Those watching the collapse of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and waiting for the release of a video allegedly showing him smoking from a crack pipe may never get to see that piece of of the puzzle, but it appears those closest to the mayor are fed up and want a resolution.
The U.S. gossip site Gawker, which originally broke the news of the video, has been collecting donations from the public in order to pay the alleged drug dealers that possess the video. The site says, however, that tracking down their sources has become tricky and it fears they may have disappeared.
Regardless of the veracity of the video, this appears to be good news for Ford, who has taken the tact of ignoring the problem until it goes away. But it’s not going away, with many of his closest allies and advisers becoming increasingly concerned about a possible drug addiction.
Ford's executive committee is poised to release a statement today that, according to various reports, will either urge Ford to address the allegations and/or outline a plan on how to run the city while he is away. Away at, say, perhaps rehab.
This statement would come on the heels of news that Ford fired his chief of staff Mark Towhey after he apparently urged the mayor to seek help.
Sources confirmed for CBC News that Towhey has been urging the mayor to go to rehab since news broke about a possible crack video. The network reports that Towhey gathered Ford's inner circle together and presented him with options. Ford elected to ignore the advice and stay quiet.
"You have a problem. Go away and fix it," Towhey was quoted as saying.
Coun. Jaye Robinson said on Thursday that Towhey's firing was connected in some way to football. The CBC report suggests the final straw between Towhey and Ford was a party the mayor wanted to throw with his former players and coaching staff — he was dropped as a high school football coach earlier this week.
Towhey told Ford not to drag others into his mess, and again urged him to seek help. He was fired.
[ More Brew: Rob Ford fires chief of staff as crack allegations persist ]
Ford is increasingly separating himself from his closest allies. Councillors who side with Ford's agenda are being left out of the loop and even Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday has said he hasn't spoken to Ford since early this week.
With Towhey gone, it is beginning to appear that, regardless of whether the alleged tape is ever recovered, reports that Ford has a substance abuse problem have some merit.
Perhaps Ford would even be willing to seek treatment, but such an admission would lend credence to so much of what his hated enemy, the Toronto Star, has reported on over the course of his term.
As the National Post's Jonathan Kay wrote yesterday, Ford will never give the Star the satisfaction of resigning.
Still, with the situation coming into focus for the rest of us, strong suggestions that Ford's closest adviser feared he needed rehab puts the mayor in a pitiful position.
Indeed, a plan to protest outside Ford's home or radio program this weekend has been abandoned entirely because of the latest revelations.
The "Rob Ford sit-in" website now reads:
If it is the case that Rob Ford is suffering from an addiction, and it increasingly seems certain that it is, then there is no use badgering him to answer questions about it.
The denial of an addict cannot be broken through distant hectoring by strangers. It takes a compassionate but persistent friend, family member or loved one to break through the cognitive dissonance and shame that surrounds someone in the depths of an addiction.
Admitting that you have a problem is one of the hardest things a person can ever do. It is hard even in private company with the people who love you the most. We cannot imagine how difficult it would be to admit such a thing with the world's media waiting on the other side of the door.
Whatever the situation, it appears everyone at city hall has fed up with the distraction and is coming to believe the government can’t function while under the thumb of an absent mayor who may or may not have a drug addiction.
The dam is about to break.