Can Rob Ford's political career survive another scandal?
Christina Commisso, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, May 1, 2014 8:37AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 1, 2014 6:51PM EDT
While some political experts say Rob Ford's decision to enter rehab presents an opportunity to reset the conversation regarding his personal life, others says the embattled Toronto mayor's political career can't survive another scandal.
CTV's political analyst Scott Reid says Ford has exceeded Toronto's tolerance for misbehaviour in the wake of the latest drug and alcohol abuse allegations involving the mayor. He expects the support from 'Ford Nation' to drop to around 10 per cent.
"I think, as a genuine political force, Rob Ford is spent," Reid told CTV's Canada AM on Thursday.
News broke Wednesday night of two new recordings that allegedly involve Ford: a video, allegedly recorded in Ford’s sister’s basement, in which reporters with the Globe and Mail and Gawker say he can be seen smoking from a pipe.
An audio recording obtained by The Toronto Sun was also posted online. The paper says Ford can be heard in the recording making candid remarks including lewd comments about another mayoral candidate, Karen Stintz.
Reid said Ford's legacy of likeability and appeal to voters, is likely no longer the case.
"That guy on that tape is not likeable," Reid said of the audio recording. "That guy is vulgar, that guy is rude and that guy is unlikeable, and I think ultimately that's what's killing him."
Ford announced on Wednesday that he was taking a leave of absence to seek “immediate help” for substance abuse.
Others have questioned the timing of Ford's decision to take a leave, noting that a provincial election may soon be in the works and the mayoral campaigns could be put on hold.
"This is going to be an opportunity for him to reset the dial," political strategist Marcel Wieder told CTV News Channel.
Wieder pointed out that a number of Toronto residents already believed Ford had a problem, and his decision to enter rehab may convince voters that he's ready to deal with his substance abuse issues.
"If he's genuine and he comes out of rehab with a clean bill of health, 30 pounds lighter, and we have a Rob Ford 2.0, he's going to be that much more competitive," Wieder said.
He added: "People in the city are concerned about city issues, not Rob Ford personal issues. They're concerned about taxes, gridlock…If Ford is able to deal with that then he'll have an opportunity to reset the agenda."
While some political colleagues applauded Ford's decision, others were quick to call for his resignation – including mayoral rival John Tory.
Reid said that decision to seek help should have occurred about a year ago, when allegations of a crack video involving Ford first surfaced.
"The only thing he could have done, and it should have occurred one year ago, is to say alright I'm going to show contrition, I'm going to take a time out I'm going try and make myself better, and then I'm going to throw myself on the mercy of the political court," Reid said. "But Rob Ford has refused to do that for so long, that I don't think that card will work."
On Thursday mayoral candidate Olivia Chow echoed the same sentiment during a press conference, saying, "It's too late. He had his chance. He should have stepped aside last year."
Unlike Tory however, Chow didn't call for Ford's resignation.
She said now that the mayoral campaign is underway, "it's up to the voters to decide," who should lead the city.
Recent polling has shown a tight mayoral race between Tory, Ford and Olivia Chow ahead of the October municipal election.
The new allegations follow what's been a tumultuous year for Ford, who was stripped of many of his powers in November, after Toronto police confirmed the existence of a video that appears to show the mayor smoking from a crack pipe.