Niagara Gazette — TORONTO — Toronto's City Council voted overwhelmingly Friday 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 behavior. Ford vowed to challenge the measure in court.
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. The effort will continue Monday when the council moves to strip the mayor of most of his remaining powers.
The votes capped another frenzied week of twists and turns in the scandal that has consumed Canada's largest city and financial capital for months.
Newly released court documents showed that the mayor became the subject of a police investigation after news reports surfaced in May that he had been caught on video smoking crack. In interviews with police, former staffers accused the mayor of frequently drinking on the job, driving while intoxicated and making sexual advances toward a female staffer. Ford stirred up further controversy — even offending Canada's oldest football team — when he used profanity Thursday while angrily addressing the latest allegations.
Most city councilors are frustrated by Ford's refusal to step aside but they lack the authority to force him out of office unless he is convicted of a crime.
An unusually subdued Ford said he had no choice but to fight the motion in court while also saying he understood why the council was taking the measures — a typical display of defiance followed by a flash of remorse.
"If I would have had a mayor conducting themselves the way I have, I would have done exactly the same thing," Ford said.