TORONTO — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is considering entering a rehab program, his lawyer said Friday, in the first indication that the mayor might bow to heavy pressure to seek help — if not step aside — after he admitted to smoking crack and a video surfaced of him ranting and threatening to kill someone.
Dennis Morris said Friday that Ford is “considering his options” and treatment is “one of them.” But he said “it’s best we hear from his lips.”
He said the mayor needs to say what he plans to do himself because “when you go left, he goes right.”
Ford has apologized for his bad behavior but his refusal to resign or take a leave of absence has frustrated both his opponents and allies on Toronto’s City Council, which has no legal way to force him out unless he is convicted of a crime.
The mayor was mobbed by reporters at City Hall on Friday but refused to discuss what his next steps would be.
“I’m dealing with a serious personal issue right now. Please give me this time,” he said.
In another sign of Ford’s growing isolation, the mayor’s radio show was taken off the air. NewsTalk 1010 announced Friday that Ford and his brother “have mutually determined to conclude broadcasts of The City, ending with last week’s show.”
Ford’s influential brother, meanwhile, said he has urged the mayor “to go away for a couple of weeks,” although he reinforced the family’s stance that Ford has no reason to resign.
Doug Ford, a city councilor, said his brother needs a vacation and needs to work on his weight. He also suggested that despite the mounting scandal, Rob Ford remains a potent political force ahead of next year’s mayoral elections.
“If Rob goes away on a little vacation, a week, two weeks, comes back, loses 50 or 60 pounds, and stays on the straight and narrow … it will be very tough to beat Rob Ford,” Doug Ford told a Toronto radio station.
The mayor, a conservative who was elected three years ago on promises to “stop the gravy train at City Hall,” has vowed to seek re-election. He has had a loyal following in Toronto’s more conservative outer suburbs, who praise him for cutting the size of the city workforce and taking on labor unions, including banning public transit employees from going on strike by classifying them as essential employees.