News / Americas

Toronto Council Strips Besieged Mayor of Some Powers

Toronto Councilor Doug Ford, left, speaks to brother, Mayor Rob Ford, during city council meeting, Nov, 15, 2013.
Toronto Councilor Doug Ford, left, speaks to brother, Mayor Rob Ford, during city council meeting, Nov, 15, 2013.
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.
 
“We have been frankly fortunate that no emergencies have landed on the same dates on which we know the mayor's judgment may have been impaired,” said Councilor John Filion, who proposed the changes. “The members of council that I've spoken to do not wish to push our luck on that.”
 
Councilors, some of whom have pointedly turned their backs on Ford while he has spoken in recent meetings, are expected on Monday to consider slashing his office budget.
 
The furor over the mayor's drug use emerged in the spring after U.S. media blog Gawker and the Toronto Star newspaper both said they had viewed a cellphone video that appeared to show him smoking crack cocaine.
 
Ford spent months dodging questions about the video, but admitted earlier this month that he had used the drug “in one of my drunken stupors”.
 
The saga, punctuated by Ford's combative exchanges with reporters and by his emotional apologies, has transfixed Toronto residents and late-night comedy writers alike.
 
On Thursday afternoon, the mayor apologized for an obscene outburst made as he denied an allegation he had made sexual overtures to an employee. He said he is getting professional help regarding his drinking.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Multimedia FIFA's Blatter Criticizes US, UEFA Officials

update Newly elected FIFA president questions timing of US, Swiss corruption investigations, says he is victim of 'hate' on part of European soccer's governing body UEFA
More

Venezuela Blocks Former LatAm Presidents From Seeing Detained Leaders

Andres Pastrana of Colombia, Jorge Quiroga of Bolivia, both political conservatives, not allowed to meet opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and former Mayor Daniel Ceballos
More

Haiti Struggles to Stem Cholera as Rains Come Early

From January to April this year, 14,226 Haitians infected with cholera - triple the number of cases from the same period last year, with Port-au-Prince hardest hit
More

Cuba Not Off the Hook, Despite Removal From State Sponsor of Terrorism List

Though it's off the blacklist, Havana is not clear of all US embargoes and statutory restrictions - including Helms-Burton Act, which includes stringent financial restrictions
More

Nazi War Crimes Suspect Dies in Canada

Vladimir Katriuk, 93, had denied allegations that he took part in killings of civilians in Soviet village of Khatyn, now part of Belarus
More

Allies, Ex-players, Fans Abroad Cheer US Move Against FIFA

Soccer devotees flood Twitter with praise, ask why countries with richer traditions in the sport had ignored suspicions of corruption for so long
More