Ford criticized the media for judging him.
“It is most unfortunate, very unfortunate, that my colleagues and the great people of this city have been exposed to the fact that I’ve been judged by the media without any evidence,” Ford said.
City Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker said he was profoundly disappointed in the mayor’s statement and called on Ford to resign. De Baeremaeker said he believes the reports about Ford’s alleged drug use and believes Ford’s tenure is over.
“I don’t believe the mayor,” he said. “He should resign and then go seek help.”
De Baeremaeker said he’s observed erratic behavior from the mayor.
“The mayor is just imploding,” he said. “The mayor had an opportunity to acknowledge that perhaps he does have a problem, and to take a leave of absence, perhaps to take care of himself and his family, instead he went on the attack.”
Other councilors said the mayor wasn’t comprehensive enough and said the distraction is not over. Councilor John Parker called the statement too little too late.
“I’m not sure we’ve heard the whole truth,” Parker said. “Questions continue to swirl around him.”
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, a close ally of Ford who was standing near Ford during the news conference, acknowledged it’s not over.
“He would have been a lot better off had he made this statement earlier in the week but for whatever reason he did not,” Holyday said.
The allegations have caused an uproar in Canada and have become the fodder for late night TV in the U.S.
The mayor’s statement came at the end of a dramatic week. Ford fired his chief of staff on Thursday, but gave no reason for Mark Towhey’s dismissal.
Towhey, who was escorted from City Hall by security, would only say that he did not resign. Reports from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., the Toronto Sun and others cited sources as saying Ford fired him after he urged the mayor to get help. Towhey declined to comment on Friday when reached by The Associated Press.
Ford was fired from his job as football coach at a Catholic high school on Wednesday for reasons unrelated to the scandal over the alleged crack video.
Toronto Catholic District School Board spokesman John Yan said the decision to remove Ford as the head of the Don Bosco Eagles Football program had to do with the comments the mayor made to the Sun TV Network in March that parents found offensive. Yan said Ford characterized the parent community as not caring about their kids, that the students were involved in gangs and guns and that if it weren’t for him they would be in jail.
Ford has been embroiled in almost weekly controversies about his behavior since being elected in 2010, but these are the most serious allegations he’s faced yet. The Toronto Star reported earlier this year that he was asked to leave a gala fundraiser for wounded Canadian soldiers because he appeared intoxicated.
During his campaign for mayor, Ford vehemently denied a 1999 arrest for marijuana possession in Florida, but later acknowledged it was true after he was presented with evidence. He pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and failing to give a breath sample to police.
While in office, he has been accused of flouting conflict of interest rules and making obscene gestures at residents from his car.
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