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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford briefly speaks to the media responding to allegations that he smoked crack cocaine, at his home in Toronto on May 17, 2013.Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

The allegation that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford appears on a cellphone video inhaling from what looks like a crack pipe is extremely troubling and has raised a question that the mayor needs to address immediately.

The video has been seen and heard by the editor of U.S. media site Gawker and by two Toronto Star reporters, who claim to have watched it three times. They all identify Mr. Ford as the person on camera operating what appears to be drug paraphernalia in a well-lit room. Questions remain about when the video was shot, and about its authenticity, and Mr. Ford must have the chance to respond, but one critical issue imposes itself:

How did the mayor become involved with drug dealers, who are the alleged source of the video – and are the scourge of any city and the sworn enemy of the police?

Torontonians need to keep an open mind about this latest twist in the convoluted saga of Rob Ford's mayorship. This includes considering the possibility that the video is a fake or flawed to a degree that it is rendered meaningless.

But the sad fact is a video exists, reporters have seen it, its alleged content has become public, and now Torontonians need and deserve an honest response from Mr. Ford.