Two of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's closest allies on council say that only the emergence of an alleged drug video can help dissipate the controversy that has enveloped his office for nearly two weeks.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday told reporters Wednesday that "eventually someone has to put up or shut up," when it comes to the video that published reports say show Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.
CBC News has not seen the video and cannot verify its authenticity.
Asked to clarify his recent remarks that he believes the Toronto Star reporter who said she saw the video, Holyday said that to him, the lingering controversy isn’t about its existence.
"The thing is whether it’s authentic and whether it’s been altered and we won’t know that until we get our hands on it," he said.
Holyday said that given the fact that the video has not surfaced, without any "concrete" supporting information, he believes that "this thing has gone far further than it should have."
- Rob Ford's office reportedly tipped to location of video
Coun. Frank Di Giorgio, a member of the mayor’s executive committee, expects that the existence or non-existence of the video will become clear in the days ahead.
"There appears to be a high likelihood that there is a tape," he said Wednesday when speaking with reporters at Toronto City Hall.
"But again, with the tape actually being brought forward and the authenticity established, we can then move on."
Asked what advice he would give to the mayor, Di Giorgio said that Ford has already staked out the path that he is taking.
"It's very difficult to advise Mayor Ford at this point because he's taken a position and dug in his heels and I think that everything rests on the manifestation of the tape," Di Giorgio said.
A group of reporters remained camped outside the mayor’s office at city hall, as they have done for days. But when Ford stepped off the elevator, with a Tim Hortons cup in one hand and a BlackBerry in the other, he once again declined to answer their questions.
"Excuse me, excuse me," the mayor said as he walked towards his office.
The U.S. gossip website Gawker has raised $200,000 in donations to try to buy the video. But the website has reported that it can no longer reach those who had been previously shopping the video.
Video controversy worries Wynne
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has said she's worried the ongoing video scandal is affecting the city's ability to make political decisions.
"I'm worried about what's going on at city hall," Wynne said Tuesday. "There's a lot of confusion about what's happening and what is going to happen.
"It's difficult to lead, it's difficult to govern, when the ability to focus is compromised."
Wynne said that for the city to get back on track, the mayor has to deal with his "personal problems."
Wynne's comments came the same day Ontario's former finance minister, Dwight Duncan, who was speaking at the Economic Club, called on Ford to resign, saying the mayor's scandals are damaging the city's reputation.
Duncan added he was confused by the lack of action by city council members and even Queen's Park officials.
Political figures outside city hall have also said the mayor's troubles are hindering council's ability to function properly.
"It's a distraction for city council in dealing with issues that the city badly needs to deal with," said former Toronto mayor Art Eggleton.
"It makes the only office in the city that deals with a citywide vision, the mayor's office, dysfunctional."
Eggleton said the controversy — which has reached international notoriety — is an embarrassment for the city.
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