Rob Ford admitting he smokes crack. via Twitter.
Since May of this year, the City of Toronto has been engulfed in a torrent of crack-fueled controversy that began when reports that the crack tape existed began to break. Ever since the word got out, Rob Ford and his associates have repeatedly dodged the question of whether or not the mayor of North America’s fourth largest city does in fact smoke crack—until today, anyway.
Seemingly out of nowhere—a Rob Ford staffer told Robyn Doolittle from the Toronto Star that they didn’t know this was coming—Rob Ford bluntly admitted to smoking crack cocaine in the midst of one his many “drunken stupors.” As if this is somehow the fault of anyone but himself, he blamed the media for not asking the right questions.
As someone who has frequently covered the rapidly devolving saga that is Rob Ford, the relief I feel today is slight compared to the crushing reality that this guy is still the Mayor of Toronto. Whether or not this admission is enough for Rob Ford to be charged with drugs is unclear—although his brother Dougie says that he is “not afraid” of Toronto’s Chief of Police and has called for his resignation.
There is obviously an “us against them” dynamic being played out in City Hall right now wherein them is every Torontonian who does not smoke crack or taunt the Chief of Police. Even Ford Nation diehards must be able to admit, somewhere in their core, that it’s not right for a man who lies and smokes crack cocaine to be the mayor of a major metropolitan city.
Unfortunately, Rob Ford is the mayor in a province where he cannot be impeached without a criminal conviction. Currently there is a movement within Toronto’s City Council to have the mayor’s powers completely stripped—which is obviously a reaction to this out-of-date provision to protect the mayoral throne in Ontario. I suppose there has never been a mayor as indisputably terrible as Rob Ford in the history of the province, and possibly in the history of democracy.
The City Council is now trying to persuade Mayor Ford to “apologize for misleading the City of Toronto as to the existence of a video in which he appears to be involved in the use of drugs.” It also asks that Mayor Ford “cooperate fully” with Toronto authorities; apologize for writing a reference letter for Alexander Lisi, an alleged drug dealer, and answer to the Council directly, and not the media, about these allegations.
This certainly seems like rock bottom. This scandal has made municipal politics in Toronto a global laughing stock, but knowing the Fords there is never such a thing as “the last surprise.”
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @patrickmcguire