Deputy mayor vows to 'get to the bottom' of latest Rob Ford video
Published Thursday, November 7, 2013 2:47PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 7, 2013 3:33PM EST
Toronto’s deputy mayor says he hopes Rob Ford is “speaking metaphorically” when he uses words like “kill” and “murder” in a new video released Thursday.
In the video obtained by the Toronto Star, Ford can be seen stomping around a dining room in a private home, flailing his arms and saying, “I’m gonna kill that f------ guy. I’m telling you, it’s first-degree murder.”
He also threatens to rip someone’s throat out and “poke his eyes out.”
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly told reporters Thursday that he has arranged to speak with Ford so he can understand the video’s context, and promised that he will “get to the bottom of it.”
“I don’t know whether he’s speaking metaphorically, because in politics you often talk about burying your enemies,” Kelly told a throng of reporters waiting outside his city hall office. “I sincerely hope he is.”
“He’s obviously agitated, but I don’t know why,” Kelly said, saying the language Ford uses “is the language of the gutter.”
Moments after the video surfaced Thursday, Ford emerged from his office to tell reporters that he was “extremely inebriated,” and that he has made “mistakes.”
He also called the video “extremely embarrassing.”
Ford did not offer any context for the video, which came out two days after he admitted that he smoked crack cocaine while in a “drunken stupor.”
Shortly after Ford spoke, Coun. James Pasternak was one of several councillors to repeat his calls for the mayor to step down as a scandal that has made international headlines drags on.
“There’s no doubt that the behaviour in the video, the behaviour that is experienced, the language that is used is profoundly disappointing, profoundly disturbing,” Pasternak told reporters. “And thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people will view it worldwide, and this is something we don’t need.”
Pasternak acknowledged that city council work can continue with Ford in the mayor’s seat. However, he said, Ford has become “a distraction.” And he said the mayor’s excuse that he was drunk was not a sufficient explanation.
“When we drink, we should drink what we should manage. Just like anything in life,” Pasternak said.
“And self-discipline and self-control is part of the expectation of being public officials. I don’t think we can use that as a crutch, and that seems to be part of the problem here and that’s why we’re urging him to take some time off and get the help that apparently he needs.”
Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti, an off-and-on council ally of Ford’s, issued a statement Thursday calling on the mayor’s family to “intervene and attempt to get him to a drug rehabilitation centre.
“I fear that if the Mayor does not get help now he will succumb to health issues related to addiction,” Mammoliti said.
The long-time Ward 7 councillor said if Ford does not take time away from work, he “will have no choice” but to throw his support behind Kelly and the executive committee “to see out the remainder of the term.”
‘We have to show him the door’
Earlier Thursday, before the latest video was released, one of Ford’s former council allies indicated he will do what he can to remove the mayor from office if he does not step down.
Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong announced that he is amending his motion calling on the mayor to take a leave so he can deal with his issues.
Minnan-Wong said he will add a condition that asks council to petition the province to oust Ford if he does not willingly step aside.
“We have told him that he needs to find the exit, he doesn’t seem to be listening,” Minnan-Wong told reporters. “If he won’t find the exit, I think we have to show him the door.
“I think that would be the best that we could do, the strongest measures that we could take. I, for one, believe he should take leave of absence. This situation is deteriorating. It’s not going away, it’s getting worse and council needs to act on this.”
Kelly has said he does not support such a move. Coun. John Parker also told reporters Thursday after the latest video’s release that he doesn’t “see there there’s any need for Queen’s Park to play a role.”
Parker said the city has “all of the tools and the apparatus we need to get through this.”
Parker said the “mayor is personally in crisis,” but that city council’s work carries on.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has indicated she would rather let the police investigation take its course.
A separate motion put forward by Coun. John Filion would prevent Ford from dismissing his deputy mayor or standing committee chairs, who make up his executive committee, for the remainder of his term.
Late Thursday afternoon, Filion said he “doubts” the province would step in to remove Ford, but said he saw no reason why his own motion wouldn’t pass.
“It’s a very, very big deal to remove a mayor from office,” Filion told CP24’s Katie Simpson. “What’s the basis for it? He hasn’t been charged with anything. He’s got a personal life that’s out of control but I’m not sure that you can remove an elected official for that reason. I’m not saying Mayor Ford should stay as mayor, I think he should clearly step aside. But the more people try to shove him aside, the more he will dig in.”
Council will debate Filion’s motion in December.
Filion said Ford’s “only chance for political survival” is for him to stay away, “get his life together,” and then attempt a return to elected office.
“It’s very difficult for the mayor to be an effective leader, there may be some days where he can function and other days he can’t,” Filion said. “He’s not the person who’s going to lead us into the future at this point.”
With files from CP24.com
Toronto Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly makes a statement to the media at Toronto's city hall after the release of a video featuring the Mayor Rob Ford on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)