With mounting pressure to take a leave of absence to address his personal problems, Mayor Rob Ford defiantly told a supporter Monday that he’s “not going anywhere. Guaranteed.”
Ford made the comment as he walked, flanked by security, following the Remembrance Day ceremony at Old City Hall.
Earlier, Ford spoke and laid a wreath at the foot of the cenotaph, but his presence wasn’t appreciated by one veteran.
Tony Smith, 80, who was stationed in Germany after the Second World War, said he refused to shake Ford’s hand because he’s “a druggie.”
Smith said Ford shouldn’t have attended the ceremony after admitting he smoked crack cocaine.
There were also scattered cries of “shame” in the crowd as Ford walked up to the podium to speak.
But the mayor was also warmly received by many who offered words of support and encouragement following the ceremony.
Deputy mayor ready to step in
Toronto’s deputy mayor says he’s ready to step in if the mayor decides to take a leave of absence to deal with what appears to be substance abuse issues.
“I’m not electioneering for it,” Norm Kelly told 680News on Monday. “That’s the way the system works. If it’s not me in office it’d be someone else.”
He said the mayor was spending the weekend “doing a lot of soul-searching.”
On Friday, Ford’s lawyer said Ford was considering his options, which included going into rehab after a video surfaced on Thursday showing him “extremely inebriated,” ranting and threatening to kill someone. That came two days after his bombshell admission that he smoked crack cocaine about a year ago and a week after police said they had recovered the alleged crack video.
But Kelly said that if the mayor decides to take a break from city hall he hoped that the media would also take a break from him so he could get well in private.
Click here to listen to the full interview.
Week ahead at city hall
The mayor isn’t guaranteed a break this week with contentious matters to be debated at the Wednesday council meeting and two court cases that may reveal more details in the crack scandal.
A motion will be debated by councillors on Wednesday, proposing Ford take a leave of absence, and if he doesn’t go, council would petition the province to have him ousted from office.
At the University Avenue courthouse, Justice Ian Nordheimer is deciding Tuesday whether to let lawyers for Mohammed Khattak, one of three young men pictured with the mayor in an infamous photo, view the video allegedly showing the mayor smoking crack cocaine.
Nordheimer is also expected to decide Nov. 18 whether to release more from a redacted police document that was used to get a search warrant for the mayor’s friend, Alexander Lisi. Last month, Lisi was arrested on drug charges, including marijuana trafficking, and extortion for allegedly trying to retrieve the video by force.
With files from The Canadian Press