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Reaction Roundup: Rob Ford’s Leave of Absence

Mayoral candidates respond to news of another crack video, more inappropriate comments, and Ford's decision to take time away.

This morning, Rob Ford filed written notice of a personal leave of absence. His decision to take time away from his mayoral duties and re-election campaign was spurred by new allegations of drug use and inappropriate behaviour that emerged last night in three Toronto newspapers: the Toronto Sun released an audio recording of Mayor Ford making racist, homophobic, misogynistic, and lewd comments while intoxicated; the Globe reported on the existence of a second alleged crack video, this one filmed Saturday in Kathy Ford’s basement; and the Toronto Star revealed that Ford recently enjoyed a rowdy evening at Muzik nightclub that involved a dispute with none other than Justin Bieber.

Some of his rivals in the mayoral election were quick to respond to these latest developments. John Tory released a statement last night in which he argued a leave of absence is not sufficient:

“Like Torontonians across the city, I am deeply disappointed by these revelations of Mayor Ford’s behaviour. For the good of the city, I call on Mayor Ford to resign.”

David Soknacki’s statement was even more to the point:

“Rob Ford is not just a bad mayor. He is also a disgrace. Toronto can’t wait until October 27th. It is time for Rob Ford to resign, immediately.”

Sarah Thomson, too, called on the mayor to step down, though she also suggested the media should give him some space:

“It is the time for the media to leave Mr. Ford and his family alone. Mr. Ford has challenges to deal with both emotionally and physically.

The Olivia Chow camp did not release an official comment last night, saying, “An announcement of Mr Ford’s nature deserves a considered response, and we will not prematurely speculate.” But today, Chow addressed the latest developments in the scandal:

“He chose to ignore calls to get help last year. The appropriate time to take a leave was then. The appropriate course now is for voters to choose a new mayor on October 27.”

She did not insist the mayor step down, instead stressing that it would be up to voters to render a verdict in the coming election.

Karen Stintz, who was the target of lewd comments from Ford in the recording obtained by the Sun, did not immediately respond to the revelations. Yesterday, her team sent out a statement indicating that “the comments released tonight by Mayor Rob Ford are deeply offensive to everyone living in Toronto” and “that a sitting mayor would make such shocking and bigoted remarks is disgusting”—it also called for “a full apology from Rob Ford, not only to Karen, but to all in this great city who expect more from their mayor.”

Today, Stintz addressed the media and spoke of her “shock and disappointment”:

“There is no place in this city for sexism or homophobia, especially in the mayor’s office.”

Like Chow, though, Stintz stopped short of calling for the mayor’s resignation.

UPDATE: May 1, 2014, 10:40 AM This post has been updated with information about more recent statements from Olivia Chow and Karen Stintz.


  • dsmithhfx

    “It is the time for the media to leave Mr. Ford and his family alone.”

    Not while he’s still mayor, and a candidate for re-election. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

    • rich1299

      I think they’re trying to not alienate those who still feel bad for Ford on a personal level since they just might vote for them (Chow and Stintz) instead if the tread carefully. His family should left out of it though unless he trots them out again like he did after his “I got enough to eat at home” comments.

  • Deep Diver

    The equation is simple: resign + go away = media will cease reporting on you.

    Not particularly complicated.

  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    I was wondering why Chow hadn’t said anything last night,. but what the heck is Thomson talking about? “Leave Mr. Ford and his family alone” ? It’s not like there has been a death in his family. Ford’s out of control behaviour over the past year, his lying and denying are at the heart of this issue. Once again people are going to give this egotistical man-Child a pass? He should resign, drop out of the race and get his life in order. He’s put this city through far too much already.

    • rich1299

      Has it only been a year? It feels like far longer. He has nothing to lose by dropping out of the campaign now, he doesn’t seem to have any sort of campaign anyways. All I can think of was his campaign launch, getting intoxicated at the ACC, and now this of course. It doesn’t seem like a very good campaign strategy to me, I suspect he couldn’t care at this point so might as well resign if his mom lets him.

  • Frostmoth


    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      He should. But I bet he won’t. Ford isn’t a quitter. At this point I’d be surprised if he went to rehab. He hasn’t said he’s going to rehab, just getting “help”.

  • Notcleverguy

    Anything short of him leaving politics completely is unacceptable.

  • OgtheDim

    I’d like to hear what Hudak has to say.

    • dsmithhfx

      There’s no love lost between Hudak and the Fords, but he probably feels he can’t afford to alienate what remains of their base (and he’s probably right).

  • dsmithhfx

    “Norm Kelly: the events that have brought us together are a personal tragedy not a failing of government.” —

    Not so fast, assmunch.

  • Alex2

    The takeaway from all of this is ROB FORD MUST RESIGN from the public stage. Glad to hear Tory and Soknacki calling for just that. Whishy washy statements that speak to his need for rehabilitation is nonsense. Just as the TCHC Board had no choice but to “release” Gene Jones, the City of Toronto and all those who purport to speak for council have no choice but to call for his resignation. To imply there is any faith in rehabilitating a mysoginist, pathological liar, alcohol and drug addict is unbelieveble. The recitivism rate is astonomical and to give yet another chance is irresponsible and bordering on criminal.

    • TheSotSays

      You should check out the statistics on massage parlour “recitivism.”

      • dsmithhfx

        What statistics? Post a link.

      • mixandserve

        Why, does it spike when you aren’t picking up your welfare cheque?

        • TheSotSays

          5’10″ – snicker

  • andrew97

    For someone who is touted as having such a connection to the people, Chow’s statements all sound like they were carefully calibrated and measured out by the Election-o-Tron 3000.

    • dsmithhfx

      aka Warren Kinsella?

      • estta

        He had some gross statements on twitter about Stintz.

    • TheSotSays

      There’s a great YouTube out there of little Barry Obama standing behind a luxury teleprompter talking to a classroom of grade three students.

      As the left wing nuts from the Toronto Branch NDP become more confused it’s only a matter of time before we see The Iron Chow standing behind one and trying desperately to convince a kindergarten class that she’s not a tax plundering double dipper.

      • andrew97

        How’s Chicago?

        • TheSotSays

          I don’t know about Chicago, but with Rob out of action and off to Rehab we might be getting an up close look at what Detroit looks like.

          • Dee

            Let me get you the smelling salts.

      • Sholland
        • dsmithhfx

          A Ford Nation character defect, apparently.

        • TheSotSays

          Perhaps we’re in agreement. I’ve often thought that if Faulkner was writing his novels today he might strongly consider dropping the Snopes family as a force of evil out to destroy a moral society and decide to include a few rag tag Laytons instead.

          No Giller Prize for the Canadian edition probably, but I can promise you signed copies would be flying off the shelves.

          • dsmithhfx

            You posted a lie, he exposed it.

            Does it sting?

  • OgtheDim

    Horwath’s reaction was weird. Said he had courage to get help. Just can’t come out swinging against the fellow populist.

    Mark my words people, we are going to see some weird non-NDP like stuff out of her in the next few weeks.

    • dsmithhfx

      Horwath is weird. And would it kill her to crack a smile?

    • torontothegreat

      I’ve been suspecting that myself, even though I have no idea (just pure speculation) on what that’s going to be

    • TheSotSays

      There’s a large difference between the Ontario NDP with Horwath in command and the flake ridden Toronto Branch NDP with Gord Perks and The Iron Chow sitting on the bicycle seat.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    The media should give Sarah Thomson some space and stop covering her joke campaign.

  • estta

    Not if he drops off the map politically and leads a quiet life somewhere else.

  • TheSotSays

    Stay awake! No “Sod” can succeed who doesn’t remain alert. And it’s only in Ward 21 (Mihevic Central) where they’ll let you vote while you’re asleep.

    • mixandserve


  • CYW

    I don’t believe he will last the full 30 days. He’ll be back for the Victoria Day weekend, ready to party hard ….

  • rich1299

    I think most everyone has had more than enough of Rob Ford’s drama, at least in Toronto anyways, and just want him to go away.

  • TheSotSays

    Hey they always went easy on Jack Layton and compared with the stuff Layton was up to, Rob Ford is a Saint.

  • christinaarcher

    Vanity, vanity thy name is Robert Bruce Ford. You don’t give a damn about the city, your family or anything except Robert Ford. We won’t get fooled again, Rob.