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Rob Ford says he’d take drug test if mayoral rivals followed suit

Toronto's Mayor Rob Ford scrums with the media after attending an executive committee meeting at city hall on Aug. 20, 2014.

CHRIS YOUNG/The Globe and Mail

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he would be willing to subject to a drug and alcohol test – but only if the other mayoral candidates also participate.

"I have no problem doing that," Mr. Ford said Wednesday at City Hall, when asked whether he would accept rival candidate Sarah Thomson's challenge for all mayoral hopefuls to take a sobriety test.

But the mayor, who called himself "sober as a judge" Wednesday, was careful to say that he would only do so if "all the other candidates" also did the same.

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"I'll be the first to do it if everyone else does it," he said. You've got to treat people equally here."

When reporters pointed out to the fact that only two months ago, the mayor attended rehab after admitting to smoking crack cocaine and having problems with alcohol abuse, he said he was "moving on."

"I don't' have to sit here and justify it," he said. "Everyone knows, you guys know, everyone can see it. I'm as clean as a whistle."

The mayor also said that other councillors should get tested too – an idea he's had rejected at council in the past.

"I'm the only one who admitted to it," he said. "I'm not going to sit here and say 'I'll do a drug and alcohol sample' just for the sake of doing that. I don't have to prove that."

Mr. Ford's mayoral rival John Tory told reporters at a press conference Wednesday that he'd be willing to take a test.

"Of course, I have no reason to say no to that," he said. "If he goes first," Mr. Tory said, referring to the mayor, "I'll go second."

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And Jamey Heath, Olivia Chow's spokesperson, said Ms. Chow would be willing to do the same.

"If Mr. Ford and Mr. Tory want to take one, then Olivia would not say no."

David Soknacki's campaign, meanwhile, pointed to drug and alcohol testing as being "discriminatory", and called the whole thing a "distraction."

"While he applauds Mr. Ford for being on his continued journey to recovery, he feels that urinating into a cup for a media hit would be yet another distraction, depriving the good people of this city of the adult conversation they deserve regarding Toronto's future," campaign spokesperson Supriya Dwivedi said.

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National Food Reporter

Ann Hui is the national food reporter at The Globe and Mail. Previously, she worked as a national reporter and homepage editor for theglobeandmail.com and an online editor in News. More

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