As controversy continues to swirl around Mayor Rob Ford, St. Paul’s councillor Josh Matlow has added his voice to the growing number of councillors calling for the mayor to speak out about allegations he was captured on video smoking crack cocaine.
“The mayor has a decision to make,” Matlow said. “He can continue ducking from this issue or he can stand up and face it like an adult.”
Matlow said he was “very saddened” when the allegations that Ford had smoked crack cocaine arose, noting the incident has both distracted city hall from its regular business and given the City of Toronto a black eye around the world.
“A controversy like this isn’t good for anyone, including the residents of Toronto and the mayor himself,” the councillor said.
Matlow addressed his constituents regarding the issue in his recent Community Update email earlier in the week, acknowledging that speaking on such a strange subject still seemed surreal.
“It’s not like every month there’s a new controversy at city hall; it’s virtually every hour now,” he said.
“There’s never been a controversy this sensational and bizarre and concerning at Toronto City Hall.”
Matlow has not had a chance to speak with Ford since the controversy erupted, but he would like to see the mayor deal with the issue quickly and honestly. Even if Ford does have an addiction problem – something the mayor has denied – Matlow said it would behoove him to admit as much.
“I would tell him, ‘Mr. Mayor, please put Toronto before yourself,” he said.
“This is not about your political career.”
Matlow said he feels that if Ford has an addiction problem, he could earn some sympathy from Torontonians by admitting as much and seeking help to overcome it.
Even as the controversy continues, Matlow said, most councillors and city staff members are doing their best to tackle ongoing issues such as traffic, gridlock and housing that plagued Toronto long before the allegations against Ford.
“I would like to remind Torontonians that while this controversy is taking a lot of the air out of the room, this city continues to function as imperfectly as it always has,” he said.
Councillor Pam McConnell was at an out-of-town meeting and could not be reached for comment. Representatives for Mike Layton and Adam Vaughan said those councillors were not commenting on the allegations, while Kristyn Wong-Tam could not be immediately reached for comment.