NEWS
05/06/2014 02:28 EDT | Updated 07/06/2014 05:59 EDT

Rob Ford in rehab: a private matter?

Toronto councillors are split on whether the public should know where Mayor Rob Ford is reported to be seeking treatment for substance abuse.

Ford took a formal leave of absence last week, issuing a statement saying he was seeking help for alcohol-related issues. The mayor later boarded a private flight to Chicago, but it has since been revealed that he ended up turning around and leaving the U.S.

Coun. Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother, told reporters Tuesday that the city’s chief magistrate "is in a rehabilitation program," though he declined to say where.

On Tuesday, Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti said that Toronto residents should be privy to some minor details about the mayor’s treatment, including verification that Ford is getting help and the city in which that is occurring.

"The mayor is the mayor of the whole city and some of us are actually asking this because we actually care and want to know that he’s going to be okay," he said.

Mammoliti also alleged that some of the mayor’s colleagues "would like to see him dead and die of this ailment."

Questioned about this claim, Mammoliti went on to criticize "how aggressive and awful some of them are being towards this illness."

His claim was met with immediate skepticism.

"As I’ve said on many, many occasions, I’m having a harder and harder time understanding anything Coun. Mammoliti says, or attaching any relevance or sanity to it," said Coun. Gord Perks.

'A private health matter'

Perks said he believed the public doesn’t needs to know where Ford is getting help, or what the rehabilitation program involves.

"That’s a private health matter," he said.

Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon made similar remarks on Tuesday, though she said she would like to know that he is getting help.

"I think it would be great to know that he is in treatment. I do think we need to respect the privacy of someone who is ill and who is getting the help they need," she said.

Coun. Shelley Carroll said that the Ford family should say where the mayor is going for treatment.

"I want to believe that he’s there, because we want him to get well. We’re very worried about his family," she told reporters Tuesday. “But really, disclosing it is part of showing that the whole family is committed to it and that healing is happening.”

Ford has long faced questions about his relationship with drugs and alcohol, particularly since reports emerged last year that someone had been shopping a video showing the mayor using crack cocaine.

The mayor long denied those reports, as well as the video’s existence. But that all changed when police revealed at the end of October that they had obtained a video that was consistent with what the media had reported. In early November, Ford admitted that he had smoked crack cocaine.

The story about the so-called crack tape, as well as the mayor’s admission and its aftermath were covered by media around the world.