TORONTO - A defiant Rob Ford faced off with Toronto city council Wednesday over his drug use and binge drinking. The mayor was peppered with questions during a heated debate on a motion urging him to take a leave of absence following his admission he has smoked crack cocaine. Here are some quotes from the council meeting:
— Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong: "Mr. Mayor, have you purchased illegal drugs in the last two years?"
— Ford: (pause) "Yes, I have.
— Ford: "It was a personal mistake that we all have done. Maybe not as serious as mine, but we all have skeletons in our closet that many people would not want to have exposed."
— Coun. Michael Thompson: "Mr. Mayor, it has been reported that you attended a residence in the city of Toronto, and that that residence, it has been deemed or it has been suggested that it is a crack house...Did you at any time report that house to municipal licensing and standard or the police, and is it your position or contention that, should citizens be aware of addresses of those kinds in their community, that they should not report those addresses?"
— Ford: "No, sir. That is not a crack house. That is not a crack house."
— Thompson: "And what is it?"
— Ford: "It is a house with a family, a father and a mother and three sons and a daughter. ... Have you been into that house?"
— Thompson: "I have no interest in being in that house. I am not a crack user."
— Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti: "Mr. Mayor, do you think you have an addiction problem with alcohol?"
— Ford: "Absolutely not."
— Mammoliti: "Mr. Mayor, do you think you have an addiction problem with substance abuse and illicit drugs?"
— Ford: "Absolutely not."
— Mammoliti: "Mr. Mayor, you recognize that some of your behaviour points to that?"
— Ford: "Depends on how you interpret my behaviour. A few isolated incidents? ... I can understand how people would perceive my behaviour, I can understand that. I put myself in the shoes of the taxpayers, if they were to look at the few incidents that we've had, I can understand they would say, 'He may have a problem.' I can assure you I am not an alcoholic, I am not a drug addict. Have I drank, have I done drugs? Yes, I have, but it's self-inflicted and I hope, Coun. Mammoliti, I hope that nobody goes through what I have gone through in the last few months....The reason I drank or did drugs was not out of stress, it was out of sheer stupidity."
— Mammoliti: "Mr. Mayor, in the behaviour that we have seen — some of us have seen, including myself — there are pictures of individuals that don't do good to the city that you seem to have a relationship with. Do you understand that even those of us that want to help you are really concerned about these things?"
— Ford: "Councillor, this one isolated picture in front of the garage was a one-off picture, I had never met those three men in my life, they came out and asked me to take a picture with them and that's the God-honest truth. I've never met those people, they're in court now, I'm not part of gang-bangers, I do not support them, but when someone comes out and says 'Let's take a picture,' I will take a picture."
— Coun. Joe Mihevc: "Mr. Mayor, the media is reporting that you are not, on the advice of your solicitor, co-operating with the police. Is that accurate?"
— Ford: "On the advice of my lawyer, Dennis Morris, that I believe is here, he has told me 'Do not talk to the police.'"
— Mihevc: "Do you not see how you, as the chief magistrate of the city, in saying that you will refuse to co-operate with the police, sends the wrong kinds of signals to our community that needs to work hand in glove with the police for incidents of criminality and lack of security in their communities?"
— Ford: "Councillor, I can only repeat what Mr. Dennis Morris (lawyer) told me, that I cannot talk to the police."
— Mihevc: "Do you have any sensitivity or understand that as chief magistrate of the city, of the implications for all the communities that look to you, perhaps, as their guiding leader, the implications for public safety and security on all the pressing policing issues that are before the city, how that sets a bad example?"
— Ford: "I support the police more than anyone. Front-line officers, I support them, you know I support them. I work with youth day in and day out and I've changed these kids' lives. I'm a positive role model, in kids that are down and out, I have seen it firsthand in 22 years of me working with youth day in and day out."
— Ford at the end of debate: “I really effed up and that’s it.”