Rob Ford is being held to a higher standard than any other Canadian politician, the Toronto mayor’s outgoing deputy said Monday after videos of Ford at a street festival raised eyebrows over the weekend.
Doug Holyday said the short cellphone videos that were posted online were “inconclusive” and he didn’t think the mayor looked drunk, as many have suggested on social media.
“This mayor has gone through such scrutiny that everything he does is scrutinized in a way that no other politician has ever had before that I know of,” said Holyday, who is set to leave city hall for the provincial legislature after winning a byelection in west Toronto earlier this month.
Ford looked “like he looks most times,” though perhaps a little sleep-deprived, and was just “the mayor being the mayor,” Holyday said.
“Even if he did have a couple of drinks, as long as he wasn’t out of line, as long as he wasn’t driving his vehicle while he was drinking or anything like that, you know, he’s human like the rest of us,” he said.
Ford told his weekly Sunday afternoon radio show on NewsTalk 1010 that he had a couple of beers Friday night but insisted the public reaction has been overblown.
An expert on social media said the notoriety surrounding the controversial mayor has everyone vying to capture his every move on video.
Greg Elmer of Toronto’s Ryerson University said people have turned into “social media paparazzi” due to unresolved questions of an alleged video appearing to show Ford smoking crack cocaine.
Ford has denied he uses crack and said he can’t comment on a video that does not exist.
The latest scandal has critics once again urging the mayor to seek help for what they say appears to be a substance abuse problem.
There have been media reports in the past of Ford seeming intoxicated in public.
In May, the Toronto Star reported allegations that Ford showed up drunk at an official function. Ford has dismissed the report as nothing but “lies.” Both his brother and Holyday have said they’ve never seen the mayor drink at any event.
In 2010, Ford recounted an incident from the 90s where he was charged with driving under the influence and marijuana possession in Florida. Ford at first denied the allegations, but later pleaded no-contest to the impaired driving charge and the drug charge was dropped.
In 2006, before Ford was mayor, he admitted he had too much to drink and verbally abused a couple at a Toronto Maple Leafs game after initially denying the incident.