News / Americas

Toronto Mayor Says 'I'm Sorry' Again

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks at a news conference with his wife Renata (L) at City Hall, Nov. 14, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks at a news conference with his wife Renata (L) at City Hall, Nov. 14, 2013.
Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, under huge pressure to quit after he admitted smoking crack cocaine, said on Thursday he was getting help for a drinking problem, but offered no indication that he might step down.

Ford also expressed remorse for an obscene outburst he made earlier in the day when denying an allegation he had made sexual overtures to a female member of his staff.

“I want to apologize for my graphic remarks this morning,” Ford said in the latest of a string of apologies, his wife,  Renata, standing silently at his side. “For the past six months I have been under tremendous, tremendous stress.”

He added “I fully realize in the past I have drank alcohol in excess. I wish you to know that I'm receiving support from a team of healthcare professionals.”

Pressure started building on Ford this spring, when reporters with the Toronto Star and U.S. media blog Gawker said they had seen a cellphone video that appeared to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine.

Ford spent months denying he used crack, but admitted this month he had done so “in one of my drunken stupors,” and apologized. He conceded on Wednesday that he had also bought illegal drugs, and again apologized for his mistakes. On Thursday, he admitted he had driven after drinking alcohol.

The Toronto city council - which does not have the power to fire Ford - on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to urge him to take time off and deal with his personal problems. He says he will not quit.

Hurting Toronto

Ford's refusal to step down even temporarily has infuriated officials who say his antics are harming the reputation of North America's fourth largest city.

“People want civility, people want respect and we are not seeing that ... This is a train wreck and has been for six months,” said councilor Jane Robinson.

City councilor and former Ford supporter Denzil Minnan-Wong told Reuters “He has to step aside. He's crossed a line and he's past the point of no return.”

The province of Ontario could, in theory, step in to unravel Toronto's municipal mess, but Premier Kathleen Wynne on Thursday made clear she would only intervene if the city asked for help, and if her minority government had support from other parties.

“The things we are seeing and hearing about Mayor Rob Ford are truly disturbing,” she said in a televised statement.

Polls initially suggested Ford's support was holding up despite the scandal. But an Ipsos-Reid survey released on Thursday found 62 percent of those surveyed would not vote for him, and the polling firm said he stood no chance against his potential rivals if an election took place now.

Police documents released on Wednesday quoted Ford associates who alleged the mayor had driven drunk, used racially abusive language, threatened staff, consorted with a woman suspected of being a prostitute and made obscene sexual suggestions to the female member of his staff.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and Ford, describing them as “100 percent lies,” named three former aides that he planned to sue.

“I've never had a prostitute here. I'm happily married at home ... it makes me sick how people are saying this,” he said,

“So, unfortunately, I have no other choice ... I can't put up with it any more, so I've named the names, litigation will be starting shortly. I've had enough,” he said.

Will run again

Ford, who was elected on a tax-cutting platform in 2010 and insists he will run again in October 2014, also said he would sue a waiter at a restaurant who told police he thought the mayor had been snorting lines of cocaine.

Ford, ousted from his voluntary position coaching a high school football team after the first cocaine allegations, made his lewd remarks on Thursday while wearing a jersey of the Toronto Argonauts Canadian football team, which said it was very disappointed by his actions.

“We hope for the benefit of the wonderful citizens of Toronto and this great city that this situation is resolved expeditiously,” the club said in a statement.

Not everything went badly for the mayor. The right-leaning Sun News Network television channel said it would be offering Ford and his brother Doug - also a city councilor - their own show.

You May Like

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Report: US to Sail Warships Near Disputed S. China Sea Islands

Move will signal nonrecognition of Chinese territorial claims over area, Financial Times reports, citing senior US official More

Study Describes Ancient Deltas, Lakes on Mars

Research builds on recent NASA announcement that water flows on red planet today More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanoni
John Owens
October 08, 2015 7:32 PM
Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Report: More Than 58,000 Violent Deaths Last Year in Brazil

Annual report on public security says number of violent deaths up nearly 5 percent last year from 2013, when country suffered a then high of 55,000 such deaths

UN Launches Review of Possible Corruption

Audit will look at interaction between world body and two organizations that US prosecutors have accused of bribing a former top UN official

US to Publish Records on Chile 1976 Assassination

Orlando Letelier was killed, along with his American co-worker Ronni Moffitt, by a car bomb in the center of Washington

US Official: Ending Cuba Embargo Will Take Time

Commerce Secretary wraps up visit to communist-ruled island saying both sides need to learn more about each other as they work to improve relations

Missing Cargo Ship’s Recorder Sought for Clues

Officials say El Faro's voyage data recorder, similar to 'black box' on aircraft, would provide a wealth of data on what befell the ship and the 33 people aboard

UN Rights Chief Calls on Mexico to Broaden Missing Students Probe

In yet unsolved case, 43 students vanished in September of last year in southern city of Iguala after clash with police