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Toronto newspapers call on Mayor Ford to resign

Six Toronto newspapers featured Rob Ford on their covers on Nov. 1, 2013. CITYNEWS

Toronto newspapers are calling on Mayor Rob Ford to step down and the Toronto Region Board of Trade is urging him to take a leave of absence after police chief Bill Blair revealed officers have several videos in their possession, including what’s believed to be one of Ford allegedly smoking crack cocaine.

Ford can also allegedly be heard making homophobic and racist comments on the video. He has not been charged.

On Friday, the Toronto Star, one of two media outlets that viewed the video months before Blair confirmed its existence on Thursday, said it’s “time for Ford to step down.”

An editorial in the newspaper said an honourable man would step down but that “Ford is not an honourable man.”

The paper first reported the existence of the video in May and has faced harsh criticism from Ford and his allies ever since. The paper said Blair’s statements Thursday were a vindication of its reporting and hard work.

“It’s real and Ford is in it,” the front page read, citing Blair.

The front page of Friday’s Toronto Sun — a longtime Ford backer — called the mayor ‘dead weight’ and read “Enough’s enough, it’s time to quit.”

The paper backed Ford in his 2010 mayoral bid but, in an editorial, said while the city still needs fiscal conservatism, Ford needs to step down.

“I have no reason to resign,” Ford said Thursday. He refused to address Blair’s comments, saying he could not as the matter was before the courts. As Ford himself has not been charged, legal experts have told CityNews he is free to comment.

Globe and Mail columnist Marcus Gee said Ford should resign and the scandal “poses a threat to the success of Canada’s biggest city.”
He has become a distraction, the newspaper argues, and “the city deserves better.”

“Rob Ford must step down,” an editorial in the National Post read, and columnist Christie Blatchford wrote Ford should “probably” resign.

Toronto Region Board of Trade head Carol Wilding said Friday her group “believes that under current circumstances it is in the best interests of the City of Toronto for Mayor Ford to take a leave of absence until the situation is resolved. The Mayor of the city must put Toronto first.”

Councillors, including left-leaning Shelley Carroll and centrist Ana Bailao, have also called on Ford to step down. However, he cannot be forcibly removed from office. Municipal law makes no provision for removal unless a person is convicted and jailed for a criminal offence.