Kevin Donovan is an investigative reporter at the Toronto Star. He has won three Canadian Association of Journalists Awards, one Michener Award and three National Newspaper Awards and you might know him as the guy who broke the ORNGE story.
Kevin Donovan co-wrote the Star story that Rob Ford was asked to leave a gala event celebrating the Canadian armed forces last month, because organizers were concerned he was impaired.
It’s an open secret at city hall that the mayor has battled alcohol abuse. Those closest to him are concerned for his health and the impact it has on his job as mayor of Canada’s largest city. Current and former staff have told the Star of repeated attempts to persuade the mayor to get help for more than two years and as recently as November. All attempts have been rebuffed.
In response to this story, Rob Ford has called it "an outright lie". His brother and unofficial spokesperson, Doug Ford, has also denied the allegations. Doug and Rob both believe the Toronto Star is out to get them and anything the Star writes that puts Rob Ford in a negative light is a lie.
Make no mistake, I don't take delight in the fact our mayor has a substance abuse problem. I sincerely hope he gets help, and my issues have always been with his flawed logic and regressive approach to city planning. He's a leader who won't raise a flag for the Pride Parade, but won't miss a photo opportunity with the pandas. He's a leader who will scream "subways, subways, subways" but won't tell you how we'll pay for the subways. And when an investigative journalist presents overwhelming evidence about our mayor being asked to leave a gala event, even confirming it with councillor Paul Ainslie, chair of the government management committee and a strong ally of Ford, Rob Ford, his brother and his camp stick with plan A: deny, deny, deny.
In this instance, it's a true shame. Rob Ford needs help, and step one is acknowledging he has a problem. Until Rob Ford accomplishes that, my fear is this will only get worse.