Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who spent two months in rehab after new allegations he’d smoked crack cocaine, said he realizes his alcohol and drug abuse is a disease that will need lifelong treatment.
Ford said his two-month stint at the GreeneStone substance-abuse center in Bala, Ontario, saved his life and there’s a lot more work for him to do to regain the city’s trust.
“I had convinced myself that I did not have a problem,” Ford said at an invitation-only press conference at Toronto City Hall, his voice wavering at times. “I am ashamed, embarrassed, and humiliated. I was wrong and I have no one but no one to blame but myself.”
Ford, 45, said May 1 he would take a leave of absence to get help for alcohol abuse. A day earlier, the Globe and Mail released new images in which the mayor of Canada’s largest city appeared to smoke from a crack pipe. Ford hasn’t been charged with any crime.
Today he admitted a problem with drugs.
“It soon became obvious that my alcohol and drug use was having a serious, serious impact on my family and on my health and on my job as mayor,” a noticeably slimmer Ford said. “I decided that enough was enough.”
Ford had admitted in November to smoking crack in a “drunken stupor,” six months after the Toronto Star and Gawker said they had seen a video of him inhaling the drug. Toronto’s city council stripped him of most of his powers.
With an election set for Oct. 27, he appeared in campaign mode today.
“There is still much, much more to accomplish,” he said, touting his achievements on dealing with unions, cutting taxes and laying the groundwork for a new subway line.
Olivia Chow, a former federal legislator, and John Tory, who previously led Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party, are among the contenders seeking to replace Ford.
“The question is not whether Rob Ford is clean and sober. the issue is that he is a failed mayor,” Chow said on CP24 television network after the mayor’s speech.
Ford didn’t answer questions from reporters and didn’t mention the October election.
“There are so many unanswered questions related to people he hung around with, criminal elements, related to the mixing of public and private business, relating to the repeated lies that he told to the public,” Tory said outside City Hall.
“ I don’t think you can spend eight weeks and not confront the demons,” Tory said. “The question is, can you wrestle them to the ground?”