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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