According to the Globe and Mail the Toronto City Council voted overwhelming Friday to strip some powers from Mayor Rob Ford, who has admitted smoking crack in a boozy stupor, buying illegal drugs and driving drunk — but has defiantly refused to resign.
The lawmakers have no authority to remove Ford from office but are considering a series of motions in three special meetings Friday and Monday that would transfer some of his authority to the deputy mayor.
“Obviously I can’t support this and I have no other options but to challenge this in court,” Ford said.
But he added, “I completely understand where they’re coming from.” And later he said, “If I would have had a mayor acting the way I’ve conducted myself I would have done the same thing.”
“We have been fortunate no emergencies have landed on the same dates when we know the mayor’s judgement many have been impaired,” Council member John Filion said before the vote.
He said the measures were needed to stabilize a “chaotic situation” and would expire at the end of Ford’s term next year.
“If there’s a silver lining in this sad situation it’s that this issue has united members of Council,” he said. “I think this is the only course of action left to us.”
At least one Council member was worried the extraordinary moves were overstepping.
“You win the election for mayor you are the mayor. That is the people’s will,” Councilor Anthony Perruzza said.
“Who can change that? The people. Yes, the premier, maybe the courts. That’s it. We are not given by proxy the right the change that and that is dangerous if we do that.”
Ford, 44, who has become an international punchline, appeared more subdued than he was Thursday, when he shocked reporters and viewers by using X-rated language on live television to deny an allegation that he told a female staffer he wanted to perform oral sex on her.
After the graphic outburst, Ford gave the latest in a growing string of apologies, this one with his wife by his side.
“I used unforgivable language,” he said, blaming the “tremendous” stress he’s under.
“I wish you to understand I am accepting responsibility for the challenges I face.”
A day earlier, the City Council voted to ask him to take a leave of absence. When he addressed them on Thursday, some turned their backs on him.
“This is beyond a leave of absence. He needs to resign,” councilor Denzil Minnan-Wong said. “This mayor thinks he is above the law, he is not.”
Since police confirmed the existence of a video tape that showed him smoking crack, Ford has repeatedly denied that he’s an addict but this week admitted to buying illegal drugs during his time in office and said he is seeking help from health professionals.
While he has copped to a staggering array of misdeeds, Ford is fight back against other allegations, including a claim in court papers that he was “very inebriated, verbally abusive and inappropriate” with a female staffer on St. Patrick’s Day and a report that he brought prostitutes to City Hall.