Coun­cil vote goes against Toronto’s crack mayor

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

TORONTO: Toronto’s City Coun­cil voted over­whelm­ingly yes­ter­day to strip mayor Rob Ford of some of his pow­ers, try­ing to box in the brash leader who has re­buffed huge pres­sure to re­sign over his drink­ing and drug habits and er­ratic be­hav­iour.

The mo­tion, ap­proved in a 39- 3 vote, sus­pends Ford’s au­thor­ity to ap­point and dis­miss the deputy mayor and his ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, which runs the bud­get process. The coun­cil also voted to give the deputy mayor au­thor­ity to han­dle any civic emer­gency.

“We need to take away his power for the good of the city,” said coun­cil­lor Den­zil Min­nanWong.

Coun­cil­lors are frus­trated by Ford’s re­fusal to step aside since he ad­mit­ted to smok­ing crack last week but they lack the au­thor­ity to force him out of of­fice un­less he is con­victed of a crime.

An un­usu­ally sub­dued Ford vowed to fight the mo­tion in court while say­ing he un­der­stood why the coun­cil was tak­ing the mea­sures. The mix of de­fi­ance and con­trite­ness has been typ­i­cal of the mayor through­out the scan­dal that has been escalating for months.

“If I would have had a mayor con­duct­ing them­selves the way I have, I would have done ex­actly the same thing,” Ford said.

The mayor and his brother voted against the mo­tion.

“Folks here don’t have the moral au­thor­ity,” Doug Ford said. “It’s not up to you folks to make this de­ci­sion, it will be up to the peo­ple.”

The vote came a day af­ter yet another se­ries of an­tics from Ford that out­raged city coun­cil­lors, anti-drunk driv­ing ad­vo­cates and even Toronto’s foot­ball team.

In the span of a few hours on Thurs­day, Ford used ob­scene lan­guage to deny he pres­sured a fe­male em­ployee for oral sex, ad­mit­ted he had driven while drink­ing and then apol­o­gised for his vul­gar­ity and said he was seek­ing pro­fes­sional help.

Al­though Ford has ad­mit­ted to ex­ces­sive drink­ing and us­ing and buy­ing il­le­gal drugs, he and his fam­ily have in­sisted he is not an ad­dict and does not need re­hab. – Sapa-AP

TAK­ING FLAK: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

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