Rob Ford: Rambling video was 'a minor setback'
Published Wednesday, January 22, 2014 11:10AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 22, 2014 6:48PM EST
Rob Ford says a video that surfaced of him rambling in an imitation of Jamaican patois after he’d been drinking Monday night was “a minor setback” that is not impacting his work as Toronto mayor.
“As you know, I am a human being ... and I’m entitled to a personal life,” he told reporters after a budget meeting at city hall Wednesday.
“And my personal life does not interfere with the work I do day in and day out for the taxpayers of this great city.
“Monday was unfortunate. I had a minor setback,” he said. “We all experience these difficult bumps in life. I am telling Toronto residents that I’m still working hard every day to improve my health and my well-being.”
Ford insisted that “this is completely a private matter” and said some councillors’ claims that his private life is impacting his work are “absolute nonsense.”
Following the video’s release, Ford admitted Tuesday to drinking “a little bit” when the footage was recorded Monday night at Steak Queen, a fast-food restaurant in Etobicoke’s Rexdale neighbourhood.
It’s difficult to make out exactly what Ford is saying in the video, but he makes reference to “Chief Blair” – Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair – and being “chased around.”
A second video also surfaced of Ford sitting at a table at Steak Queen with a man believed to be Alexander Lisi, a friend of the mayor who is facing drug and extortion charges.
In November, shortly after Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine, "probably in one of my drunken stupors," he vowed to quit drinking.
The mayor has been answering questions about his personal conduct since last May, when media reports about the so-called crack video first emerged.
Last week, when asked about his visit to a downtown nightclub after photos made the rounds on social media, Ford snapped at a reporter that "I don't drink."
Ford refused to take questions about the latest videos on Wednesday. He said some councillors “want to distract from the fact they want to hike taxes in 2014.”
Ford said he’s “100 per cent” opposed to tax increases and said council is steering away from “responsible and sustainable” budgeting.
Earlier Wednesday, Ford was swarmed by cameras and reporters at city hall. He said he is “fighting for the taxpayer” and grabbed the lens of one of the cameras in the crowd.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne also weighed in on the issue Wednesday, saying Ford’s personal problems are taking the spotlight away from the city’s issues.
“The discussion about one person’s personal issues can detract and distract from the business of growing Toronto,” Wynne told reporters, adding she hopes Ford gets the help that she believes he needs.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said Wednesday he thinks Ford has “got problems.”
“I think that, in light of all of the revelations of the past couple of months, two or three months, I would have thought that the mayor would have wanted to distance himself from those issues and regrettably he hasn't," Kelly said.
With files from the Canadian Press and CTV Toronto’s Natalie Johnson
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses journalists following the City Council's Executive Committee's discussion about budgets in Toronto on Wednesday Jan. 22 , 2014. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford grabs a photographer's lens as he charges through a media scrum at City Hall in Toronto on Wednesday Jan. 22, 2014. (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks about the situation with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at a press conference, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014.
Mayor Rob Ford attends a budget committee at Toronto City Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is shown at a fast-food restaurant in this screengrab taken from a YouTube video. (Toronto The City / YouTube)