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Mayor Ford may be forced out if he won’t take leave: councillor

CityNews | posted Thursday, Nov 7th, 2013

Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong says he’s amending his motion proposing that Rob Ford take a leave of absence, and if the mayor doesn’t go council will petition the province to have him removed from office.

The proposed amendment came as the city’s top civil servant Joe Pennachetti cautioned all staff that the city was not in crisis — and to not let the drama at city hall distract them from their job.

Minnan-Wong said, “We have told him that he needs to find the exit. He doesn’t seem to be listening.

“If he can’t find the exit, I think we have to show him the door.”

He added he believes that it would be the strongest measure “we could take.” He said he hasn’t spoken to Premier Kathleen Wynne, who earlier Wednesday reiterated that she’s not intervening and letting the municipality, the police and the courts do their work.

Minnan-Wong and his colleague Peter Milczyn drafted the original motion moments after Ford made the crack cocaine admission on Tuesday.

The motion also calls for Ford to apologize to the city for “misleading” residents about the existence of a video, that Ford co-operate with Toronto police in their investigation, apologize for writing a letter of reference for accused drug dealer Alexander Lisi, and that he respond to council directly and not address them through the media.

The proposal will be considered at next Wednesday’s council meeting.

Hours after his stunning admission, Ford said he had embarrassed the city, was very sorry and had only himself to blame for the mess, but that he was staying in office and was in fact planning to run for re-election next October.

On Thursday, city manager Pennachetti sent a memo to all Toronto managers, saying the city is not in crisis.

“I know you are all aware of the recent media coverage regarding the Mayor. The situation that is unfolding is unfortunate. It has also resulted in some media reports that the City of Toronto is in crisis. This is not the case,” the memo stated.

“I understand that these issues have created some distraction…The best way for the Toronto Public Service to address this situation will be to continue our hard work and to continue to provide high quality customer service to the residents and businesses of the City,” he added.

Mayor Ford will remain in office despite crack cocaine admission

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2013

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he’ll stay in office despite the stunning admission that he used crack cocaine about a year ago.

“I was elected to do a job and that’s exactly what I’m going to continue to do,” he said during an emotional news conference at city hall on Tuesday afternoon.

Ford said he embarrassed everyone in the city, will forever be sorry and has only himself to blame for the mess but he’s staying put.

Furthermore, he said during the municipal election next October, “I want the people of this great city to decide whether they want Rob Ford to be their mayor.” (Click here to read his full statement.)

Ford made the shocking crack admission earlier in the day.

“Yes I have smoked crack cocaine,” Ford told stunned reporters at city hall.

Ford added that he doesn’t currently smoke crack and he’s not an addict, but has experimented with the drug.

“Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago” Ford said. “Yes, I’ve made mistakes. All I can do now is apologize and move on…it was a couple isolated incidents.”

It’s not yet clear what prompted the mayor to make the admission after months of denial but a report says his staff was caught completely by surprise by the admission.

Ford’s attorney Dennis Morris said the mayor felt “tremendous frustration” with the ongoing saga, and said he came forward because “he wants to move on.”

Ford went into a closed-door meeting with deputy mayor Norm Kelly immediately after making the admission and Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong penned a motion asking him to take a leave of absence to “address his personal issues.” It will be tabled at a Nov. 13 council meeting.

The motion, backed by Coun. Peter Milczyn, also asks that Ford apologize for misleading the city. Both Minnan-Wong and Milczyn are members of the mayor’s executive committee.

Coun. Joe Mihevc said, “You can’t invent this stuff. It’s beyond bizarre,” while Coun. Jaye Robinson said the mayor “doesn’t have a shred of credibility.”

Before Ford admitted to smoking crack Tuesday, councillors John Filion and Paul Ainslie said they would table a motion taking away Ford’s power to remove the deputy mayor and councillors from committee.

We want to hear your opinion–both sides. Join the discussion by sounding off in the comments below. Reaction will be moderated.

TIMELINE: Key events in Rob Ford’s tenure as Toronto politician

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2013

Since May, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been embroiled in a controversy over a video that allegedly shows him appearing to smoke crack cocaine. The controversy around the mayor widened Thursday when a different video surfaced showing him in an expletive-laced tirade. Here some notable moments in the Rob Ford video controversy:

May 16: The Toronto Star and U.S.-based news site Gawker report that Mayor Rob Ford was seen on video smoking what appears to be crack cocaine and making racist and homophobic comments. They also say the video is being shopped around by a group of men allegedly involved in the drug trade.

May 17: Ford calls the allegations “ridiculous” and accuses the Toronto Star of “going after” him. Ford’s lawyer Dennis Morris calls the reports “false and defamatory” and says it’s impossible to tell what a person is smoking by watching the video.

May 24: Ford issues a short statement insisting “I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine.” He adds he can’t comment on a video that he has never seen and does not exist.

May 26: On his weekly radio show on Newstalk 1010, Ford says he’s “moving forward” from the allegations and plans to run for re-election. He attacks the media for how they’ve covered the growing scandal, calling them “a bunch of maggots.”

May 30: The Toronto Star alleges Ford told senior aides not to worry about the alleged video because he knew where it was. The mayor refuses to comment, but says he won’t step down.

June 13: Toronto police raid several homes including an apartment building where reports have said the alleged video was located. Police Chief Bill Blair won’t say if there’s any connection to Ford.

June 15: Reports in the Star and The Globe and Mail say two of the suspects arrested in the raid also appear with Ford in a widely publicized photograph connected to the alleged crack video scandal. Ford has said he poses for photos with “everybody.”

Aug. 9: Videos appear on YouTube showing Ford interacting with fellow attendees of a local street festival. Ford is slurring his speech and allegations surface that he was drunk. Ford addresses the allegations on his radio show, saying he had “a couple of beers” but was not intoxicated.

Aug. 18: The Star says two of Ford’s associates tried to obtain the alleged crack video after the allegations surfaced. Doug Ford dismisses it as “just another attack” by the paper.

Oct. 1: Ford’s friend and occasional driver, Alexander Lisi, is arrested and charged with four drug-related offences, including trafficking marijuana. Ford defends Lisi the next day, calling him a friend and a “good guy.”

Oct. 23: A Superior Court judge releases documents that show Ford wrote a character reference for Lisi following the man’s conviction of threatening to kill a woman. The letter dated June 4, 2013, praises Lisi’s leadership and work ethic and was part of a pre-sentencing report. Lisi is appealing his conviction.

Oct. 31: Chief Bill Blair announces Toronto police recovered a copy of a video file that depicts images of Ford “consistent with those previously reported in the press.” Blair said police have no “reasonable” grounds to criminally charge the mayor based on the video. But he said they have charged Lisi with extortion for allegedly making “extortive efforts to retrieve a recording.”

Nov. 3: Ford apologizes on his weekly radio show on Newstalk 1010 for making mistakes including appearing in public while “hammered” and texting while driving. But he tells AM640 the next day: “I’m not an alcoholic, I’m not a drug addict.”

Nov. 5: Ford admits he smoked crack cocaine about a year earlier while in one of his “drunken stupors.” Despite the admission after months of denials on the drug use question, he insists he had been truthful. “I wasn’t lying,” he told reporters. “You didn’t ask the correct questions. No, I’m not an addict and no I do not do drugs.” Ford says he has nothing left to hide.

Nov. 7: A video is posted online by the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun that shows Ford spewing obscenities and using threatening words, including “kill” and “murder.” The mayor tells reporters moments after the video is posted that he was “extremely” drunk and is “extremely” embarrassed.

With files from The Canadian Press

Mayor Ford admits ‘mistakes’ but won’t leave office

CityNews | posted Sunday, Nov 3rd, 2013

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford acknowledged Sunday that he has made mistakes in his life but left unanswered questions about the alleged crack video that has propelled him into the international spotlight.

“I’m the first one to admit I am not perfect, I have made mistakes,” Ford told his weekly radio show.

“Unfortunately, I cannot change the past. I can just move forward and learn from the past, which, I assure you, I’m doing.”

Ford apologized to his family, members of city council and Toronto taxpayers. He said he was referring to being inebriated in public during Taste of the Danforth in the summer and St. Patrick’s Day last year and texting while driving.

“A lot of stupid things. It’s all self-inflicted,” he said while promising he would make changes.

“I also know that to move forward I have to make changes in my life, which I will assure you I can do,” he said. “I want to keep working for the people of this city.”

Ford didn’t talk about the contents of the video that police say appears to be the one that two media outlets say allegedly appears to show him smoking crack cocaine. He said he hasn’t seen the video so it’s impossible to explain its contents.

”Obviously when the video is released, I’m going to explain to the best of my ability what’s in the video,” said Ford, who called on police chief Bill Blair to release the video so everyone can see it.

“Whatever this video shows, folks, Toronto residents deserve to see and people need to judge for themselves what they see on this video,” Ford said.

“That is the right thing to do and chief, I’m asking you to release this video now.”

Blair said Thursday that the video will be evidence in the case against a friend and sometimes driver for the mayor Alexander Lisi who faces criminal offences including trafficking marijuana. Police allege Lisi, 35, tried to get his hands on the video and charged him with extortion.

The mayor also spoke to KiSS 92.5′s Maurie Sherman who asked Ford what was in the envelope that Lisi put in his car and he said, “No comment.” Click here to listen to the full interview.

Toronto police said Sunday that it is up to the courts to decide whether evidence is released to the general public.

After reports of the alleged video first surfaced in the Toronto Star and the U.S. website Gawker in May, the mayor said he does not use crack cocaine and that the video does not exist.

He steadfastly refused to talk about the issue for months, but Blair’s stunning announcement on Thursday that police had what appeared to be the video triggered a torrent of calls for Ford to either resign or address the issue.

Ford met privately Saturday with deputy mayor Norm Kelly who relayed concerns from city councillors about the fallout from the police revelations.

Kelly appealed on Sunday for everyone, including Ford’s critics on city council, to give the mayor a second chance.

“I would urge my colleagues to do that, to show that this is more than just rhetoric… that in fact he has learned his lesson,” Kelly told to The Canadian Press in a phone interview after the radio show.

Kelly said Ford addressed a number of the concerns councillors asked him to pass on to the mayor on Saturday, including acknowledging the impact of some of his actions and promising to get a full-time chauffeur to drive him.

The video saga earned Ford international headlines, with countless foreign media devoting space on their websites to the story.

With files from The Canadian Press and CityNews.ca staff

Week of Nov. 4, 2013

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Nov 1st, 2013

It’s a star-studded lineup on next week’s Breakfast Television!

From Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Jazzy Jeff is in to share a few laughs.

Actor Gilbert Gottfried, and all things science with David Suzuki.

Plus, Canadian funnyman Colin Mochrie stops by to chat!

Be sure to watch BT weekdays 5:30 to 9 a.m. on City, right here at BTtoronto.ca/live, or on our Breakfast Television mobile app!

IN PHOTOS: Behind the scenes on the Halloween special

Winston Sih | posted Thursday, Oct 31st, 2013

Halloween is one of our favourite times of the year, and we threw one of Toronto’s biggest Halloween parties with our Star Wars-themed special Thursday morning.

Once again, you made our hashtag #BTboo trend online, and thousands of you were interacting with us at home through Twitter and Facebook.

Watch some of our best moments from this year’s Halloween show here, and check out some of the fun behind-the-scenes moments in the photo gallery below!

Thank you for making our Star Wars Halloween show a success!

Why are there so many giraffes on my Facebook feed?

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, Oct 29th, 2013

Facebook users have noticed that giraffes are quickly taking over the profile of friends and family.

The latest trend to take over social media is called ‘The Great Giraffe Challenge,’ and was created by an Australian travel blogger Andrew Strugnell, who often challenges his YouTube subscribes with these tasks.

The premise is simple: Find it posted on a friend’s Facebook feed, and if you get it wrong, repost the riddle on your own wall and update your profile photo to that of a giraffe.

The original post was published on Oct. 26, and has since taken off with thousands of Facebook users worldwide.

Now it’s your turn–take the challenge, and let us know if you figure it out in the comments below. And remember, if you get it wrong, change your profile photo and repost the riddle!

For a detailed description of how the game works, watch the video below.

The Great Giraffe Challenge (Repost to your Facebook wall):

I’ve changed my profile to a giraffe. I tried to answer a riddle and got it wrong. Try the great giraffe challenge!

The deal is I give you a riddle. You get it right you get to keep your profile pic. You get it wrong and you change your profile pic to a Giraffe for the next 3 days. MESSAGE ME ONLY SO YOU DONT GIVE OUT THE ANSWER.

Here is the riddle: 3:00 am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors, It’s your parents and they are there for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread and cheese. What is the first thing you open?

Remember… message me only. If you get it right I’ll post your name here. If you get it wrong change your profile pic.

Week of Oct. 28, 2013

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Oct 25th, 2013

It’s a fun lineup on next week’s Breakfast Television!

On Monday, chef Rob Rainford stops by with some great recipes. Plus, you know him from America’s Got Talent–Nick Cannon is by to share some exciting news.

Gentleman Husbands is in studio Wednesday with some of their favourite hits.

And it’s our big BT Halloween show Thursday. We can’t wait to show you what we have up our sleeves this year. It’ll be out of this world!

Be sure to watch BT weekdays 5:30 to 9 a.m. on City, right here at BTtoronto.ca/live, or on our Breakfast Television mobile app!

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