Mayor Rob Ford launched his new YouTube series Monday with an admission that he lied about using drugs because he was “embarrassed” and “didn’t want to tell the truth.”
The mayor appears with his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, in new four videos that were made available this morning on their YouTube channel.
One of the clips, titled “Rob Ford comes clean” features a question from a person identified as Sandra from Bangkok, Thailand, asking the mayor why he lied about his substance abuse problem when first asked.
“A) I do not have a substance abuse problem,” Ford says. “Did I experiment with drugs? Yes I have. Why did I lie? I think everybody in the world has lied. Because I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to tell the truth.
“I’m not a drug addict. I don’t use drugs. Have I in the past? Yes. When they ask me, it’s very, very humiliating in front of the world to say ‘yes,’ and everybody’s lied, so maybe people can tell me, why do you lie? People either lie to cover up, people lie because they’re embarrassed, and that’s why I lied.”
Ford did not acknowledge he lied in November, after he admitted to smoking crack cocaine following months of reports of a video in which he appears to be smoking the substance. During those months he was repeatedly questioned on his use of the drug. He said then that he did not lie, but that reporters “didn’t ask the correct questions.”
Shortly after the admission, council stripped Ford of most of his powers, making him essentially mayor in name only. Ford began 2014 by becoming the first candidate to register for the mayoral race, asking the public to focus on his record as mayor rather than his behaviour while in office.
The most recent poll from Forum Research Inc. indicates that if a vote were called today, with David Soknacki, Ford and Karen Stintz in the race, Ford and Stintz would tie — a dramatic departure from polls conducted in January, in the wake of the ice storm.
“He was clobbering Karen Stintz a month ago and now they’re dead even,” said Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum. In early January, Ford was slated to take 41 per cent of the vote, with Stintz capturing 29 per cent and Soknacki 14 per cent. In just a month, Ford’s share of the vote dropped to 35 per cent and Stintz jumped to the same level.
Bozinoff attributed the change to two events in the mayor’s personal life. The first was the video that showed the mayor, appearing inebriated, cursing in Jamaican patois and calling the police chief a derogatory name, while at Steak Queen. The second incident was in Vancouver, when police gave the mayor a ticket for jaywalking. A Toronto Star investigation revealed that the mayor spent a late night at the Foggy Dew bar after receiving the ticket, appearing impaired and consuming alcohol after the bar had closed.
“There have been more personal things going on,” said Bozinoff. “Even though people seem to separate the personal from the public stuff, it is having an impact on voting intentions.”
In addition to the change in polling numbers, the mayor’s approval rating has also slid down by four percentage points, from 47 per cent in January down to 43 per cent. The poll is accurate plus or minus 4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Toronto Star reporter Robyn Doolittle’s new book, Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story, revealed that the mayor’s wife, Renata, was worried about his substance abuse and sought help. Blue Ice Pictures, a Toronto-based film company, announced Monday that it has acquired the film and television rights to the book.
The brothers’ YouTube show comes after two separate stations cancelled programs by the brothers. Newstalk 1010 cancelled The City, the brothers’ weekly talk radio show that ran from February 2012 until November 2013. The show was terminated as the firestorm heated up surrounding a video in which the mayor appears to smoke crack cocaine.
Shortly afterwards the brothers were offered a spot on Sun News Network, but only made it through one episode before being cancelled over cost concerns.
In the first video of the new series, entitled “Ford Nation begins …,” the brothers introduce themselves and the mayor once again repeats his widely disputed claim that his administration has saved Toronto’s taxpayers $1 billion. Another video centres on sports, a favourite topic of the brothers. The mayor picks Anaheim to win the Stanley Cup, while Doug predicts Chicago will take it.
In the video “Rob Ford’s a Liberal?”, Doug says he donates his salary entirely to charity, and that he can do so because of the wealth provided by Deco Labels and Tags, the family’s business, which racks up an estimated $100 million in sales each year.