Toronto council strips besieged mayor of some powers

Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:25pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto city council voted to strip scandal-plagued Mayor Rob Ford of some of his powers on Friday but Ford, who admits he smoked crack cocaine while in office, promised to challenge the moves in court.

With few legal mechanisms available to remove Ford from office, Toronto city councilors across the political spectrum have been searching for ways to curb the power of the populist mayor, who was elected in 2010 on a promise to save taxpayers' money.

Ford said he understood why councilors were voting to reduce his power, but said he has no option but to launch a legal challenge, even though it will waste the city's money in legal fees.

"If I would have had a mayor acting the way I've conducted myself, I would have done the exact same thing," Ford said of council's vote.

"Obviously, in my situation I have to support myself, and I think anybody in my position would have done the same."

In comments that have made international headlines, Ford has admitted to buying illegal drugs and driving after consuming alcohol, as well as to having used crack. But he says he was elected to do a job and that he won't step down.

He has also vowed to run for mayor again in next October's election.

Council voted 39 to three to suspend the mayor's ability to appoint and dismiss the deputy mayor and the heads of council committees. Ford and his brother, Councilor Doug Ford, and one other councilor voted no.

Council also voted 41 to two to give the deputy mayor, rather than the mayor, special powers during emergencies such as natural disasters. Only the Ford brothers voted no.   Continued...

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (C) is surrounded by the media as he returns to a city council meeting after a lunch break in Toronto November 15, 2013. REUTERS/Jon Blacker