Mayor Rob Ford admitted in two TV interviews on Wednesday that he’s been an addict for many years, has consumed a plethora of drugs and used racist and homophobic slurs because his “disease” turned him into someone else.
“When you have this disease, you do things and you say things that just aren’t you,” he told CBC News when asked about recordings that captured him uttering racial and homophobic slurs.
Ford sought treatment for his addictions at GreeneStone rehab centre in Muskoka on April 30 and returned to work on Monday.
During the CBC interview, Ford gave the public a glimpse of the severity and scope of his addictions, saying he’s been inebriated at city hall, but denied consuming drugs there.
He was confronted with a photo that depicted him holding a pipe which was published by the Globe and Mail shortly before he took a leave of absence from office to enter rehab. When asked what he was doing in that photo, the mayor said: “It is a crack pipe. I was smoking crack.”
Ford admitted to using a slew of other drugs, including marijuana and mushrooms.
“You name it, I (did) it,” he told the CBC. “I was in denial. I convinced myself I didn’t have a problem.”
He later told CP24 that his drug use did not include heroin.
“I have a chronic disease. I was born with blond hair. I was born with this disease and I’m going to die with this disease.”
When asked if he would step down if he relapses, he would only say that he’s taking it “one day at a time.”
“I know I didn’t drink yesterday. I know I haven’t drank today,” he said.
And when asked how the public could trust him after he repeatedly lied about the extent of his problems, he said, “The person I was lying to the most was myself.”
During his interview with CP24, Ford was asked if he felt two months at GreeneStone was long enough.
“It’s not my call,” he responded. “It’s the professional’s call. I completed the program and put in hundreds of hours of learning about my disease.”
He reiterated the extent of his addiction and said he “couldn’t function day to day” but said the stress of running the city wasn’t a factor in his addiction and wasn’t a trigger to use.
“I love my job and keeping busy is the best thing for me.”
Mayoral candidate John Tory wasn’t impressed with Ford’s first media interviews, saying he dodged important questions.
While he says he sympathizes with Ford’s struggle, he maintains that he’s unfit for the job.
In a statement posted on his website, Tory said Ford’s “continuing refusal to answer basic questions means that he is unfit to govern.”
“We still don’t have answers from Mayor Ford about his criminal associations or why he is refusing to speak to Toronto Police. We also still don’t have a response to allegations that the Mayor used his public office to benefit his family business. And we don’t have an explanation and satisfactory apology to the people and communities the Mayor offended with his racist, sexist and homophobic outbursts.”