Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will not step down from office even after admitting today that he smoked crack cocaine.
"To the residents of Toronto, I know I have let you down, and I can't do anything else but apologize. I know I have to regain your trust and your confidence. I love my job. I love my job, I love this city, I love saving taxpayers' money. I love being your mayor," an emotional Ford said.
"Voters have a choice. On October 27 of 2014 I want the people of this great city to decide whether they want rob ford to be their mayor," he said.
Ford made his defiant statements at a news conference just hours after he admitted to reporters that he had in fact smoked crack, following months of reports about a video that allegedly shows Ford inhaling from a pipe.
"Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine," Ford said, according to video posted by CBC News. "Probably in one of my drunken stupors."
Following his admission, Toronto City Council members asked Ford to take a leave of absence and speculation grew about a possible resignation. But at 4 p.m., Ford invited reporters into his office for a public apology.
"With today's announcement, I know I embarrassed everyone in the city and I will be forever sorry," he said. "I feel like a thousand pounds have been lifted off my shoulders. I can't explain how difficult this was to do. "
Ford also said that he had "nothing left to hide." His term as mayor since he was elected in 2010 has been plagued by scandal and speculation.
Last week, an associate of Ford's was arrested for drug trafficking and extortion relating to the video that allegedly showed Ford inhaling from a crack pipe.
"I want to be crystal clear to every single person: these mistakes will never, ever, ever happen again. I have kept this from my family, my brother Doug, my staff, and my Council colleagues because I was embarrassed," he said.
Ford appeared in front of reporters at City Hall around noon today and asked them to repeat a question they had asked him six months ago, in May, when allegations first surfaced that Ford had been videotaped smoking crack.
"You asked me a question back in May and you can repeat that question," he said, momentarily stumping reporters.
"Do you smoke crack cocaine?" a reporter asked.
"Exactly," Ford said, explaining that he had in fact smoked crack cocaine, "probably approximately about a year ago."
"So, I wasn't lying. You didn't ask the correct questions," the mayor said.
Ford said repeatedly that he had made mistakes and apologized. He also said he didn't recall there being a video recording and didn't remember when exactly he did the drugs, noting that he'd been in a drunken state.
"It's a problem," he said repeatedly.
Finally, a reporter asked Ford if he was "on crack right now," at which point Ford laughed and walked away from the reporters.
The stunning admission came after more than six months of reports about a video that reportedly showed Ford inhaling from a crack pipe. Reporters from the Toronto Star newspaper and Gawker website said they had seen the video clip in May.
Toronto police said last week they had recovered a deleted video file from Ford's friend, Alexander Lisi, that matched up with the video reported on by the media. Ford responded by saying he wanted to see the video, asking police to release it.
He said today that he had still not seen the video nor met with police.
Earlier this week, Ford admitted on his radio show that he had a drinking problem and apologized to Toronto residents for being "hammered" in public and said he would try harder to not do it again.
Lisi was arrested last week on drug trafficking charges. When police recovered the video file, Lisi was also charged with extortion. Police said he allegedly used extortion to gain possession of the video.