POLITICS
05/01/2014 11:38 EDT

Olivia Chow: 'It's Obvious Mr. Ford Is A Sick Man'

Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow says that while she is pleased Rob Ford is seeking professional help for substance issues, his leave of absence should have come months ago.

"It's obvious Mr. Ford is a sick man, it's obvious that he has a serious drug addiction problem," Chow said at a press conference Thursday morning.

While Chow said Ford's leave comes "too late," she urged all Torontonians to come together and wish him the best to deal with his issues.

Chow, considered a frontrunner in the mayoral race, said she is "angry and disappointed" Ford has again been caught making offensive remarks against women, this time directed toward mayoral rival, Coun. Karen Stintz.

"A mayor needs to treat everyone in the city with dignity," she said. "It's about time we have such a mayor."

And Chow, who has in the past called Ford an "international embarrassment," lamented that the mayor's problems are again making headlines around the world.

But Chow, like Stintz, stopped short of calling for Ford to immediately resign.

"He has taken a leave of absence. When he comes back it is up to the voters to decide," she said.

In an audio clip released by The Toronto Sun Wednesday night, Ford can be heard making lewd comments about Stintz. The mayor also says he would rather lose to Chow than any other rival. A reporter also asked Chow how she felt about that comment.

"It does not matter," she said. "It's up to the citizens of this city to decide on who is the new mayor and his comments are offensive."

Stintz also called a press conference Thursday morning to address Ford’s comments, calling them "misogynistic."

"Rob Ford's comments are gross," Stintz said. "Rob Ford is not Toronto."

Stintz said Ford did not call her to apologize for the crude comments. She said she had to share the incident with her young children Thursday morning.

"I did have to tell my children going to school today that the mayor said some mean things about their mommy," Stintz said.

Mayoral candidate John Tory called on Ford to quit Wednesday night after The Sun story broke and The Globe and Mail revealed its reporters had seen a video of Ford smoking what has been described as crack cocaine.

"Like Torontonians across the city, I am deeply disappointed by these revelations of Mayor Ford’s behaviour. For the good of the city, I call on Mayor Ford to resign," Tory said in a statement.

Toronto voters head to the polls on Oct. 27.

The audio from The Toronto Sun can be heard here: