Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he lied about smoking crack cocaine because he was embarrassed but does not have substance abuse problems, during a series of highlight pulled from his first-ever YouTube show.
Clips of the show were posted on Monday, and come just days after fresh reports of public intoxication and odd behaviour stemming from an after-hours session at a Vancouver pub.
Ford and his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, appeared side-by-side in clips posted to their YouTube channel and took on such issues as "Is Rob Ford a Liberal?" and "Who will win the Stanley Cup?"
Thankfully, Ford doesn't hide the fact that the show is really a campaign advertisement, starting this first episode by asking for support in the upcoming election.
On the topic of Ford’s drug history and his preclusion toward lying about uncomfortable truths, Toronto’s mayor said simply that he lied because he was ashamed.
"I do not have a substance abuse problem. Did I experiment with drugs? Yes, I have. Why did I lie? I think everybody in the world has lied. Because I was embarrassed. I didn't want to tell the truth. That's the only answer I can give," Ford said.
Ford was reportedly videotaped smoking from a crack pipe and, when the revelation came out last May, he denied it and attacked the reputation and credibility of the Toronto Star and reporters who reported seeing the evidence.
When Ford eventually confessed to smoking crack, he claimed it was because reporters never "asked the right question." The claim, outright wrong and ridiculous even at the time, has apparently slipped from his mind.
He added in the video, "I'm not a drug addict, I do not use drugs. Have I in the past? Yes. And when they asked me, it is very, very humiliating in front of the world to say yes. And everybody’s lied. Maybe people can tell me, ‘why do you lie?’”
Ford claims that his drug use was a one-time thing, and has vowed to stop drinking and stay clean heading into the mayoral election campaign.
The Toronto Star recently reported that Ford appeared inebriated and was “talking jibberish” during an after-hours appearance at a Vancouver pub earlier this month. Ford was in Vancouver to attend a funeral, but was ticketed for jaywalking near a downtown pub on Friday night.
The Star reports that later that same night, “Ford ordered and enjoyed rounds of beers, rum-and-cokes and shots of Jack Daniels with three people” at the Foggy Dew. The newspaper also says that Ford disappeared into a small staff bathroom for more than an hour and emerged “talking jibberish.”
The report, which included photographs of Ford seated with several beers and other drinks, follows on the heels of video released of Ford speaking in Jamaican patois, making foul and homophobic statements, during a late-night appearance at the Steak Queen restaurant in Etobicoke. That night he was recorded meeting with friend Alexander Lisi, who was charged with trafficking drugs in a police investigation into a purported connection between Ford and a group of alleged criminals.
Several other comments were made in the video, including Doug Ford calling Rob a “social liberal.” The claim has been made before, but is notable due to the ongoing controversy of Ford's stance against appearing at the Pride parade, and fighting to have a rainbow flag removed from outside city hall.
"I would describe myself a little bit different than that. I just look out for everyone, no matter who they are," Rob said.
Rob also claimed that, as mayor, he has brought Toronto’s unemployment rate “down from 11 per cent to seven per cent." Toronto’s unemployment rate was actually 10.1 per cent in December. Ford also stood behind a claim that his administration has saved $1 billion, a number that has been discredited time, after time, after time.
It is not clear when the Ford Nation segments were shot. A time stamp on the YouTube clips say the videos were posted on Feb. 4, although they did not become available until Monday.
The show comes on the heels of a cancelled radio show and a cancelled TV talk show on Sun News Network. There is no one to cancel the YouTube show, although Ford has faced complaints about promoting the show through his mayor’s office.
So we can expect more episodes. At least until the mayoral campaign is over.
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