Ford's mother 'heartbroken' over controversy surrounding mayor
Sandie Benitah, CP24.com
Published Thursday, November 7, 2013 6:05PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 7, 2013 10:02PM EST
Rob Ford’s mother and sister say the mayor should seek counselling but insist he is not an addict and should remain in charge of Toronto.
Ford’s mother Diane and his sister Kathy sat down with CP24’s Stephen LeDrew for nearly 30 minutes Thursday night, in an attempt to salvage the mayor’s diminished reputation.
They said the media has been “unforgiving” in their coverage of the mayor and that despite it all, Ford has shown strength.
“He made a mistake and he admitted it,” said Diane Ford. “He has been at work every single day.”
Kathy, whose personal drug troubles are well documented, said just because her brother “binge drinks” doesn’t mean he’s an alcoholic or should go to rehab.
“Robbie is not an addict,” his sister said. “I know because I’m a former addict – or an addict if you would want to say.”
She said if Ford was an addict, he “wouldn’t be able to function.” She said Ford does not drink every night but when he does, “he goes full tilt.”
Ford’s mother admonished his behavior, calling it “unacceptable” and saying her family “wasn’t raised that way.”
Diane Ford was strict with the mayor at a recent family meeting, making demands that he has said he will adhere to.
Among those demands – the mayor has to get a driver, install a breathalyzer machine in his vehicle to prove he doesn’t drink and drive, speak to a counsellor and lose weight.
The mayor’s mother was adamant that he does have a serious problem that he needs to deal with – his obesity. She said it affects his demeanor.
Despite their insistence on the mayor’s ability to lead the city, the pair said the revelations that have surfaced about the mayor’s drug use, the controversial company he keeps and his habit of being publicly intoxicated have been disappointing the for the family, particularly the Ford matriarch who said the entire ordeal has left her “heartbroken.”
“It’s not acceptable. He is the mayor of this city. To err is human. To forgive is divine,” she said. “Forgiveness is not in the media right now.”
The Fords sat down with CP24 exclusively Thursday afternoon after contacting Stephen LeDrew earlier in the day.
It was agreed LeDrew would go to the Ford family home and conduct a live interview in their living room at 5 p.m.
Kathy said she wanted to speak out about her brother because she’s “mad” at the way he has been treated in the press. Her mother said that the controversy has clouded all the good the mayor has done during his career.
“My heart breaks for my son,” Diane Ford said. “It really, really does because he’s been attacked.”
The Ford women also touched on the relationship between the mayor and his brother and colleague on council, Coun. Doug Ford.
Doug Ford has stepped into the spotlight repeatedly, defending his brother at every turn and on Tuesday, he accused the chief of police of being biased and demanded he step down. That happened just hours before Rob Ford shocked everybody by admitting that he has in fact smoked crack cocaine while in office.
Doug Ford has not spoken to the media since the mayor made the stunning admission. But he stood next to the mayor with a straight and somber face as Rob Ford addressed reporters late Tuesday afternoon, apologizing profusely for his indiscretions and vowing never to do it again.
He told the media then that his family was in the dark about his habits.
Kathy Ford said she feels bad for Doug.
“He needs time to chill out and cool down because he’s hot,” she said. “When it comes down, he’ll be there for Rob. “
Throughout the interview, the women never wavered in their support for the mayor though they were quick to admonish him for the constant lack of judgement he has shown.
“It’s terrible, his children can’t play on their front yard,” Diane Ford said about the media attention the mayor has drawn to the family. “This is not right. I told Rob, ‘You caused all this.’”
“He feels dreadful and he feels ashamed about what he’s done to the family,” she added.
But both women believe Ford will come out on top.
"He's strong enough to come out of this and deal with his problems," Kathy said.
@SandieBenitah is on Twitter. For instant breaking news, follow @CP24 on Twitter."