Not long after Rob Ford’s “come to Jesus” moment in November 2013, when he declared to the Canadian press that he would never drink again, a video surfaced online of the Toronto mayor in a diner called Steak Queen, drunkenly swearing in a Jamaican accent on the matters of counter-surveillance measures and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Then there was the incident at a Vancouver bar, and another involving security guards at a Toronto Maple Leafs game, and a second crack cocaine video — all set to the tune of calls for his resignation from the mayoralty, which he’s held for four frequently scandalous years.
“Kindly be advised that I will be returning to work at City Hall on Monday, June 30th, 2014, in the later portion of the afternoon,” Ford wrote in a letter to Ulli S. Watkiss, Toronto’s city clerk. “Please make the necessary arrangements for my locks to be restored to their state prior to my departure.”
He’ll return to a post he mostly only holds symbolically: Toronto’s city council has stripped him of most political authority over the course of his recent controversies. In October his constituents will return to the polls to decide whether to keep him in office or replace him with either a conservative businessman or an ex-member of the national legislature — both of whom have turned to the incumbent’s personal failings to bolster their own campaigns.
Olivia Chow, the onetime parliamentarian, was ahead in the polls last month, but hope isn’t necessarily lost for Ford. Some 32% of his surveyed constituents said they would vote for him if he got clean, and though a different poll says his latest approval rating is about the same fraction, it’s more or less on par with that of other Canadian politicians, including Prime Minister Harper.