No end in sight for Toronto mayor crack saga

Wed Nov 6, 2013 4:59pm EST
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By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) - Protesters left colorful chalk messages on walls and pavement outside Toronto City Hall on Wednesday urging Mayor Rob Ford to quit after his bombshell admission on Tuesday that he has smoked crack cocaine.

"I'm a taxpayer, and I would like you to resign - now," read one message targeted at the right-leaning mayor, who speaks often about saving taxpayers' money. Another said: "This wall would be a better mayor."

But Ford's chalk-wielding opponents may have a long wait. The mayor, who made his admission after months of dodging questions about reports that he had been caught on video smoking crack, has said he will not resign and plans to run again in next October's mayoral election.

"Rob Ford is a liar," is how the Globe and Mail, Canada's staid national paper, opened its editorial on Wednesday. And later: "A more honorable man would do the right thing. He'd resign. Rob Ford has shown time and again that he's not that guy."

A bloc of angry city councilors is now set to try to pass motions to curb Ford's already limited powers as a Toronto mayor, but it is very difficult to remove a sitting mayor.

One of Ford's policy aides quit on Tuesday and Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said he has suggested that Ford step down temporarily.

But Ford insists he has nothing left to hide, and over his years as a bombastic city councilor and now as a polarizing mayor, he has proven resistant to both public criticism and private advice.

The story of the crack video, the existence of which was first reported in May by media blog Gawker and then by the Toronto Star newspaper, has never been exclusively about whether Ford has used illegal drugs.   Continued...

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford gives children a tour of the office during "Take Your Kids to Work Day" at City Hall in Toronto, November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch