TORONTO — Rob Ford says he was drinking and using drugs before he became mayor of Toronto and the stress of the job is not what drove him to abuse substances.
Ford returned to city hall this week after two months in rehab, pleading for a second chance.
He would not answer questions after an emotional statement Monday, but today is sitting down with a handful of television networks for one-on-one interviews.
Ford told CBC he has been under the influence of alcohol while at city hall as mayor, but never used drugs there.
He also admitted he had been smoking crack cocaine just days before he left for rehab, confirming that was the substance in a pipe he was seen holding in a video image obtained by the Globe and Mail.
Ford refused to say if he would resign if he falls off the wagon, saying he is taking things one day at a time.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford granted one-on-one interviews to a handful of television stations Wednesday, talking about the drug and alcohol abuse that sent him to rehab. Here is a selection of quotes from those interviews.
On the extent of his drug use:
“You name it, I pretty well covered it. I was in denial. I convinced myself I didn’t have a problem,” Ford told CBC.
On the life-long nature of his problem:
“It’s not just an addiction. Some people can drink, some people can casually use drugs. I have a disease. I have a chronic disease. I was born with blond hair and I’m going to die with blond hair. I was born with this disease. I’m going to die with this disease,” Ford told CBC.
On saying sorry to Toronto’s “diverse community” for reported racist and homophobic remarks:
“I think I did and if I haven’t I’ll apologize again. I think I was quite clear and everything I said while I was using — I offended a lot of people and all I can do is apologize and say sorry. I cannot change the past and I think that covers everyone that you just mentioned,” Ford told CP24.
On the stresses of being mayor not being a trigger:
“This is what I love to do. This is not causing the disease. I’ve had this disease before I even entered this office,” Ford told CBC.
On refusing to be interviewed by police:
“Regardless of my alcoholism and my substance abuse problem this is handled through my lawyer, Dennis Morris. I think anybody in my position would get legal advice and that’s exactly what I’ve done. Obviously it’s before the courts,” Ford told CBC.
On whether he would resign if he relapses:
“I did not drink yesterday and I haven’t drank today. I take one day at a time.”