Toronto (Canada) (AFP) – Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor, Rob Ford, was back at work Monday, bolstered by supporters while speaking at a Remembrance Day ceremony after last week deflecting calls for his resignation.
Glad-handing outside City Hall on a drizzly morning after reading a statement to 3,000 people commemorating soldiers’ wartime sacrifices, Ford received some welcome praise.
“We love you, Rob!” shouted well-wishers.
Chris Korwin-Kuczynski, a former Toronto councilor and deputy mayor for 22 years, met Ford and afterwards said: “He’s done more than I’ve seen mayors do in the past, as far as promises that they make during election time.”
“I think he can survive,” he added.
Others, however, continued to press for Ford’s resignation.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly told local radio station 680 News that he hoped Ford would take a leave of absence after a weekend of “soul searching.”
“We’re hoping so, but he’s a big guy. He was an offensive lineman in football, he’s used to the battle in the trenches, that violent collision that goes on every play,” Kelly said. “But I’ve noticed in the last few days that he’s listening more intently than he had initially. So I’m optimistic.”
The leader of Canada’s biggest city has been embroiled in scandal since it emerged that a video held by police allegedly shows him smoking crack cocaine.
His predicament has since been made worse by separate aired footage of the mayor in an agitated, drunken state, staggering and making foul-mouthed death threats.
City councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, who is spearheading a vote to censure the mayor, said Ford’s antics have become a “distraction” and “a problem.”
“He can’t speak with any type of moral authority on the issue of crime and safety or on the issue of drug use,” Minnan-Wong said. “He talks about creating jobs — I don’t think he’s the guy to go to an international company and try and get that company settled in Toronto and create those jobs. He’s not a deal-closer right now.”
Minnan-Wong however acknowledged that there is no clear pathway to unseating the mayor, if he does not want to quit.