Video emerges of 'extremely inebriated' Toronto mayor

  • World
  • Friday, 08 Nov 2013

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reacts to a video released of him by local media at City Hall in Toronto, November 7, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - Just days after Toronto Mayor Rob Ford apologized for smoking crack cocaine, he admitted on Thursday he was "extremely, extremely inebriated" in a short expletive-laden video posted online.

The news hit as a campaign by some city councillors to ask the provincial government to remove Ford gathered steam.

The blurry, 80-second clip, posted on the Toronto Star's website and shown on Canadian television, shows a clearly agitated Ford ranting and pounding his hands together, while at least one other person seems to goad him on.

The Toronto Star said it had paid for the video, and said the context of the video was not clear.

"He dies or I die," Ford says in the clip, which also refers to something happening "in that ring." He adds: "I need fucking 10 minutes to make sure he's dead. It'll be over in 5 minutes."

Minutes after the video was posted, Ford emerged from his City Hall office to apologize.

"All I can say is - again - I've made mistakes. All I can do is reassure the people that ... I just wanted to come out and tell you I saw the video, it's extremely embarrassing," Ford said. "Obviously, I was extremely, extremely inebriated."

The mayor did not say who he was talking about in the video.

On Tuesday, Ford made international headlines when he admitted he had smoked crack cocaine, "probably in one of my drunken stupors." He apologized and promised it would never happen again.

For months, the mayor had been dodging questions about reports by media blog Gawker and the Toronto Star that he had been caught on tape using the drug.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said last week the force had obtained a video "consistent" with those reports, without describing its contents in detail.

Ford has refused to resign, and vowed to run for re-election next October. It is difficult to force the mayor of Toronto out of office, unless he or she violates election or conflict of interest rules, or goes to prison. There are no recall elections of the sort that take place in the United States.

But Toronto's city council may vote next week to ask the provincial government to remove Ford from his job.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a former Ford supporter, drafted that motion. He told local media on Thursday that he does not believe the province would act without the support of a "large majority" of council.

Even some who want Ford ousted may balk. Councillor James Pasternak warned that the motion could set a "dangerous and risky precedent," but did not rule out supporting it.

"I'm hoping for a dignified exit before then, and that way we can spare any more harm to the city," he told reporters on Thursday.

At one point in the video posted on Thursday, an unknown voice says "Mike Tyson," presumably referring to the boxer. Earlier this year Ford arm-wrestled Hulk Hogan, the professional wrestler, at a media event.

The Toronto Sun, which posted a few seconds from the video, said a source close to the mayor had confirmed it showed Ford, but said it "looks a lot worse than it really is" because the mayor "sometimes goes off on tangents.

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