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The end of the line for Toronto’s rogue mayor

Another crack video. Another lewd comment.

By rights, this should be the end of the line for Toronto's rogue mayor. Once more, he has been caught in a lie. Once more, he has exposed his office to scandal. Once more, he has made the city he claims to love an international punch line.

Does he honestly believe that, after this, he can just take a little break to deal with his issues then rejoin the election contest? Impossible. It is time, at long last, for him to go.

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He should have quit the day that police chief Bill Blair confirmed the existence of the first crack video. He should have admitted the crack use long before that. He should have sought serious help for his substance problems months ago.

Instead, he lashed out at his enemies, called himself the best mayor ever and said he was cleaning up his act. "The past is the past," he famously said after admitting last fall to smoking crack cocaine. Judging by the video viewed by Globe reporters, the mayor's problems live very much in the present.

His crack use was not just a one-off mistake, made in one of his "drunken stupors." He was smoking what is said to be a crack pipe as recently as last week.

Mr. Ford has claimed again and again that he was turning over a new leaf. Again and again evidence has surfaced to the contrary.

He told the CBC's Peter Mansbridge that he had experienced a "come-to-Jesus moment" and that he was "finished" with alcohol. He told CP24 television's Stephen LeDrew that he would never again appear in a state of inebriation, "guaranteed." Yet after the Steak Queen video, in which he is shown cursing the chief of police in Jamaican slang, he admitted he had been drinking again.

Now, in a new audio tape posted by the Toronto Sun, he is heard swearing and ranting in a bar, sounding under the influence and making a crude remark about candidate for mayor Karen Stintz.

As for drugs, he told Mr. LeDrew "I'm not a drug addict. I don't do drugs." He told NBC's Matt Lauer this February: "I don't use illegal drugs. I've experimented with them, probably a year ago, but I don't use drugs. We're in great shape."

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Those claims, always dubious, lie gutted today. Mr. Ford needs help. His city needs a new mayor.

At the rally launching his re-election campaign earlier this month, he said he had learned from his mistakes about "humility, the kindness of people and the spirit of second chances." Rob Ford has had more chances than any man could hope for – and squandered them all.

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About the Author
Toronto columnist

Marcus Gee is Toronto columnist for the Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper.Born in Toronto, he graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1979 with a degree in modern European history, then worked as a reporter for The Province, Vancouver's morning newspaper. More

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