Before Toronto’s mayor was ensnared in a drug scandal of his own, Rob Ford was openly critical about the “bleeding heart” approach the city took to confront its crack cocaine epidemic.
In an interview with CBC news broadcasted on March 15, 2005, reporter Evan Solomon sat down with Ford, then a city councillor, to talk about harm reduction programs bankrolled by the city.
"You’re killing them," Ford said of the effect of harm reduction strategies on drug users.
"You’re giving them their crack hits, saying 'we’re not going to help you; we’re not going to take that money and put you in a rehab centre. We’ll just keep giving you the crack every day and giving you the paraphernalia until you’re dead.'"
Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine on Tuesday, months after U.S. website Gawker first broke the story on May 16.
“Yes, I’ve made mistakes, all I can do now is apologize and move on,” Ford told reporters at City Hall. At a second press conference later in the day he said, “I feel like a thousand pounds have been lifted off my shoulders.”
The surprise confession reportedly took some members of Ford’s office by surprise, but others were quick to move on a strategy to pressure the mayor to make amends and step down temporarily.
A motion filed by Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong urges Ford to apologize to the City of Toronto; cooperate with the police; write a letter of reference for Alexander Lisi; be transparent with council; and take a temporary leave of absence.
“We as a Council believe the Mayor’s conduct is unacceptable and must stop,” reads the motion. “He is hurting himself. He is hurting the City of Toronto.”
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