Mayor Rob Ford is calling allegations that he was videotaped smoking what appears to be a crack pipe “ridiculous” but he has not outright denied the facts in a Toronto Star story.
Ford emerged from his office Friday, said: “Anyways, like I said this morning, these allegations are ridiculous, another story with respect to the Toronto Star going after me, and that's all I have to say.”
Ford ignored reporters questions and moved to an elevator to go to flag-raising ceremony held by parents of gays and lesbians.
Councillors accustomed to Mayor Rob Ford scandals and gaffes are urging him to address this most explosive allegation head on.
“It’s just shocking stuff,” said Councillor Josh Colle, an influential centrist.
“You hope it’s not true but, either way, I just hope the mayor says something as soon as possible. Because it’s salacious, it will be a massive distraction and we’re dealing with important things.
“I feel for him and his family but also for the city — we all thought the (downtown) casino was a big story but nobody is talking casinos today.”
Councillor John Parker, a former Ford ally who broke with the mayor over transit expansion, said: “I would think the mayor would be wise to address the story head on and put it to rest.
“We all hope that the inferences that are floating around are untrue and the only one who can set us straight on that is the mayor.”
“I think the business of the city hall goes on regardless of all of this but certainly it’s in the interest of all of us that we stick to business and get on with the work that people want us to do.”
Asked how shocked he is by the allegation, Parker said: “It’s at that point now that nothing seems to shock any of us around here any more.”
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said he didn’t believe the allegation but hoped Ford would make a full statement as soon as possible.
“Certainly we all know that videos can be altered and we certainly know that drug dealers can’t be trusted so we don’t know what we’re dealing with here and until we do I don’t have much to say,” Holyday said.
Asked if he has full confidence in Mayor Ford, Holyday said: “I do at this point.” Asked what would shake his confidence, the veteran councillor said: “Well, if these accusations were substantiated. That would certainly change a lot of things, I think, but at this point as far as I know the mayor is denying it and until such things change my position doesn’t change.”
Holyday also seemed to suggest Ford’s political enemies might be involved.
“Well, there’s a large contingent of political people that want the mayor out of office. They don’t want him to make the changes that he’s been making,” he said.
“I totally agree with the changes that he’s put forward and the agenda that he’s put forward and I’ve tried my best to support it and I will continue to support it whether he’s here or not here, but the people that are opposed to this seem to be willing to go to any lengths to make a change.”
Adam Vaughan, Ford’s most vocal critic on council, said this is just the latest distraction for a mayor who seems disinterested in building a city.
“We’ve been working around the mayor since the day he was elected an on most files we achieve a consensus when we move forward. Politics is tough when you don’t have a mayor who is full-time . . . ,” Vaughan said.
“He’s a bad mayor because he makes bad decisions and he’s leading the city in a direction it shouldn’t be going.”
Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby, a fellow Etobicoke representative who has known Ford more than a decade, called the allegations “mind-blowing” and urged the mayor to address them as soon
She recommended that Ford address the issue as soon as possible.
“Come out with it,” Lindsay Luby said. “Be honest. Say, ‘Yes it happened,’ or ‘No it didn’t.’ That’s the only way to deal with something like this.
“Don’t run away from it. Just deal with it.”
With files from Kamila Hinkson and Laura Kane