Rob Ford still making calls while in exile, says ‘rehab is amazing’

Matthew Coutts
Daily Brew
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford runs from cameras after exiting an executive council meeting in Toronto, March 19, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files

If anyone remains skeptical that Toronto’s mayor-in-exile Rob Ford is actually, serious seeking legitimate rehabilitation for his substance abuse troubles, apparently you can rest easy.

According to Ford himself, he is definitely in rehab. This according to what he told the Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmington, in one of countless phone calls Ford has made from the top-secret facility.

“Rehab is amazing. It reminds me of football camp,” Ford told Warmington, who described the facility as a “kind of ‘working’ camp.”

So all that concern about making sure Ford has privacy to ensure his attempts at rehab actually take? Apparently it was overblown. In whatever rehab facility Ford claims he’s admitted himself to, he’s allowed extensive contact with the outside world. He’s even allowed to continue working.

Ford told the Sun that he requested, and received, his “call sheets” and is returning phone calls to constituents. He also phoned his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, at city hall on Tuesday and had a nice chat.

Apparently when Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong happened past the Ford family gabfest, Rob asked Doug to pass the phone his direction.

Just spoke with Rob Ford. I told him I hope he gets better. He seemed to be in good spirits. He's working out. #TOpoli

— Denzil Minnan-Wong (@DenzilMW) May 6, 2014

I told Rob that some Councillors were trying to undermine our initiative to contract out garbage. He wanted to come back. #TOpoli — Denzil Minnan-Wong (@DenzilMW) May 6, 2014

[ Related: Allies insist Rob Ford is doing well in rehab: should the public know more? ]

But the real point of Ford’s contact with the outside world appears to be intended to shoot down growing speculation that Doug Ford would assume Rob’s position as a mayoral candidate.

The photograph below has not, to my knowledge, been tampered with in any way. During a council session on Tuesday, Doug actually sat down in the mayor’s chair – his allegedly rehab-bound brother’s chair – and pasted his name over Rob’s. He then said he had “no comment” about considering a mayoral run. Which is fine, because he has said all he needs to.

Doug Ford won't rule out running for mayor #TOpoli

— Don Peat (@reporterdonpeat) May 6, 2014

That’s a healthy family dynamic. One that Rob Ford can certainly lean on in his time of need. “I will be on the ballot for mayor in October, guaranteed, and I will do well,” he said, when asked about Doug replacing him on the ballot.

Warmington told Newstalk1010 on Wednesday that he simply called Ford's cell phone and started asking him questions, raising questions about why, if Ford is in rehab, he would be allowed access to his cell phone. The reporter admits he is only taking Ford's word that he is actually in rehab.

There are certainly different types of drug and alcohol rehab facilities, and each one has their own set of rules. Here is a rules list from a rehab facility in Austin, Tex. You'll note that mobile phones, pagers and laptops are not allowed on campus. Contact with family is limited to an hour-long visitation period each day.

At the Homewood Health Centre, a Guelph, Ont., facility Ford had reportedly been considering, the visitation period is longer and electronic devices must be approved by staff. Though they seem to require guests use a public phone for outside contact.

Still, a rehab facility that allows, even seemingly encourages, its patients to engage with the work and life stresses that contributed to the substance abuse issues? That seems unlikely.

And so are Ford's chances of recovery if he's not taking this seriously.

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