Toronto City Council asks Mayor Rob Ford to go away

Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:55pm EST
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto City Council asked embattled Mayor Rob Ford on Wednesday to take a break from his job to deal with "personal issues", which he admits include both buying illegal drugs and smoking crack cocaine.

The nonbinding vote came on a day during which both Ford's opponents and his former allies interrogated the mayor on his suitability to lead Canada's largest city. Ford said he won't quit.

"I am not an addict of any sort, so I am not quite sure why you are saying that I need help," Ford told councilors during an hour-long grilling.

Speaking after the vote, he issued the latest in a string of apologies, and added: "I really effed up."

Ford, elected in 2010 on a promise to end the City Hall "gravy train", admitted last week that he had smoked crack cocaine in "one of my drunken stupors".

He insisted on Wednesday he has zero tolerance for drugs and gangs. But asked if he had bought illegal drugs in the past two years, he paused for several seconds and replied somberly: "Yes, I have."

Councilors voted 37-5 in favor of a formal, but nonbinding, motion urging Ford to take a leave of absence, and also urged him to apologize for "misleading" Toronto residents.

"There's no question that the residents of this city are opposed to the mayor's behavior. I am, you are, we are," Councilor Karen Stintz said.   Continued...

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford talks during council at City Hall in Toronto, November 13, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch