News / Americas

Toronto Mayor Admits He Bought Illegal Drugs

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford talks during council at City Hall in Toronto, Nov. 13, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford talks during council at City Hall in Toronto, Nov. 13, 2013.
Reuters
Toronto's embattled mayor, Rob Ford, professed a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and gangs on Wednesday, but he also admitted he has bought illegal drugs in the past two years.
 
Speaking after Toronto City Council almost unanimously urged Ford to take a break from his duties, Ford said he could not change the past and would continue his efforts as mayor to save Toronto money.
 
Asked if he had bought illegal drugs in the past two years, he replied somberly: “Yes, I have.”
 
Ford last week admitted that he smoked crack cocaine “while in a drunken stupor”, and Wednesday's call from council came in its first meeting since that admission.
 
An Ipsos-Reid poll conducted for several TV and radio stations and published on Wednesday showed that 76 percent of Toronto voters believe Ford should step down or take leave of absence.
 
“Over the last six months and especially the last few weeks we have grown increasingly concerned by the seemingly endless cycle of allegations, denials and belated admissions about your behavior,” City Councilor Jaye Robinson read from a nonbinding petition signed by 30 of the city's 44 councilors, and passed by a vote of 41 to two.
 
That petition is separate from a motion, that has yet to be voted on, that asks Ford to take a leave of absence and apologize for “misleading” Toronto residents. Council has no power to force the mayor to step down or take a break unless he is convicted of a crime.
 
“Our city's reputation has been damaged and continues to suffer,” Robinson said. “Together we stand to ask you to step aside and take a leave of absence to address your challenges privately outside of the public eye.”
 
The scandal, reminiscent of the one which enveloped former Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry after he was filmed smoking crack in 1990, has made Ford the target of late night-talk show jokes and drawn international media interest to Toronto.
 
Six months ago, the Toronto Star newspaper and media blog Gawker said they had seen a video of the mayor smoking the drug, and Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has since confirmed the video exists.
 
Last week, the Star bought a separate video that showed Ford in an expletive-laden rant, making unspecified threats and pounding his hands together. Ford apologized and admitted he was “extremely inebriated”.
 
While council has no mechanism to remove Ford, the Ontario provincial government could unseat him through new legislation or an amendment to the City of Toronto Act, a risky move that the province's Liberal government says would set a dangerous precedent.
 
While Ford has admitted to moments of heavy drinking and drug use, he has said he does not need to seek treatment.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

US Coast Guard Rescues 33 Cubans at Sea

Because the overloaded boat did not make landfall, those rescued will be returned to Cuba
More

Search Underway at New Site in Mexico Missing Students Case

This week marked one month since the students went missing after clashing with police in mysterious circumstances
More

Public Transport in Latin America, Asia Most Dangerous for Women

Thousands of women and gender experts were questioned to create the listing
More

Kerry Lays Wreath for Slain Canadian Soldier

World has been witness to Canada's strength in face of tragedy, he says
More

Crowds Gather for Funeral of Canadian Soldier Killed in Ottawa

Corporal Nathan Cirillo, 24, was shot dead in last week near Canada's parliament building in attack allegedly carried out by convert to Islam
More

Mexico Makes New Arrests in Student Disappearances

Attorney General says four more gang members from the Guerreros Unidos cartel who 'organized the disappearance' of the teacher trainees are in custody
More