TORONTO — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford began a leave of absence and headed for a rehab center Thursday, leaving his scandalized city in the dark about his political future after a report surfaced of a second video of him apparently smoking crack cocaine.
Ford said Wednesday that he would take a leave for an unspecified period of time from both his mayoral post and his reelection campaign, but he did not abandon his bid for a second term as mayor of Canada’s second largest city. One of his campaign rivals and other Toronto politicians demanded he resign. Toronto police said they were looking into the new video, which was reported by the Globe and Mail newspaper.
A day after revealing his decision, Ford boarded a plane for a treatment program outside Toronto that will last at least 30 days, his lawyer Dennis Morris told the Associated Press. The mayor’s brother, Doug Ford, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that Ford would enter a 30-day inpatient treatment at one of the best rehab facilities in North America but he declined to name the location. Morris said the 30 days could be extended.
On Thursday morning, Ford left his west-end Toronto home in a two car-convoy without answering questions from reporters. His nephew was seen leaving the home with a suitcase.
Ford, who was elected four years ago on a wave of support from Toronto’s conservative suburbs, has for months been the subject of a drug-related police investigation, but he has not been charged with any crime. The Toronto City Council stripped him of most of his powers last year.
In a statement Wednesday, he acknowledged having a problem with alcohol and said he would seek help — but he did not address the reported video or make any reference to crack cocaine. ‘‘I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence,’’ Ford said in statement late Wednesday.