As mayors and power brokers from Canadian cities meet in Vancouver this weekend, they're expressing growing concern that Toronto's embattled mayor continues to dodge the alleged crack video scandal surrounding him.
Mayor Rob Ford has been besieged by reporters and has seen an exodus of aides from his office since two media outlets alleged he apparently was seen smoking a crack pipe in a video. Ford insists the video doesn't exist and that he will not step down.
At the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference in Vancouver on Friday, Toronto Coun. Michael Thompson - a right-leaning representative from Scarborough who sits on Ford's executive committee - likened the crisis in Toronto to a "great flood or great storm."
Thompson maintained that Toronto councillors don't know "the particulars" of Ford's issues, but he suggested that as mayor and chief magistrate of Toronto, Ford hasn't met the standards of clarity demanded of him.
"The matter is simply not going to go away without actions being taken," Thompson told The Province. "There is a tremendous amount of pressure, and the complexity of the personal challenges he is dealing with, he has to find a way forward."
Thompson said at Toronto City Hall and among "the fraternity" of politicians across Canada, "we all would like to see a closure to this."
"As I'm here at FCM, I'm hearing from colleagues that all of them would like to see this particular matter put to rest," Thompson said. "We are all aware and concerned when one municipality in our great country is affected by whatever the issue, whether it is a great flood or a great storm. We all want to see the best for that municipality, as quickly as possible. It's a similar situation here."
When The Province interviewed Sen. Larry Campbell at the conference, the former Vancouver mayor said he's dismayed by watching the "bizarre" slow-motion train wreck in Toronto.
"I weep, because it's not so much about the economic damage, but this is a multibillion-dollar operation and I don't know who is running the show," Campbell said in an interview.
"I'm worried about the lack of trust that citizens can have in the future, because it's not just Toronto. If you are a mayor, we are all mayors and we all have to deal with it. So I think (Toronto) has to deal with it."
Ford's predecessor, former Toronto mayor David Miller, was at the conference along with 17 current city councillors.
"Sorry, I'm not speaking about it," Miller said, when asked about the damage being done in Toronto because of the alleged crack video scandal.
Coun. Thompson said he doesn't believe Toronto's brand has been deeply damaged by the Ford crisis, "but the possibility is there."