TORONTO – Disgraced Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson and a member of the mockumentary series “Trailer Park Boys” have joined Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s re-election team.
Ford emerged from his office at city hall on Tuesday afternoon with Johnson and actor Sam Tarasco to say he’s “excited” the pair will be supporting him at certain campaign events.
Ford says the two men “know everything” about him and want to focus on the money he’s saved the city.
Johnson would only say the mayor has his “full support.”
In 1988 Johnson set a world record in the 100-metre sprint at the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul but was stripped of his gold medal several days later after he tested positive for banned anabolic steroids.
In 1993, he was banned for life by the I.A.A.F. for failing a second drug test.
Ford, who admitted last year to smoking crack cocaine and buying illegal drugs, said he supports Johnson “100 per cent.”
“We all made mistakes in life,” the mayor said. “I supported him from day one and that’s the bottom line.”
While Ford couldn’t say what exactly Johnson and Tarasco will be doing on his campaign team, he noted that “they want to get votes.”
“They know I have a proven track record,” he said. “You want to get in to all the other nonsense? It’s nonsense, (they say) let’s get on with the money he’s saved and how good he’s run the city.”
The ever-colourful mayor made the announcement just hours after he rolled out a cart of boxes containing 10,000 chocolate Easter eggs he said he purchased to hand out at a local parade, only to find out politicians were not allowed to participate.
Ford said he understood the event’s organizers wanted to keep politics out of the event, but the mayor said he wished he knew that before ordering the eggs.
Ford said he plans to donate the chocolate eggs.
Ford is running for re-election despite facing a series of controversies over the past year, which have included him making profane remarks on live television and being filmed ranting incoherently in a Jamaican accent.
The mayor is also the subject of an ongoing police investigation.
Toronto’s municipal election is set for October.