Toronto mayor must quit

The mayor of Canada’s largest city admitted this week that he has smoked crack, but refuses to step down.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford answered a reporter’s question with this quote on Tuesday: “Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. There have been times when I’ve been in a drunken stupor. That’s why I want to see the tape. I want everyone in the city to see this tape. I don’t even recall there being a tape or video. I want to see the state that I was in.”

All we can say is, wow.

Officials said municipal law in Toronto has no provision to force the mayor to resign unless he is convicted and jailed for a criminal offense. Ford has said he will not resign, and says “for the sake of the taxpayers, we must get back to work immediately.” At least one Toronto city councilor has said he will put forward a motion asking Ford to take a leave of absence.

The mayor’s leave of absence should be permanent. The admitted drug use is the last in a long line of incidents of misconduct by Ford, including prior admissions of drug use and excessive drinking. He’s also been accused of texting while driving, making an obscene gesture from his car, and being removed as a volunteer high school football coach after he made disparaging comments about parents and their children.

Ford’s pattern of bad behavior has gone on long enough. He obviously needs to get help for his drug and alcohol issues, but holding elected public office comes with high expectations of professional and personal conduct. Ford has failed to meet those expectations, and should resign immediately as the mayor of Toronto.