t already know.”

  • OgtheDim

    And now Mammo is threatening to run for Mayor.

    Who writes this stuff?

    • dsmithhfx

      Someone’s got to carry the idiot torch.

  • Ronda Zwierz

    I could never have imagined a conversation like this a couple of years ago, but I can now easily see overhearing this:

    “You know that video where the mayor was smoking crack? No, not that one – the other one…”

  • istoronto

    Mayor Ford. 300 strikes and you’re out! At least I hope so. If someone a little smarter and liberal were to do 1/10th of what Ford has done, regardless of an addiction, they would have be tossed out long ago.

  • istoronto

    Last I heard, possessing & doing illegal drugs is a crime. Is Ford really going into rehab? Or is going into hiding?

  • Notcleverguy

    Not good enough, he really needs to resign and step completely out of the 2014 race. Saying he’s going to “rehab” and then planning on coming back as if he hasn’t been a chronic liar to the entire city is part of his ongoing long con as far as I’m concerned.

  • torontothegreat

    Has the word rehab actually been used? I’m hearing lots of “getting professional help” but last time we heard that he got a trainer and called it a day.

    • dsmithhfx

      He’s been “working out”, um… bending his elbow, jogging across parking lots…

      • torontothegreat

        I just don’t like how the media is injecting words into this that haven’t been used. They should know better with Ford.

        • dsmithhfx

          I think “rehab” did come up in Warmington’s latest interview.

          • torontothegreat

            “You’ll have to take that comment up with Joe” – Doug Ford in 2 months.

            If it was anyone but Wormington, I “might” believe it.

  • OpportKnocks

    I hear there is an opening as Donald Sterling’s Executive Assistant in LA. Seems like a perfect fit.

    • dsmithhfx

      Does it involve showing up for work, sober? Fuggedaboudit.

      • torontothegreat

        If you’re female and under 24 he won’t notice

  • dsmithhfx

    Good point. Did they even make a weekly installment, or was Rob too busy spewing all over Muzik and trying to pick a fight with Justin Bieber last weekend?