TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he will not step down despite his startling revelation Tuesday that he has, in fact, smoked crack cocaine.
At an impromptu news conference at City Hall Tuesday afternoon, the mayor told reporters he had smoked crack cocaine while in a “drunken stupor.”
“Yes! I’ve smoked crack cocaine!”
“Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors.”
The mayor said he has “made mistakes” and “all he can do now is apologize and move on.”
“There’s been times when I’ve been in a drunken stupor. That’s why I want to see the tape. I want everyone in the city to see this tape.”
At the beginning of the scrum, Ford addressed reporters saying “you asked me a question back in May, and you can repeat that question.”
One of the reporters asked: “Do you smoke crack cocaine?”
“Exactly,” Ford replied. “Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine.”
Later in the day, Ford said he’s sorry for his “mistakes” but added that he will not step down.
“I was elected to do a job, and that’s exactly what I’m going to keep doing,” he said.
“I kept this from my family, especially from my brother Doug, staff and council colleagues.”
“I’ve embarrassed everyone in the city and I’ll be forever sorry,” he said. “There’s only one person to blame for this and that is myself. I know admitting my mistake was the right thing to do. I feel like a thousand pounds have been lifted off my shoulders.”
“For the sake of the taxpayers, we have to get back to work immediately. We have to keep Toronto moving forward.”
Ford has been under intense scrutiny for months after the Toronto Star and Gawker.com reported the existence of a video that they said appeared to show the mayor smoking crack.
Until Tuesday, Ford had denied he ever smoked crack cocaine and suggested the video did not exist.
“I wasn’t lying — you didn’t ask the correct questions. No, I’m not an addict and no I do not do drugs,” he said.
Toronto police would not say how Ford’s comments would impact an ongoing police investigation related to Alessandro (Sandro) Lisi, the mayor’s friend and occasional driver, saying only that “this information will be passed on to investigators.”
Last week, Toronto’s police chief made the jaw-dropping announcement that investigators had recovered a video of the mayor with images that corresponded with media reports about him appearing to smoke crack cocaine.
Ford responded by calling on police to release the tape and repeated his long-heard refrain about not using crack.
On Tuesday, Ford once again called for the alleged video be released so everyone could judge its contents.
“I don’t even recall there being a tape or a video and I know that. So I want to see the state that I was in,” he said.
Legal experts have said Ford has no right to call for the video to be made public given that it is now evidence in the extortion case against Lisi.
Lisi, 35, has been charged with extortion in relation to the alleged video.
Despite the pressure on Ford to step down, municipal law makes no provision for his forced removal from office unless he’s convicted and jailed for a criminal offence. The province has said it has no plans to change the law.