"I do not use crack cocaine." - May 24, 2013
“Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine… Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors. Probably, approximately a year ago.” - November 5, 2013
Rob Ford is a liar. For months, the Mayor of Toronto tried to deny and evade, but ever since Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair revealed that police were in possession of that supposedly non-existent video of an inebriated Mr. Ford with a crack pipe, the Mayor has been caught in a bind. So on Tuesday, Mr. Ford tried to change the channel from Perry Mason to Oprah. He admitted to smoking crack – while insisting that he’d never, ever said that he hadn’t smoked crack. And then, pretty much in the same breath, he asked the city to forgive him. Hey, I lied. Can we all just get over it already? “Yes, I’ve made mistakes,” the Mayor said. “All I can do now is apologize and move on.” He did not mean “move on” in the sense of stepping down. He meant that Toronto should get over his problems – because in the blink of an eye between admission and self-awarded forgiveness, he has.
Rob Ford should move on. He should resign.
If this were just a story of a mayor with a drinking problem, it might be possible to forgive him. Even a drug problem. That’s the story Mr. Ford keeps trying to peddle. But drunken stupors and crack use are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s the lying, which he still refuses to cop to. There’s the close and constant association with a host of people living on the edge of the law, or beyond it. A sordid narrative of clandestine meetings fills the nearly 500 pages of evidence gathered by Toronto Police, to obtain a search warrant on his friend, Alexander Lisi, who is accused of drug dealing and extortion. Mr. Ford refuses to answer any questions about Mr. Lisi and the nature of their relationship, falsely claiming that he cannot discuss a matter before the courts. He knows that’s a lie.
And then there’s the crack-smoking video. For months, Mr. Ford dodged questions about it. Now that police have it, he’s insisting that he wants it released – something he knows that police cannot legally do yet. He says that he wants to find out, just like the rest of us, what he was up to that night. “There’s been times when I’ve been in a drunken stupor, and that's why I want to see the tape,” he told reporters. “I want to see the state I was in.”
Mr. Ford will not leave the stage voluntarily, so he’s going to have to be shoved aside. His fellow councillors have the power to partly sideline him; Councillor John Filion on Tuesday introduced a motion to temporarily strip the Mayor of the power to fire committee chairs, the Deputy Mayor or executive committee members. It would turn him into something like a prime minister unable to choose his own cabinet. The provincial government, which has so far been trying to steer far from this mess, should also be looking into what it can do. Municipalities are creatures of provincial legislation. It would be an extraordinary move for the province to step in. But these are extraordinary times.
A more honourable man would do the right thing. He’d resign. Rob Ford has shown time and again that he’s not that guy.