Toronto mayor crack-smoking video in police hands

Pressure shows on the face of poppy'wearing Toronto mayor Rob Ford. Picture: AP
Pressure shows on the face of poppy'wearing Toronto mayor Rob Ford. Picture: AP
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Toronto’s embattled mayor is under intense pressure to resign after police obtained a video of him smoking crack – which he had denied even existed.

MPs and councillors, including one close ally, said Rob Ford had become an international embarrassment who was shaming the city.

All four major daily newspapers in Toronto demanded he step down, with the National Post condemning his “pattern of reckless behaviour”.

Mr Ford said last night he had “no reason to quit” and was holed up at his mother’s house having a family summit with brother Doug, a Toronto ­councillor.

Police said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him, but the row could bring down the curtain on Mr Ford’s three-year career as mayor, which has left many wondering how he has survived so long in the first place.

There have been repeated claims he has a drink and drug problem, but voters had seemed content to look the other way, so long as he could do the job.

Among those demanding he quit is his former budget chief, Councillor Mike Del Grande, the highest-profile member of the Canada’s Conservative party to do so.

Two centrists and several members of the unofficial opposition are also calling on him to resign.

Mr Del Grande said: “Certainly from my standards, the city comes first, and personal views, ambitions, come second. And at this point, the city’s taking a knock worldwide.”

Cheri DiNovo, a member of Ontario’s parliament, tweeted: “Ford video nothing to celebrate. Addiction is illness. Mayor please step down and get help?”

The allegations date back to May when the Toronto Star first reported the video of Mr Ford smoking crack existed and that its reporters had seen it, though he denied it and claimed the newspaper was out to get him.

Mr Ford – and Toronto – became the punchline for jokes around the world, with US website Gawker raising the $200,000 (£125,000) that the owners of the video said was the price they were selling it for, though the deal fell through.

Toronto police chief Bill Blair said the force had now found the video after it was deleted from a computer hard drive and that it “depicts images that are consistent with those previously reported in the press”.

Mr Blair said the footage would be shown during the forthcoming trial of an accused drug dealer, Alexander “Sandro” Lisi, who was also Mr Ford’s occasional driver.

He said that “as a citizen of Toronto I’m disappointed” and described the row as “a traumatic issue for citizens of this city and the reputation of this city”.

Yesterday, the Toronto Star was among the most vocal in calling for Mr Ford to quit. Its editorial read: “Exploiting character assassination, defamation and a numbing stream of self-serving lies, Ford obscured the truth and befouled the truth-tellers.”

The National Post said he should go as his “personal life is now so thoroughly beset by crisis” that he couldn’t do the job.

Mr Ford, 44, was elected in 2010 on a wave of popularity in the suburbs. He has been relentlessly populist and is known for making personal visits to constituents to get even small things done, such as dealing with cockroaches in an apartment.

But there has been no shortage of controversies, too, ranging from trivial to serious.

He walked face-first into a TV camera and fell down during a photo session whilst pretending to play football. Then he was asked to leave an event for wounded war veterans because he appeared intoxicated and went through a conflict of interest trial over fundraising that nearly unseated him.

He has also made rude gestures at residents whilst driving and was forced to admit being arrested for marijuana possession in Florida in 1999.