Quebec mayor denies driving drunk, says he’s not ‘Rob Ford’

Matthew Coutts
Daily Brew
L'Assomption mayor Jean-Claude Gingras

Since when is "I'm not Rob Ford" an acceptable defence for the behaviour of a municipal politician?

Maybe it always has been, or maybe it never was. But at least one Canadian mayor seems willing to give it a try.

Jean-Claude Gingras, the mayor of a Montreal suburb L'Assomption, was arrested over the weekend on suspicions of drunk driving and refused a breathalyzer test.

Gingras denied being intoxicated at the time of the arrest, telling QMI Agency, "I'm nothing like Rob Ford. I'm not on crack, I'm not on a binge." He then alleged there was a police conspiracy against him - which is right out of Rob Ford's personal  playbook.

Similar to Gingras, the Toronto mayor has previously refused a breathalyzer. Ford was pulled over while driving in Florida in 1999 and refused a breathalyzer. He was forced to pay a fine and perform community service.

Ford has more recently confessed to smoking crack in a "drunken stupor" and buying illegal drugs. Last week, a video showing Ford drunk and slurring at a Rexdale restaurant prompted questions about how the mayor got home afterwards.

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The L'Assomption denial is not the first time Ford has been held as a boogeyman in a political spat. He was previously used as an example of "corruption in politics" in a U.S. Republican campaign ad.

Last year, the mayor of Hampton, Florida, was arrested and charged with selling oxycodone, raising local comparisons to Toronto's notorious leader.

"This isn't Toronto. We will not tolerate illegal drug activity, in my jurisdiction, by anyone, to include our elected officials," Polk County Sheriff Gordon Smith said in a news release at the time.