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Rob Ford to take leave of absence to seek help for substance abuse


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will take a leave of absence to seek help for substance abuse, his lawyer Dennis Morris announces.

Dennis Morris said his client acknowledged he had an abuse problem and wanted to do something about it.

Rob Ford, who is seeking re-election in October, has been stripped of many of his powers after admitting using and purchasing illegal drugs while mayor.


He admitted last year to smoking crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor”.

His admission, following months of denials, came after police said they had obtained a video that appeared to show him taking the illegal drug.

The Toronto Sun quotes Rob Ford as saying he is “ready to take a break” from the election campaign to “go get help”.

Rob Ford, who is seeking re-election in October, has been stripped of many of his powers after admitting using and purchasing illegal drugs while mayor

Rob Ford, who is seeking re-election in October, has been stripped of many of his powers after admitting using and purchasing illegal drugs while mayor

He told the newspaper he was being urged to not leave the mayoral race by people around him.

“He acknowledges he has a substance abuse problem and he wants to do something about it,” Dennis Morris told the Associated Press news agency.

The newspaper said it had obtained a new audio recording of him making abusive comments about other politicians.

Videos have emerged in recent months showing Rob Ford ranting in an apparently intoxicated state.

Allegations have also surfaced in police documents that Rob Ford used racially abusive language, threatened staff, propositioned a female colleague, and snorted cocaine in a restaurant. He denies these allegations.

Rob Ford was first elected in 2010 to lead Canada’s largest city on a pledge to tackle wasteful spending at city hall. He draws much of his support from the suburban areas of Toronto.

He soon privatized rubbish collection across much of the city and did away with a vehicle tax, but quickly became bogged down in disputes with the council.

In the fallout from the drugs scandal, the city council stripped Rob Ford of most of his mayoral powers and his budget, rendering him effectively mayor in name only, analysts say.

But Rob Ford has brushed aside pressure to quit, saying voters will decide whether to keep him in office in the October election. He has said his “track record speaks for itself”, and recent polls show him running in contention with his chief challengers.

The Toronto mayor faces serious challenges from centre-right candidate John Tory, a broadcaster and former member of the provincial parliament, and former New Democratic Party (NDP) lawmaker Olivia Chow.

John Tory has released a “Code of Conduct” in which he vows to “respect and defend our laws, not break them”, and to “show up for work each day”, in a clear rebuke to Rob Ford’s recent behavior.

Karen Stintz, a city councilor, and David Soknacki, a former councilor, are also running.

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