Coun. Doug Ford responded Wednesday to reports that his brother, Mayor Rob Ford, was returning calls from rehab.
“He has private time that he can make calls,” he said.
Coun. Ford also said a young woman was mistaken when she claimed to have spotted the mayor at a west-end Toronto coffee shop on Tuesday morning, saying it was him, not Rob.
“That was me at the Junction,” Doug stressed. “That was me at (Tim Hortons).”
Ford’s commitment to his rehabilitation was being questioned by some after he reportedly told Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington that he was still returning calls from constituents.
“I am getting help but I still want to help,” Ford told Warmington.
Ford also said he still planned to run for mayor and that he would be re-elected on Oct. 27.
Warmington told CityNews he called Ford on his cell phone after hearing the mayor had spoken to Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong.
“I don’t think he has very much privilege with [his phone] but I did happen to get him,” Warmington said.
Warmginton also spoke to 680News political affairs specialist John Stall on Wednesday morning.
“I did sense that he is still a little tired, but he was talking clear and certainly talking about things I’ve never heard him talk about before,” Warmington told Stall.
“He seems really excited about it. He described it like being at a football camp. There’s a lot of structure there…He really likes the other patients that he’s with and seems like he’s energized by the whole thing…He definitely seems to be enjoying being in rehab.”
The mayor is on a leave of absence from city hall, with no timeline for his return, after admitting to problems with alcohol.
“I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence. I have struggled with this for some time,” Ford said in a statement last week.
The leave came immediately after the Globe and Mail published an article that two reporters had seen a new video allegedly showing Ford smoking crack cocaine. The Toronto Sun, meanwhile, published an article that Ford was caught an audio tape making racist and sexist remarks at an Etobicoke bar.
Ford has not said where he is undergoing treatment. There are unconfirmed reports he is in a facility in Guelph. A mock ‘missing person’ flyer showing Ford has been seen around downtown Toronto. The number listed is 311, the number for city services.
— Jason Giles (@jasegiles) May 6, 2014
Doug Ford has said the location of the rehab facility will be kept confidential out of privacy concerns for others in the same facility.
“You (media) are putting all the other patients in jeopardy,” he said. “The doctor called me and they asked ‘please tell the media to stop.’ This is not about just Rob, this is about all the other patients.”
“(If you found out where he was) you guys would be up in the trees.”
The facility, Rob Ford told Warmington, is a treatment centre that deals with addiction to alcohol among other things. Ford said he was participating in group sessions that include four to eight people as well as one-on-one sessions, in which he is learning about himself and the past.
“I do believe that he’s in [rehab], but again, do I have definitive proof? Was I there? No,” Warmington told Stall.
“He certainly told me he was in there. He described the program, so I do believe he’s in there.”
The mayor also told Warmington he is sharing rehab space with “two doctors, a captain of industry and a professional athlete.”
One long-time addiction specialist told CityNews it would be out of the ordinary to allow a new patient to make calls.
Dennis Long, who has worked in the field for 30 years, said Ford needs to “make a complete break” from his usual routines in order to get clean.
“Most rehab or treatment facilities require (patients) to not be in contact with the outside world, usually for the first two or three weeks of the program,” Long said. “And they are quite aggressive about that.”
Listen to Stall’s full interview with Warmington below: