Rob Ford: 'I'm not an alcoholic, I'm not a drug addict'

One day after offering a vague apology on his weekly radio show, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford arrived at city hall early Monday morning and repeated his demand that the video at the centre of the scandal surrounding him be released.

Last week, Toronto police Chief Bill Blair revealed that investigators had seized electronic devices during a series of raids months ago and recently managed to restore a deleted video file containing images of the mayor he said were "consistent" with widely publicized reports.

The Toronto Star and the U.S. website Gawker had each reported in May that someone had been shopping a video that allegedly showed Ford using crack cocaine. The mayor denied both the video’s existence and using crack cocaine.

On Sunday, Ford called on the police chief to release the video so the public could see "whatever this video shows" and judge its meaning for themselves.

He also apologized for "mistakes" he has made without offering any specifics about the reasons for apologizing.

Ford arrived at city hall uncharacteristically early at 7:30 a.m. Monday and spoke briefly with CBC's Steven D'Souza as he waited for an elevator.

"If they have a video, I want everyone to see the video," Ford told D'Souza. "I want the police to release the video right now."

Meanwhile, reaction to Ford's Sunday performance from his council colleagues was mixed.

Coun. Sarah Doucette said the mayor's apology is too vague.

"Is he sorry that he appears to be using drugs? Is he sorry that he appears to be dealing with drug dealers?"

Coun. James Pasternak said Ford's comments failed to give Toronto residents "the comfort zone we really need."

"The game plan he outlined yesterday doesn't really address the political crisis we're facing," he said on CBC Radio's Metro Morning.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, who held a private meeting with the mayor on the weekend to talk about Ford's behaviour, said he believes Ford's apology was sufficient.

"I think that he has done enough to merit support going forward, but that support is conditional on him living up to the standards that he has set for himself," Kelly said.

Ford also made a Monday morning appearance on Talk Radio AM640. You can listen to the interview by clicking on the external link on the left side of this page.

He again didn't address specifics about the contents of the video but told host John Oakley that he will change his behaviour in light of incidents of public drunkenness at the Taste of the Danforth festival in August and at a 2012 St. Patrick's Day party in his office.

"I'm not an alcoholic, I'm not a drug addict," Ford said. "If I had a problem, I'd be the first one to say I'm not fit to run the city."

Ford admitted he does enjoy "a few cocktails" and said he will try to curb his drinking in the future.

"Have I drank a little too much at times? You're absolutely right. Am I going to curb that? Absolutely I'm going to curb that."

When Oakley asked how Ford would be able to reduce his alcohol intake when there's evidence to suggest he has a drinking problem, Ford responded: "You just don't drink as much. That's it."

"I'm not holier-than-thou. I'm going to have a few drinks, but I'm not going to be running around city hall with a half-bottle of brandy in my hand."

Ford refused to answer questions about charges of extortion and drug trafficking against his friend and driver Alexander Lisi, also known as Sandro, saying it's a matter "before the courts."

Ford also said he plans to get a driver, something Kelly has implored him to do. The mayor has previously rejected calls to have someone drive him around.

The mayor also said he will not resign or take a leave of absence and again vowed to run for re-election next October. Ford has said he believes next year’s mayoral campaign is going to be "a bloodbath."

Coun. Karen Stintz, who intends to run for mayor next year, said that Ford is not going to step down and councillors should stop suggesting that he do so.

"Let’s just get on with it," Stintz said, speaking with reporters at city hall.

"The mayor has already indicated that he is not going to take a leave of absence, that he is not going to resign, so we need to take the mayor at his word and we need to continue on with the business of the city."

Ford is in his first term as mayor. He previously served as a city councillor in a ward in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, where he lives with his family.

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