Rob Ford is facing new questions about his battle with substance abuse, after two incriminating videos of the mayor were posted online Tuesday afternoon.
The videos are renewing concerns about the mayor's ability to stay on at City Hall, even in the limited role he has taken since council transferred much of his authority to the deputy mayor last fall.
Following his admission in November to smoking crack cocaine, the mayor has repeatedly claimed that he had sworn off alcohol.
On November 18, the day that council stripped him of his powers, he told the CBC's Peter Mansbridge he had had a "come-to-Jesus moment" and that he was "finished" with booze. In an interview with CP24 a day later, he "guaranteed" he would quit.
Just eight days ago, after the mayor was spotted in a lakefront nightclub, he angrily told reporters at City Hall "I don't drink."
In recent weeks there were signs his efforts to live healthy were paying off. While in the past he has shown up at City Hall looking groggy, he has been sharp of late, particularly during last month's ice storm recovery when he seemed energetic at daily press conferences. He registered for re-election on January 2 with a promise that last year's drug and drink scandals were behind him.
But an all-too familiar controversy engulfed his office on Tuesday afternoon when a video was posted to Youtube that showed the mayor slurring, cursing and ranting about police Chief Bill Blair in a faux Jamaican accent.
The footage was shot at the Steak Queen restaurant in Etobicoke, a favourite hangout of the mayor's, and posted by an anonymous Youtube user named Toronto TheCity.
In the footage the mayor frequently uses the Caribbean slur "bumbaclot," and appears to complain about the lengthy police investigation the force carried out against him and his associates last year.
Ford can be heard to say "cocksucker" followed by "fucking Chief Blair," and talks about someone "chas[ing] me around for five months."
"Fuck off. You know how much money that cost them?" he says to a person off-camera.
Shortly after the video was made public, Ford emerged from his office and admitted he had been drinking Monday night.
"A little bit, yeah," he said.
Despite having publicly promised to quit, Ford told reporters it was nobody's business whether he drinks.
"I was with some friends. What I do with my personal life, with my personal friends, that's up to me," he said. "It has nothing to do with you guys. It's my own time, it's with my own friends."
He rejected the suggestion that imitating a Jamaican accent or using the words "bumbaclot" and "cocksucker" was offensive.
"If I speak that way that's how I speak with some of my friends," he said. "I don't think it's discriminative [sic] at all."
Ford said he wasn't driving Monday night but wouldn't say how he got to the restaurant. He denied using any drugs and as he boarded the elevator through a crush of reporters he would not answer questions about when, or if, he ever quit drinking, or if he believes he needs help for substance abuse issues.
Soon after he left his office, a second damaging video began circulating online. The footage was also taken at the Steak Queen, but was posted to Youtube by a different user named Tim Stewart.
It appears to show the mayor with a man resembling Sandro Lisi, who is currently facing charges of drug trafficking and extortion, the latter in relation to his alleged attempts to retrieve the mayor's crack video.
Last summer, police observed Lisi leaving packages in Ford's car on several occasions and going to great lengths to conceal the exchanges. Court documents released in October show that members of the mayor's staff were concerned that Lisi was supplying him with drugs. The contents of the document haven't been proven in court.
It is not known if the video, which appears to have been surreptitiously shot, was taken the same night as the first Steak Queen video. But Ford is wearing what appears to be the same suit and tie in both. The other man is wearing a black Canada Goose-style parka identical to one Lisi wore to a bail hearing in November.
In the second file's accompanying text the Youtube user appears to reference the first video, saying "Rob Ford was there no matter what anyone says but when I saw him he was not drunk and he was not even drinking, he was sitting with a friend and respectable."
The Youtube user did not immediately responded to NOW's messages for clarification.
Even before the second video was posted, council members reacted with dismay to the news that Ford had slipped back into his old habits.
Councillor Jaye Robinson said Ford's latest public embarrassment was confirmation that "we made the right decision when city council reduced the mayor's powers."
"That was one of the best decisions we made this term," she said.
"I've seen enough," said Councillor Thompson as a reporter played him the mayor's slurred diatribe.
The councillor called the video "offensive" and said it was "another sad episode in the very tragic day in the life of Mayor Ford."
Thompson confessed he was not surprised by Ford's behaviour, however. Many of his colleagues "had concluded that it was only a matter of time," he said.
"This is getting beyond ridiculous," said Councillor Joe MIhevc. "We've seen him make promises, we've seen him break promises. This is not behaviour appropriate to the chief magistrate of the city."
"The only good news is that this is now 2014, and we are about nine months away from the election," he continued. "I think the people of Toronto are just waiting for that election to do what they know they need to do, and that is to sweep him from office."
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said the mayor showed a "shocking lack of judgment" by again allowing himself to be filmed in an inebriated state, and called for Ford to take a leave of absence.
"Step down from the office or just step aside and seek professional help," he said. "If it's happened once it may happen again."