Toronto council curbs Mayor Ford's powers after chaotic debate

Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:55pm EST
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By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's City Council voted overwhelmingly on Monday to limit further the powers of embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who denounced the move as a coup d'etat and warned political foes of an election battle next year to rival the Gulf War.

Ford has been under fire after admitting to smoking crack cocaine, buying illegal drugs and driving after drinking alcohol.

At a tumultuous City Council meeting, members voted to slash his office budget and transfer some of his powers to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly among other limitations by a vote of 36 to 5.

"This is a coup d'etat," Ford said, denouncing the motion.

He warned councilors that next year's municipal election, which Ford vows to run in, would rival the 1991 Gulf War.

"This, folks, reminds of when I was watching with my brother when Saddam (Hussein) attacked Kuwait. And President Bush said, 'I warn you, I warn you, do not (attack Kuwait).' Well, folks, if you think American-style politics is nasty, you guys have just attacked Kuwait."

On Friday, the council suspended Ford's authority to dismiss the deputy mayor and the heads of council committees and removed his powers to act during emergencies.

Ford stalked around the meeting room on Monday, getting into an angry verbal exchange with gallery spectators, some of whom shouted "Shame! Shame!" at him. At one point he ran across the room and collided with Councillor Pam McConnell, almost knocking her over. He later apologized.   Continued...

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attends a special council meeting at City Hall in Toronto November 18, 2013. REUTERS/Aaron Harris