Yesterday, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair revealed that Mayor Rob Ford appears in a video smoking crack, confirming rumors that have been swirling for months. A close friend of the mayor was charged with extortion, apparently in connection with trying to recover the video.
But while the revelations rocked North America’s 4th largest city, it is hardly the first time Ford has brought disrepute to Toronto. While substance abuse may impact Ford personally and ultimately compromise his ability to perform his job well, here are five things Ford has done as an elected official that are arguably worse:
1. Voted against AIDS funding because “If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably.” “‘These are the facts,’ he added when asked if he backed his earlier comments. According to the United Nations, the majority of those affected with AIDS are heterosexual, non-drug users.” [City News Toronto, 6/29/06]
2. Used a racial slur against a member of the city council. “Day 3 of council’s week-long budget deliberations degenerated into chaos briefly after an outraged Mammoliti accused Ford of calling him a “Gino boy,” a term used to disparage Italian Canadians.” Two other council members confirmed Ford used the slur, but he blamed a “left-wing conspiracy.” [Toronto Star, 3/7/02]
3. Solicited money from lobbyists on city letterhead for the Rob Ford Football Foundation, his private charity. He then participated in a city council vote to drop an investigation into the matter. [City News Toronto, 1/25/13]
4. Proposed eliminating the city’s watchdog agencies, after they targeted him for misconduct. “You don’t need a lobbyist registry, an ombudsman and an integrity commissioner. They have 20 people; they’re tripping over themselves. They’re trying to make themselves look busy.” [Toronto Star, 10/25/12]
5. Said “Oriental people” are “taking over” Toronto because “they work like dogs.” Later, he largely defended his comments, claiming it was a compliment. [City News Toronto, 3/06/08]
Unless Ford is convicted of a crime, he cannot be removed from office.