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Mayor Keith Hobbs doesn’t think embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford should be forced to step down.
But Hobbs said Ford should seek help if he needs it.
Ford on Thursday refused repeated calls for him to step down in light of a Toronto police bombshell that confirmed the existence of a video purportedly showing the mayor smoking a crack pipe. It was also revealed Ford had been the target of a lengthy police investigation that led to the arrest of his part-time driver and good friend Alexander Lisi.
“He’s beleaguered. He’s been battling this for awhile. Alcohol and drug addictions, we’re looking at them in Thunder Bay. It’s an illness. And I think by the sounds of things – and everyone’s innocent until proven guilty – it doesn’t look good,” Hobbs said.
“But perhaps people need to start looking at it that way. Perhaps the man needs some help.”
Hobbs said it’s possible Ford should step aside, at least temporarily, but not having seen the evidence, it’s hard to make that judgment.
“I’m sure the police are going to do their job. People will have to determine from there.”
Politics are riddled with scandal, he added, when asked if like Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, he thought the latest accusations against Ford might stain municipal politics in Canada and create a more cynical voter.
“Look what’s happening in Ottawa with the senate scandal and the mayors in Montreal. You’re always going to have issues like that. You just deal with them. Politicians are much maligned, but they’re closest to the people, especially municipal politicians. They are the first line for the people and I think we do an honourable job.”
Ford’s lawyer on Friday challenged Toronto police to release the video, which Police Chief Bill Blair called disappointing.
Dennis Morris, in an interview with CBC, urged Blair to swear an oath that he saw a video that shows Ford smoking crack.
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