Rob Ford's past substance abuse denials

The Canadian Press
May 1, 2014 12:37 PM

TORONTO - Rob Ford has taken a leave of absence as mayor of Toronto, citing a need to get help for substance-abuse issues. But it came after nearly a full year of denials — from both Ford and members of his family — that he has a problem.

May 24, 2013 — One week after published reports that a video appeared to show Ford smoking crack cocaine, the mayor dismissed it as an attack by the Toronto Star.

"I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine. As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist."

Nov. 5, 2013 — Ford admits he smoked crack cocaine, likely while in one of his "drunken stupors." The admission followed months of denials, but Ford said he wasn't lying.

"You didn't ask the correct questions. No, I'm not an addict and no I do not do drugs.''

"I want to be crystal clear to every single person: these mistakes will never, ever, ever happen again."

Nov. 7, 2013 — Ford's family members were adamant the mayor did not have a substance-abuse problem.

"Robbie is not a drug addict. I know because I'm a former addict...It depends what you want to consider an alcoholic. Robbie does not drink every night, and he does not drink one. When Robbie drinks I think he just goes full tilt," Kathy Ford, the mayor's sister, told TV station CP24.

Rob Ford's mother, Diane Ford, said in the same television interview that her son's biggest problem was his weight and dismissed suggestions the mayor needed to step away from the job to properly seek help.

"If he was really, really in dire straits, he needed help, I’d be the first one, I’d put him in my car and I would be taking him, as would all of us, you know. No. He isn’t there."

Nov. 13, 2013 — At a council meeting city councillors asked the mayor wide-ranging questions about drugs, alcohol and various behaviours. Ford denied having problems.

"I put myself in the shoes of the taxpayers, if they were to look at the few incidents that we've had, I can understand they would say, 'He may have a problem.' I can assure you I am not an alcoholic, I am not a drug addict."

Nov. 18, 2013 — In a sit-down interview with CBC News chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge, Ford said he was "completely" off alcohol.

"Finished. I've had a come to Jesus moment, if you want to call it that."

"I'm dealing with my health issues.... Talk is cheap. If you don't see a difference in me in five months then I'll eat my words.

Jan. 21 — Ford admitted he had been drinking the previous night after a video emerged on YouTube of him in a rambling, profane rant using Jamaican patois.

"Monday was unfortunate.... I had a minor setback. We all experience these difficult bumps in life."

April 30 — Three Toronto newspapers published a slew of new Ford reports, including about another video showing him allegedly smoking crack cocaine, an audio recording of the mayor drunk, spewing profanities and making lewd comments, and witness accounts of him snorting cocaine at a city nightclub.

"I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence," Ford said in a statement issued following the media reports.

"I have tried to deal with these issues by myself over the past year. I know that I need professional help and I am now 100 per cent committed to getting myself right."

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