Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said Tuesday he won't resign, hours after admitting he smoked crack cocaine, probably "in one of my drunken stupors."
"I was elected to do a job and that’s exactly what I’m going to continue doing," Ford said during a press conference at which he repeatedly apologized.
"Folks, I have nothing left to hide."
Ford has been dogged by drug allegations for months, ever since a video surfaced that purportedly showed him smoking crack. Toronto's police chief recently confirmed that police now have a copy of the video.
After initially denying the existence of the video and sidestepping questions about crack, Ford finally came clean on Tuesday, telling a raucous group of reporters that he had used the highly addictive form of cocaine.
"Yes I have smoked crack cocaine," Ford said earlier on Tuesday.
"But, no, do I? Am I an addict? No. Have I have tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago," he said.
At the press conference later in the day, held amid growing calls for him to step down, Ford apologized profusely to voters — and to his brother Doug, a city council member who had defended the mayor by calling for the police chief to resign.
"With today’s announcement, I know I embarrassed everyone in the city and I will be forever sorry," the blustery politician said, his voice filled with emotion at points.
"There is only person to blame for this and that is myself.
"I know that admitting my mistake was the right thing to do and I feel like a thousand pounds have been lifted off of my shoulders."
He said that while he knows he let down his constituents, he has no intention of stepping down and plans to run for re-election next year.
"I love my job and I love this city. I love saving the taxpayers money and I love being your mayor," he said.
"For the sake of the taxpayers, we must get back to work immediately."
Ford said that voters can decide next year if they still want him to be mayor.
"We live in a democracy," he said.
Councillor Jaye Robinson said the mayor should have taken a leave of absence six months ago to address his "health issues."
"Right now, he does not have a shred of credibility," she said.
"It's a circus...We've become the laughingstock of North America if not the world."
First published November 5 2013, 2:26 PM