Rob Ford Taking Leave of Absence for Substance Abuse Help

Image: Rob Ford Taking Leave of Absence for Substance Abuse Help In this April 2014 file photo, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford greets supporters after his speech at his campaign launch party in Toronto.

Thursday, 01 May 2014 08:27 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is taking a leave of absence in order to address his substance abuse problem.

"I have decided to take a leave from campaigning and from my duties as mayor to seek immediate help," Ford said in a statement released late Wednesday evening, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

"I have a problem with alcohol and the choices I have made while under the influence. I have struggled with this for some time," Ford's statement continued. "I have tried to deal with these issues by myself over the past year [but] I know that I need professional help, and I am now 100 per cent committed to getting myself right."

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"I love the people of Toronto, I love being your mayor and I hope you will continue to stand by me. . . I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate it," Ford's statement concluded.

The decision to take a hiatus from campaigning reportedly stemmed from a new video surfacing of Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine while delivering a profanity-laden rant about Toronto Mayoral hopeful Karen Stintz, who was once a political ally.

In the video, Ford is heard saying "I’d like to f---ing jam her," referring to Stintz, "I can’t talk like this . . . I’m so sorry, I forgot there’s a woman in the house," The Toronto Sun reported.

According to The Globe and Mail, the tape was shot last Saturday in the basement of Ford’s sister, Kathy Ford.

Ford became internationally known last year for admitting to using crack cocaine during a drunken stupor. He initially denied the accusation until a police video surfaced that appeared to show him using the illicit drug.

Ford has since gained further notoriety for his bizarre outbursts, including leading a dance to a Bob Marley song on the Toronto City Council floor and appearing intoxicated at a fast-food restaurant where he held court with a heavy Jamaican accent in January.

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The 44-year-old Ford is running for reelection in a campaign that as of mid-April had 51 candidates registered.

The candidate reportedly in the lead according to polls is that of Olivia Chow, a former city councillor in Toronto and former Canadian New Democratic Party Member of Parliament. In a head to head matchup, Chow has a commanding lead over Ford of 53 percent to 42 percent according to a May 1 poll cited by The Toronto Star. The election will take place on October 27, 2014.

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