TIME Canada

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Promises to Stay Sober

Toronto Mayoral TV Debate
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Lucas Oleniuk—Toronto Star/Getty Images

"I have begun the process of taking control of my life"

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford vowed to stay sober and continue to work for the people of Toronto on his first day back in office after a two-month rehab stint.

“I have begun the process of taking control of my life,” he said at an invite-only press conference Monday. “No matter what I do, I will never change the mistakes I have made in the past.”

Ford, who entered a rehab facility at the end of April, said he “deeply regret[s] some of the personal choices” he made in the past, which included smoking crack cocaine, using vulgar language and appearing in public while intoxicated.

“I want to to sincerely apologize not just to the people of Toronto, but every single person who was hurt by my words and my actions,” he said.

Ford called his commitment to living clean “unwavering” and said he has removed the negative influences from his life.

“I was blind to the dangers of some of the company I kept,” he said. “Those associations have ended.”

Ford thanked his family for their support, apologized to the city council for his embarrassing actions and thanked the media for giving him privacy during his stint in rehab.

Though the city council stripped him of most of his mayoral authority following revelations about his drug use, Ford, who was first elected in 2010, will continue to serve in office unless he is voted out of office on October 27.

“I am not asking for your forgiveness,” he said. “Substance abuse is a vert difficult thing to overcome, but I will keep battling this disease for the rest of my life.”

TIME Canada

Rob Ford Returns to Office After Rehab

Toronto Mayor Ford arrives at City Hall in Toronto
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford arrives at City Hall in Toronto June 30, 2014. Mark Blinch—Reuters

Toronto's notorious crack-smoking mayor is back — but for how long?

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford returned to office Monday following a two-month stay in rehab for substance abuse, CBC reports.

Ford’s return comes after a year of scandalous behavior including public drunkenness, using obscene language and smoking crack cocaine. He agreed to attend rehab at the end of April, releasing a statement that said he had “a problem with alcohol” for which he was seeking help.
Toronto’s city council stripped him of most of his powers and budget following news of his drug-taking, rendering him mayor in name only. Nevertheless, Ford has refused to quit, saying voters will decide his fate in the municipal elections on October 27.

The mayor is due to speak to the media at 3:30pm ET, though what he’ll say remains a mystery. Ford’s main electoral opponents, John Tory and Olivia Chow, have scheduled media addresses directly after Ford’s, at 4pm and 4:30pm respectively.

Councillor Doug Ford, brother of the embattled mayor, has been playing his cards close to his chest. He said Sunday his brother was “looking forward to coming back, that’s for sure.”

The councillor added: “He looks the same, but a little lighter. He’ll be hungry and looking forward to meeting the people.”



TIME Canada

Rob Ford Will Return to the Toronto Mayor’s Office Once He’s Done Rehab

A mock "missing persons" poster with a picture of Toronto Mayor Ford is seen in Toronto
A mock "missing persons" poster with a picture of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is seen in Toronto on May 7, 2014. Ford, who said last month he would take time off to get treatment for an alcohol problem, described rehab as "amazing" and said he would return in time for the upcoming city election, a Toronto newspaper reported on Wednesday. Mark Blinch—Reuters

He'll face a fresh mayoral election in October, and while he's behind in the polls, not all hope is lost for the controversial politician

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.

Now Ford is on the tail end of an “amazing” two-month stint in rehab, and he fully intends to stay in office once he’s out, the BBC reported Tuesday.

“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.

TIME Canada

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Rob Ford The Musical

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reacts on the podium during his campaign launch party in Toronto
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reacts on the podium during his campaign launch party in Toronto in this file photo taken April 17, 2014. Mark Blinch —Reuters

Producers are holding a casting call in Toronto

Call it Crack Rock of Ages, perhaps.

Rob Ford the Musical: The Birth of a Ford Nation, about the inebriate Canadian politician, is holding an open casting call in Toronto next Monday, according to the production’s website.

Toronto’s mayor earned notoriety after he admitted to smoking crack cocaine last fall, with the somewhat self-defeating explanation, “Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine… Probably in one of my drunken stupors.” Ford is currently taking a leave of absence, and has checked into rehab, but still plans to run for a second term as mayor.

In other words: His life story is crying out to be paired with song and dance.

Brett McCaig, P. Joseph Regan and Anthony Bastianon penned the book and lyrics. Bastianon has worked as a composer in Canada previously, and McCaig penned Nursery School Musical, though according to his LinkedIn page, he is also in real estate.

The auditions are being held at the resident performance space of famed comedy group Second City in Toronto, but a spokesperson for Second City told TIME that the improv group has nothing to do with the play—they are just renting out the audition space.

According to the casting call, the auditions will be “color blind,” so no resemblance to the robust mayor is necessary. The producers will cast the parts of Rob Ford, the mayor’s brother Doug Ford, as well as a character called “Tranny.” (Rob Ford once made offensive comments about transgender people.) The audition announcement boasts, “The media, the police chief and the city itself are not off limits.”

The musical is slated to open at Toronto’s Factory Theater on Sept. 16.

TIME Media

Don’t Count Out Teflon Ford Just Yet

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reacts on the podium during his campaign launch party in Toronto
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reacts on the podium during his campaign launch party in Toronto in this file photo taken April 17, 2014. Mark Blinch —Reuters

The Toronto mayor's former press secretary acknowledges the self-destructive behavior of the embattled politician, but says people underestimate him. Ford has beat the odds before, she writes, and if anyone can bounce back, it's him

When he was elected mayor in 2010, it was clear that Rob Ford was not a “normal guy.” But having worked as his Director of Communications and Press Secretary from June 2010 to December 2011, even I could not have predicted how unconventional his lifestyle has turned out to be.

As I have said many times since leaving the mayor’s office to join the Toronto Sun, it was bad, but nothing like what we see unfolding before the world now.

Ford has had his enemies in Toronto politics and the media since the day he entered municipal office. Much of the coverage of Ford has been over the top, with media camped out in front of his office, his home and even showing up at his cottage.

However, he has given his critics fuel for their fire, and all current wounds are self-inflicted. There is really no comparison to the coverage that Rob Ford has received, but that’s because there is only one Rob Ford.

Yet, when Torontonians finally got a real glimpse of who Ford really is, they weren’t completely shocked, and for those who loved him, they didn’t seem to care.

Ford has been consistently polling second in a crowded field for this year’s municipal election. With support across the political spectrum and a loyal following, mostly suburban and affectionately known as “Ford Nation,” it has not been out of reach that progressive Toronto would re-elect Ford.

This week, more audio and video recordings of the mayor surfaced. In the video, Ford is holding what appears to be a crack pipe in his sister’s basement, all while wearing a nearly perfect Windsor knot. The audio was of a very boozy night out at a local watering hole filled with racist, sexist and off-color commentary.

Ford has finally admitted that he cannot continue as mayor and has gone to “get help” at rehab.

It is too early to know the impact of both the latest recordings and Ford’s decision to seek treatment. However, it is not too early to know that if anyone can bounce back from a crisis like this, it is the Teflon Ford.

Ford was never supposed to be elected Mayor of Toronto, a liberal city. However, Toronto is not the same city it was 20 years ago and Ford managed to grasp the attention of a growing class of anti-tax, property-owning suburbanites.

Prior to being mayor, Ford was a right-leaning suburban city council member and harsh critic of his mayoral predecessor, David Miller. Miller was a tax-and-spend, left-leaning downtown liberal. Ford built his reputation as a plain-speaking maverick, but was a lightning rod for being crude, offensive and nasty instigator of altercations with his colleagues. There were drunken stupor incidents even then.

When Ford had his chance to jump into the mayor’s race, he presented a penny-pinching campaign platform that differed wildly from his front-runner left-leaning opponent.

Ford, slowly but surely, chipped away at his opponent’s lead, pointing to massive financial waste in the smallest figures and simplest terms. He pledged to end David Miller’s “gravy train” and elitist “war on cars” and new subway lines for alienated suburbs. Serious observers accused him of missing the forest for the trees, but voters understood his message; they felt his anger; they ate it up.

His strategy worked, he increased turnout and ran huge margins in suburban districts. The “300 pounds of fun” obnoxious councillor from the suburbs was elected mayor with more than 47% of the vote, with his nearest rival in the race trailing at 36%.

Ford’s election-savvy and “helluva guy” reputation could eclipse this latest distasteful flare-up, but it will be a challenge. The best bet is that he opts for proper treatment and recovery time, and sits this election out. However, as we have seen for his entire political career, the regular rules don’t apply to Ford. If anyone can recover, and that is a big “if,” the constantly underestimated Ford is that candidate.

Adrienne Batra is the Comment Editor at the Toronto Sun, host of Straight Talk on Sun News Network and Rob Ford’s former Press Secretary.

TIME Rob Ford

Rob Ford ‘Ready To Take A Break’ And Seek Help After New Video Emerges

Toronto Mayor will get help for substance abuse after another video of him smoking crack appears.


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he’ll take a break from his reelection campaign and seek substance abuse help. The decision came just minutes before The Globe And Mail released images from a video of the embattled mayor allegedly smoking crack again.

TIME Canada

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Seeks Help for Substance Abuse

The Toronto mayor, who admitted he smoked crack, will step away from a re-election campaign and seek help for substance abuse, after a new recording surfaced that allegedly captures Ford at a bar making offensive remarks about mayoral contender Karen Stintz

Updated 12:45 p.m. ET on May 1

Notorious crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is taking a break from the campaign trail to seek help for substance abuse problems, his attorney said Wednesday.

Ford’s time out comes after an audio recording (warning: offensive language) purportedly of him at a local bar surfaced earlier this week, where he can be heard being “unruly” and making offensive comments about mayoral contender Karen Stintz. The unverified recording is the latest such incident in the mayor’s infamous record of being belligerent and spouting off in a drunken and/or drug-fueled stupor.

“It’s not easy to be vulnerable and this is one of the most difficult times in my life,” Ford said in a statement Wednesday. “I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence. I have struggled with this for some time.”

“He’s doing what I think most of the population thought would be appropriate a number of months ago. At that time he didn’t think he should, and now I think he realizes, so that’s a good step,” Ford’s lawyer Dennis Morris told the Toronto Star.

While Ford’s attorney did not unveil the specifics of the treatment he would seek, the 44-year-old’s admission that he struggles with substance abuse comes after many months of denying he has a problem.

“I think the public realizes that he may face certain substance abuse problems and was not admitting to them. Finally admitting to a problem is the first step to rehabilitation,” Morris said.

Although Ford has largely been stripped of most formal powers he once possessed as mayor, he launched his reelection campaign two weeks ago promising he wouldn’t “back down.”


TIME Internet

Rob Ford Apparently Doesn’t Understand How Daylight Saving Time Works

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Press Conference
Carlos Osorio—Getty Images

The embattled crack-smoking mayor of Toronto gave his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers the wrong clock-setting advice ahead of this weekend's Daylight Savings Time switchover

And in today’s edition of fun Rob Ford news: the scandal-plagued, gaffe-prone Toronto mayor incorrectly advised his 133,000 Twitter followers to turn their clocks back for Daylight Saving Time, instead of forward.

The now-deleted tweet read, “Daylight Saving Time starts this evening, turn your clocks back and change batteries in smoke alarms.” It was up for about 30 minutes, which was plenty of time for snarky backlash and screenshots of the error.

Soon, a new tweet went up with the correct information:

Seriously, why has no one taught Rob Ford that old saying, “spring forward, fall back?”

To be fair, Daylight Saving Time is pretty baffling. Plus, given Ford’s track record (see: lying about smoking crack and then later admitting it), this slip-up seems pretty tame.

TIME Television

Watch Jimmy Kimmel Pummel Rob Ford


When Rob Ford was introduced on Jimmy Kimmel Live Monday night as the disgraced Toronto mayor who “tripped, bumped, danced, argued, and smoked his way into our national consciousness,” Kimmel immediately pounced.

“Why are you here?” Kimmel asked. “What good could come of this? Have you ever seen the show?”

Although Ford started the Los Angeles taping happy, throwing shirts into the audience, his positivity waned as Kimmel questioned him about his strange antics (with video evidence). Kimmel suggested Ford, who has admitted smoking crack, had a drinking problem and told him that if he was consuming enough alcohol to smoke crack in his 40s, “and you don’t remember it, maybe that’s something that you might want to think about, like talking to somebody.”

Ford threw back his head and laughed when Kimmel said he had a drinking problem. The mayor denied any out of the ordinary issues—in a November interview with Matt Lauer, Ford said that his only problem was his “weight issue”—and said that he “wasn’t elected to be perfect.”

After the interview, a Toronto Sun reporter heard Ford talking on his cell phone saying that he had been “set up.” While Ford’s brother Doug told the Sun that the mayor was “a little upset,” Ford clarified, “No, it was more Doug that was upset. I told him, ‘what are you upset about.’ No big deal. I was fine. There was some tough questions but it was fun. I had a blast.”

Watch Kimmel confront the mayor about his alcoholism below:

TIME Music

Here’s Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Dropping Some Sick Beats

The polemical politician took a crack at DJ-ing


If the whole politics thing doesn’t end up working out, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford — you know, the guy who admitted smoking crack — might just have a future as a hip-hop producer.

At a South by Southwest fundraiser for Toronto artists this weekend, Ford played DJ and laid down some sick beats before a very enthusiastic audience. A good DJ knows how to get a crowd pumped up, and Ford seems to know how to do that better than anyone. So, if his attempt at re-election doesn’t pan out, it’s nice to know he’s got a solid fallback.

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