Mayor's popularity rebounds after rehab

Rob Ford's drug use was first revealed last year.
Rob Ford's drug use was first revealed last year.

Crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is to return to work today more popular than ever after a stint in rehab for his internationally publicised alcohol and drug abuse.

Ford, 45, moved into second or third place in the lead-up to municipal elections in October, according to the latest polls, despite being absent from the campaign trail for a month to attend a rehab centre.

His surprise rebound in popularity comes after support plunged to a low of 32 per cent at the beginning of June when he disappeared from the limelight.

"With his return now imminent, interest in the mayor is beginning to grow, and with it, as usually happens, his approval," said Lorne Bozinoff of Forum Research, which published a poll showing Ford behind frontrunner Olivia Chow by 7 percentage points.

"We'll see if this is a temporary phenomenon, or a sustained surge."

Ford took a leave from City Hall in May in the middle of his re-election campaign to enter rehab after several videos surfaced showing him apparently smoking crack cocaine.

The latest video reportedly showed him smoking the addictive drug with his sister in her basement in April, contradicting Ford's claims that he had kicked the habit.

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* How we busted the mayor

The mayor's drug abuse was first revealed last year when an alleged drug dealer tried to sell another video of him smoking crack to the media.

At first, Ford denied using the hard drug but later acknowledged he had smoked the crack while in a "drunken stupor", and yet insisted he was not an addict.

Ford has since been filmed in public behaving erratically.

- AFP

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