Toronto mayor votes against Mandela; a mistake, he says

Thu Apr 3, 2014 10:29am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is not perfect, as His Honor has freely admitted in the past, notably after confessing to smoking crack cocaine, probably while in "a drunken stupor".

Ford demonstrated imperfection once again on Wednesday when he voted against city council motions to name a street for Nelson Mandela and congratulate Canada's Olympic athletes, drawing incredulity even as he insisted he had accidentally pressed the wrong voting button. He was the only councilor to cast a "nay" vote on the measures.

The mayor, who is running for re-election after admitting last year to using illegal drugs, among other controversies, later asked to have the voting redone, but council refused.

The votes came in the middle of a long sequence of ballots. Mistaken votes are not unheard of at Toronto city council, and members sometimes ask for them to be redone.

While there was an audible stir in the council chambers when he cast his vote on the Mandela dedication, and someone could be heard saying "wow" several times, Ford did not rise to say he had made a mistake for more than half an hour.

Speaking to reporters, the mayor's brother and closest ally, Councillor Doug Ford, said voting mistakes are common.

"It happens every council. Matter of fact, it happens four or five times some council meetings," he told reporters, calling the refusal to reopen the vote a "double standard".

But Councillor Josh Matlow said he did not believe the mayor's votes were mistakes, local media reported. Matlow said the mayor often votes "no" out of spite, sometimes because of disputes with the councillor who introduced a motion.

Ford routinely votes against council and committee motions that have otherwise unanimous or near-unanimous support. In February, he voted against a motion on traffic light cameras, calling them a "cash grab".

"I hate red-light cameras," he said at the time, according to the Toronto Star. "I got nailed, $375 bucks. I hate 'em."

(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Peter Galloway)

Mayor Rob Ford gathers his papers after the Toronto Mayoral election debate in Toronto, March 26, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch