Critics and allies alike renewed their concerns that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is no longer fit to lead Canada’s largest city after a new video surfaced showing the mayor in a rambling rage, threatening to “murder” someone.
His mother defended him later on Thursday, saying she has advised him to work on his “huge weight problem,” get a driver, put an alcohol detector in his car and watch the company he keeps, but she insisted that her son, who has acknowledged a drinking problem, did not need to enter rehabilitation.
Moments after the video was posted online, the mayor told reporters that he was “extremely, extremely inebriated” in it and “embarrassed” by it.
The context of the video is unknown and it is unclear who the target of Ford’s wrath is. The video appeared at length on the Toronto Star’s Web site.
City councilors moved ahead in efforts to force Ford out of office, although there is no clear legal path for doing so.
The controversy surrounding Ford escalated last week when police announced they had obtained a different, long-sought-after video that showed Ford smoking a crack pipe. After months of evading the question, Ford admitted on Tuesday to smoking crack in a “drunken stupor” about a year ago.
Despite immense pressure, the mayor has refused to resign or take a leave of absence.
The 44-year-old Ford, who is married with two school-age children, said on Thursday he made mistakes and “all I can do is reassure the people. I don’t know what to say.”
“It’s extremely embarrassing. The whole world is going to see it,” Ford said.
In the blurry, shaky new video, Ford paces around, frantically waves his arms and rolls up his sleeves as he says he will “make sure” the unknown person is dead.
Ford tells another person in the room that he wants to “kill” someone.
“Cause I’m going to kill that [expletive] guy,” Ford says. “No holds barred, brother. He dies or I die.”
At one point he says: “My brothers are, don’t tell me, we’re liars, thieves, birds” and then later refers to “80-year-old birds.”
The Toronto Star said that it bought the video for US$5,000 from “a source who filmed it from someone else’s computer.”
The newspaper said it was told “the person with the computer was there in the room.”
Toronto City Councilor James Pasternak urged Ford to make a “dignified exit.”
“The video is very disturbing,” Pasternak said. “It’s very upsetting, it’s very sad.”
Ford’s lawyer Dennis Morris said the context of the video “is skeletal.”
“Was it taken eight, 10 months ago or a short time ago?” Morris asked.
Earlier on Thursday, Morris said he was in talks with police for Ford to view the video that appears show the mayor smoking crack. Morris said Ford would not answer questions.
Toronto police obtained that video during a drug investigation into the mayor’s friend and occasional driver, and they have said they are prohibited from releasing the video because it is evidence before the courts.
Police have not charged Ford, saying the video does not provide enough evidence against him.
In a television interview, Ford’s mother and sister acknowledged he had problems, but insisted he was not an addict and defended his ability to continue as mayor.
His mother, Diane, said he did not need to enter rehab, adding that he should work on his “weight problem” first.
“If he was really, really in dire straits and really needed help, I’d be the first one ... I’d put him in my care and take him there,” she told CP24 television.
The mayor’s sister, Kathy, added: “Robbie is not a drug addict. I know, because I’m a former addict.”