Ford refuses to step down as mayor

A defiant Mayor Rob Ford brushed aside questions about a new claim Thursday that he knew the whereabouts of an alleged crack cocaine video in another chaotic day that saw two more aides leave.

TORONTO — A defiant Mayor Rob Ford brushed aside questions about a new claim Thursday that he knew the whereabouts of an alleged crack cocaine video in another chaotic day that saw two more aides leave.

As the firestorm continued to rage, Ford said he’s staying put.

“I’m not stepping aside,” Ford said late Thursday.

“I’m running in the next election. Things are doing great and we’re doing fine.”

Repeatedly asked about the allegations, Ford simply said: “Anything else? Anything else”

That left his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, to denounce a Toronto Star report — it did not name its sources — that alleged the mayor told senior aides not to worry about the video purportedly showing him smoking crack because he knew where it was.

“This is another false accusation. This is the Toronto Star trying to keep the story alive,” Coun. Ford said.

“In my opinion, we have a disgruntled employee, ex-employee I should say, that obviously is upset that’s thrown these false accusations out.”

Ford had already parted ways with three key staff members — his chief of staff and two press aides — since the scandal erupted two weeks ago. The latest departures brought the number to five.

In a similar pattern to when former chief of staff Mark Towhey was escorted out of city hall, another aide, policy adviser Brian Johnston, left under escort Thursday.

Johnston told reporters in the basement garage he had resigned because “the timing was right.”

Ford’s executive assistant, Kia Nejatian, also left the mayor’s office early Thursday although the circumstances were not immediately clear.

Earlier in the day, Ford elbowed his way through a crush of media as he entered city hall. As reporters attempted to get him to respond, he said only “move!” as he pushed into his office.

In a sign of the tension outside the mayor’s “fishbowl” office, every glimpse of the mayor was accompanied by the clacking roar of camera shutters.

At one point, reporters rushed after a Ford aide thinking he had been fired. He was only going to the washroom.

Two weeks ago, the U.S. website Gawker and the Star said they had seen cellphone video made by a drug dealer that apparently showed Ford smoking crack.

The reports have not been independently verified and the Star itself has said it could not vouch for its authenticity. Gawker has raised $200,000 to try to buy the video.

According to latest Star report, sources said Ford told alarmed senior aides a day after the scandal erupted that he knew where the video was, and named apartments at a west-end complex.

Still, Ford insisted it was business as usual.

“I emphasize, and I assure you, that the work is being done, phone calls are being returned, emails are being responded to.”

But unhappy councillors said the scandal has disrupted business at city hall.

Coun. James Pasternak expressed dismay at how Ford has refused to address the allegations in a substantive fashion.

“We’re looking for unequivocal statements from the mayor,” Pasternak said. “The ducking and weaving and waffling just won’t work around here.”

Pasternak said the circus that has surrounded Ford is a damaging distraction that gets worse with each passing day.

Under current provincial law, a person may be disqualified from holding office if imprisoned, or an office may be declared vacant in a judicial proceeding.

Premier Kathleen Wynne expressed concern Toronto residents were losing confidence in their municipal leaders.

“The mayor needs to deal with his personal issues,” Wynne said. “The lack of having dealt with them is creating a lot of that confusion.”

“The premier should take care of the problems she has at Queen’s Park right now,” Ford shot back.

Meanwhile, police said a second arrest had been made in the March killing of a Toronto man believed to be seen with Ford in a photo linked to the crack video scandal.

Police said Hanad Mohamed, 23, was arrested last week in Fort McMurray, Alta., in the death of Anthony Smith and was to appear in court in Toronto on Friday charged with first-degree murder.

Nisar Hashimi, 23, was arrested in April and also faces first-degree murder charges in Smith’s death.

Ford has said he is photographed with many people and doesn’t know them all.

Just Posted

Central Alberta Archers Association: Proposed safe drug consumption service location puts youth at risk

Turning Point proposes second location for a permanent safe consumption service in Red Deer

Man dead following altercation at gas station on Sunchild First Nation

Rocky Mountain RCMP say victim succumbed to injuries in hospital

UCP member apologizes for ‘unintentionally’ comparing pride flag to swastikas

A member of Alberta’s United Conservative Party is apologizing for making what… Continue reading

Crowd watches as backhoe rips into mangled plane after Halifax runway overrun

HALIFAX — Crews have begun tearing into the mangled Boeing 747 cargo… Continue reading

Grim search for more fire victims, 31 dead across California

PARADISE, Calif. — The death toll from the wildfire that incinerated Paradise… Continue reading

Updated: Red Deer RCMP introduce downtown policing unit

A four-member downtown Red Deer RCMP unit hit the beat on Thursday… Continue reading

Comic book genius Stan Lee, Spider-Man creator, dies at 95

LOS ANGELES — Stan Lee, the creative dynamo who revolutionized the comic… Continue reading

Canada intelligence officials have heard audio of Khashoggi murder, Trudeau says

PARIS — Justin Trudeau says Canadian intelligence officials have listened to a… Continue reading

Canada hoping to solve U.S. tariff dispute by G20 meetings at month’s end: PM

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s hopeful that Canada can… Continue reading

Bishops will delay votes on steps to combat sex abuse crisis

BALTIMORE — In an abrupt change of plans, the president of the… Continue reading

Man at centre of Nobel body scandal tests rape conviction

STOCKHOLM — The man at the centre of the scandal at the… Continue reading

Chinese premier urges guard of free trade on Singapore visit

SINGAPORE — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed the need for free trade… Continue reading

50 countries vow to fight cybercrime – US and Russia don’t

PARIS — Fifty nations and over 150 tech companies pledged Monday to… Continue reading

More women in poor countries use contraception, says report

KIGALI, Rwanda — More women and girls in poor countries are using… Continue reading

Most Read