Toronto’s mayor, best known for admitting to the use of crack cocaine last year after the surfacing of an incriminating video, recently announced he will be taking a temporary leave to seek treatment for alcoholism. The announcement was made after a second video emerged of Mayor Rob Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.
When admitting to using the drug last year, Ford suggested that he had only done so once. The mayor acknowledged he has been drunk and out of control several times since then, but has denied using crack in that time. Last month, when asked directly if he was continuing to use drugs, Mr. Ford said: “You guys ask stupid questions.”
The second video appears to show Ford smoking crack in the basement of the home of his sister, Kathy, who has admitted to her own substance abuse problems. A self-professed drug dealer recorded the video and sold stills of the recording to The Globe and Mail, a Toronto newspaper.
Dennis Morris, Ford’s long-time criminal lawyer questions the authenticity of the video. Kathy Ford’s former spouse said in an interview that she smokes crack out of metal pipes that can also be used to smoke marijuana. Mr. Morris has suggested that the drug dealers are insisting the substance is crack so that they can sell the recording for a higher price.
In recent months, Rob Ford has been in the process of running for re-election in a campaign largely based on second chances. It is unclear how this video will affect his chances for re-election in October, given his past admissions of drug uses, drunkenness and other antics.
“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,” said the Toronto mayor in a statement last week. “I have struggled with this for some time.”
Many are calling for Ford to leave office and quit his campaign. Some are relieved that he is getting treatment, but are concerned about his enabling family. Despite the reasons for taking leave, it is safe to assume that Ford is making the right decision by facing his problems, stepping out of the spotlight, and seeking professional help.