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Toronto council strips Mayor Rob Ford of most powers
Council members voted overwhelming to cut the 44-year-old Ford’s office budget by 60 percent and allow mayoral staff to join the deputy mayor. Ford now effectively has no legislative power as he would no longer chair the executive committee.
Ford retains his title and ability to represent Toronto at official functions.
Ford called the effort a “coup d’etat” and vowed an “outright war” in the next election.
Toronto has been abuzz with the Ford melodrama since May, when news outlets reported that he had been caught on video smoking crack cocaine.
The debate on the motion became heated after Ford paced around the council chamber and traded barbs with members of the public. The speaker asked security to clear the chamber and a recess was called. Members of the public chanted “Shame! Shame!” at the mayor.
“I picked her up,” Rob Ford said. “I ran around because I thought my brother was getting into an altercation.”
“This is the seat of democracy, it is not a football field. I just wasn’t ready. Fortunately, the mayor’s staff was in front — they stopped me from hitting my head against the wall. I just need to sit down,” McConnell said.
The motion was revised from a tougher version to ward off potential legal challenges. Ford would retain his title and ability to represent Toronto at official functions. The city’s lawyer said the proposal does not render Ford “mayor in name only.”
“Obviously I cannot do the job with eight people in the office with a quarter of the former mayor’s budget,” Ford said.
The council does not have the power to remove Ford from office unless he is convicted of a crime. It is pursuing the strongest recourse available after the recent drug abuse revelations and his repeated outbursts of erratic behavior.
“Mayor Ford has had many choices … Would he change his behavior? Would he step aside and seek help?” said Councilor John Filion. “The mayor unfortunately has chosen the path of denial. Now it’s time to take away the keys.”
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