Toronto mayor Rob Ford is stripped of powers
Associated Press in Toronto
Toronto's City Council voted overwhelmingly yesterday to strip Mayor Rob Ford of some of his powers.
It was the latest attempt to box in the brash leader, who has rebuffed huge pressure to resign over his drink 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.
Video: Chaotic scene as Toronto strips mayor of powers
John Filion, the councillor who introduced the motion, said the goal was to stop Ford from firing executive committee members who speak out against him.
An unusually subdued Ford vowed to fight the motion in court. "I can't support this and obviously I have no other options but to challenge this in court," 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.
Most city councillors are frustrated by Ford's refusal to step aside since he admitted to smoking crack, but they lack the authority to force him out of office unless he is convicted of a crime.
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 that he had driven while drinking and then apologised for his vulgarity and said he was seeking professional help, though he refused to give details.
"We need to take away his power for the good of the city," said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a former ally.
"The tide has turned and there are very few people that are prepared to defend him given his vulgar comments and his admission that not only does he take drugs but that he seems to be comfortable drinking and getting behind the wheel."
Ford's troubles began escalating in May, when news reports first surfaced of a video showing him smoking crack.
After months of evading the question, the mayor admitted to smoking crack when Toronto police announced they had obtained the video during the course of a massive drug investigation.
Revelations have rapidly surfaced of other bad behaviour, from former aides alleging that the mayor has been frequently drunk on the job, to a video showing the mayor threatening to kill someone in an incoherent rant.
Ford, 44, was elected three years ago with support from Toronto's conservative-leaning outer suburbs, where voters felt angry about wasteful spending and elitist politics at City Hall.