Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is shown with what appears to be a pipe in an image taken from the Gawker.com website. The image was posted Wednesday

‘A broken man:’ Rob Ford silent as he takes rehab leave

Mayor Rob Ford left home Thursday hours after announcing plans to take leave to deal with his substance-abuse problems amid a triple dose of scandalizing revelations that have raised further questions about his fitness for office.

TORONTO — Mayor Rob Ford left home Thursday hours after announcing plans to take leave to deal with his substance-abuse problems amid a triple dose of scandalizing revelations that have raised further questions about his fitness for office.

Confronted with reports of a recent video showing him allegedly smoking crack cocaine, an audio recording of the mayor spewing profanities and making lewd comments about a fellow mayoral contender, and witness accounts of him snorting cocaine at a city nightclub, Ford said he would be seeking “immediate help.”

“He’s a broken man. He’s got a lot of demons,” Ford’s lawyer Dennis Morris told The Canadian Press.

“He realizes that he’s not well and in need of help. He’s just running off the rails. That’s something he now appreciates.”

Ford did not speak to reporters in front of his home as he left in a two-car convoy Thursday morning.

A private plane flew him to Chicago, Global TV reported, while CBC cited his brother as saying Ford would be spending 30 days at an unspecified addictions facility.

At a news conference Thursday, an emotional Doug Ford said facing your problems and deciding to seek help is not easy.

“I told Rob that everyone knows someone who has faced these challenges and I know they will wish him well and a speedy recovery,” he said.

The scandal-plagued mayor’s latest woes began late Wednesday, with a trio of damaging newspaper reports that raised new questions about his conduct.

The Globe and Mail said a drug dealer had shown two of its reporters video of Ford allegedly smoking what was said to be crack in the basement of his sister’s home early Saturday morning.

The paper said it paid $10,000 for frame grabs showing Ford holding a copper pipe.

American website Gawker.com, which first broke word of a video purportedly showing Ford smoking crack cocaine a year ago, published similar photos. Gawker said it had rejected a drug dealer’s request for “six figures” for videos.

Then, in an audio recording from a bar obtained by the Toronto Sun, Ford is heard making anti-gay remarks, using an offensive ethnic slur, and saying he would like to “jam” rival candidate Karen Stintz.

The mayor said he didn’t remember the events but confirmed being at the bar, the Sun reported.

In a third report, the Toronto Star published details of “two nights of utter debauchery” involving Ford at a Toronto nightclub a few weeks ago.

At one point, the paper said, Ford almost got into an altercation with pop idol Justin Bieber, who jokingly asked the mayor if he had any crack cocaine with him.

Ford has steadfastly refused to step down and had insisted for months that he is neither an addict nor an alcoholic.

But in a statement late Wednesday, he said “I have a problem with alcohol and the choices I have made while under the influence.”

“I have tried to deal with these issues by myself over the past year. I know that I need professional help and I am now 100 per cent committed to getting myself right.”

Despite his announced leave from both the mayor’s office and his re-election campaign, Ford will apparently remain in the running for October’s municipal vote.

Jackie DeSouza, Toronto’s communications director, said the mayor had notified the city about the leave but not how long he would be away.

That left Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, who has been doing most of Ford’s job since council stripped him of most of his mayoral duties last year, firmly in charge.

Kelly, who denounced Ford’s actions as “inexcusable,” called the situation a “personal tragedy” and not a “crisis of government.”

Ford’s main left-wing mayoral rival for the October vote, Olivia Chow, called his behaviour an international embarrassment.

“It’s clear Mr. Ford is sick,” Chow said Thursday. “As a mayor, however, he had his chance.”

Stintz condemned Ford’s audiotaped “misogynistic” and “disgusting” comments.

“I’m not interested in an empty apology — we’ve heard too many of those,” Stintz said.

Last year, Ford admitted to using crack cocaine while in a “drunken stupor” but has long since said he had cleaned up his act and was working out.

However, he was forced to admit drinking after another videotaped incident in which he used Jamaican swear words and slagged the city’s chief of police.

Police began investigating Ford after a guns and gangs probe turned up wiretaps that allegedly captured conversations about the first “crack” video. A friend of Ford’s has been charged with extortion related to attempts to retrieve the video.

Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said “investigators would be interested to see the new information.”

Just Posted

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

Red Deer readies for supervised drug consumption site

Now all we need is an application for one

Rent subsidies for Asooahum Crossing tenants sought from Red Deer city council

Coun. Lee feels the city should be ‘last resort’ for housing subsidy requests

Castor murderer denies he’s a killer

Jason Klaus tells courtroom he loved his family who were murdered in December 2013

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month