Toronto’s City Council have voted overwhelmingly 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. In a separate vote, the council voted to give the deputy mayor authority to handle any civic emergency.
Most city councillors are frustrated by Ford’s refusal to step aside since he admitted last week to smoking crack, 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 also saying he understood why the council was taking the measures: “If I would have had a mayor conducting themselves the way I have, I would have done exactly the same thing.”
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,” he said.
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 that 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, though he refused to give details.
Although Ford has admitted to excessive drinking and using and buying illegal drugs, he and his family insist he is not an addict and does not need rehab.
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