Trouble in Toronto

As of Monday, embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford entered unknown territory. And, no, that doesn’t mean a drug rehab center. Ford still holds the title of mayor for Canada’s largest city, but thanks to the Toronto City Council, he has virtually no power.

Last Friday, the council voted 39-3 to strip Ford of his emergency powers and to prevent him from firing the deputy mayor. On Monday, the council began to cut Ford’s budget by more than half and give the deputy mayor control of the funds.

Ford and his diminishing number of supporters, including his brother who is a member of the City Council, immediately cried foul.

The actions of the council were trampling on the rights of those who had elected Ford to office, they said.

Of course, when Toronto voters elected Ford as mayor in 2010, there were a few things they didn’t know about him — things he later publicly admited. He occasionally drank enough to put himself in “a drunken stupor.” He smoked crack cocaine in at least one such drunken stupor. He drove while drunk and he purchased illegal drugs while serving as mayor.

And then there are the allegations he denies: that he is a drug or alcohol addict; that there have been more instances of drug and alcohol abuse on the job; that he engaged in verbal and physical abuse of aides; that he asked a female staff member if he could perform oral sex on her.

All this makes Ford the butt of endless jokes and turns him into a buffoonish character. Unfortunately for Toronto citizens fed up with his antics, local law does not allow them to recall the mayor. And without a criminal conviction, the council can’t force him from office. Ford has yet to be charged with anything.

So, the best the Toronto City Council can do is strip him of power and public money and hope that nothing more troubling surfaces regarding its mayor.


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