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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford takes leave for substance abuse

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-01

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford announced on Wednesday that he will take time off to seek professional help for substance abuse, while a Canadian newspaper reported that a new video had emerged allegedly showing him using what appeared to be drugs.

Ford, who gained notoriety last year after admitting to smoking crack cocaine, said he would take time off from his duties as mayor and his re-election campaign to seek immediate help.

“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 said in a statement released by his campaign team. “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 percent committed to getting myself right. I love the people of Toronto, I love being your mayor and I hope you will continue to stand by me.”

Allegations about Ford’s drug use began in May 2013, after two media outlets said they had seen video footage of him smoking from what appeared to be a crack pipe.

He initially denied the allegations, before owning up to his drug use in November. He said at the time it probably happened “in one of my drunken stupors,” but insisted he was not an addict.

The Globe and Mail newspaper, however, claimed on Wednesday that two of its reporters had seen a new video of Ford taking a drag from a long copper-coloured pipe. The story, citing a self-professed drug dealer, alleged that the video was secretly filmed early Saturday morning.

Ford’s office and lawyer could not immediately be reached to comment on the article.

New audio recording

Separately, the Toronto Sun newspaper reported on Wednesday that it had obtained a new audio recording of Ford ranting and swearing in a Toronto area bar. The recording includes lewd remarks about a rival female candidate in the mayoral race.

Ford, who took office in 2010 on a platform of cost-cutting and low taxes, has billed himself as a champion of taxpayers and ordinary people.

But his admission to using crack cocaine and his refusal to resign have made international headlines, damaging his image. He has since been stripped of many of his powers by Toronto’s city council.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-05-01

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