NEWS

Rob Ford should 'step aside,' Conservative Jason Kenney says

11/19/2013 04:34 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST
Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney had sobering words for Rob Ford on Tuesday, saying Toronto's mayor has brought dishonour to Canada's largest city and should step aside.

While most federal Conservatives have stayed mum on the subject of Ford, Kenney told reporters after question period on Tuesday that "I think Mr. Ford has brought dishonour to public office and the office of mayor and his city."

"I wish he had taken a leave of absence some time ago to go and deal with his personal problems but not having done that, I personally think he should step aside and stop dragging the City of Toronto through this terrible embarrassment.

"I think there is dignity in public service and elected office and he is doing regrettably dishonour to that high office," Kenney said.

The employment and social development minister said because it's a municipal issue, the federal government will leave it to Toronto city council to sort out the situation.

Despite Ford's troubles, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters on Tuesday he still counts the Toronto mayor as a friend.

"Yes, of course he's my friend. You don't have a friend one day and not a friend the next day. What kind of person is that," Flaherty said.

The Conservative MP for Oshawa-Whitby said it is up to Ford to decide what course of action to take.

"He needs to decide for himself what's best for him," Flaherty said.

In an interview with CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge on Tuesday, the mayor's brother and city councillor Doug Ford said the turning point for the mayor came when Flaherty got all choked up during a press conference a little less than two weeks ago.

Flaherty, a longtime friend of the Ford family, had an emotional reaction when reporters asked him whether the Toronto mayor should step aside and seek help after admitting he smoked crack cocaine​.

"He [Rob] called me after he saw Jim [Flaherty] and said, 'I'm changing my life.' This is a man who went out there for us, supported us," the mayor's brother said.

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