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Over The Edge

Toronto Mayor Keeps on Keepin’ On

Toronto Mayor Keeps on Keepin’ On

By Nicole Halseth, News Editor

After Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s scandal spread across the country these past few months, Toronto’s city council has voted to strip him of some of his political power.

Mr. Ford has made headlines across the country recently for his refusal to resign after allegations against his misuse of drugs and alcohol arose. Mayor Ford, himself, has admitted to using crack cocaine, buying illegal drugs, drunk driving, and using lewd language on television. These events have all occurred during his time as Mayor of the city of Toronto.
According to an article on the BBC news website, with a vote of 39 to three, the Toronto City Council voted to suspend some of the mayor’s powers in light of these recent events. Under this ruling, Mayor Ford is no longer able to appoint or dismiss the deputy mayor, or the chairs of any of the council’s standing committees. This includes the executive in control of the budget.

Additionally, the Council also voted 41 to two to remove emergency powers from Mr. Ford (such as in the event of a natural disaster) and place them in the hands of the deputy mayor. In the next few weeks, the Council is expected to vote on further measures. According to the article, this includes “all powers and duties which are not by statute assigned to the mayor,” which would likely take away any power Mayor Ford has over budgetary matters.

As the City Council is not able to remove the mayor from his post unless he is convicted of a crime, they appear to be undermining his power through these votes. According to city councilor John Filion, “we can’t control his behaviour, but certainly we can ensure that city business carries on as usual, perhaps even better.” Additionally, fellow city councilor and former supporter Denzil Minnan-Wong states “we need to take away his power for the good of the city,” and “the tide has turned and there are very few people that are prepared to defend him given his vulgar comments and his admission that not only does he takes drugs but that he seems to be comfortable drinking and getting behind the wheel.”
In response to these comments and measures taken by the City Council, Mayor Ford has stated that he will fight and that “the tax-payer is going to have to pay a fortune for this.” Mayor Ford believes “this is going to be precedent-setting and if we move ahead with this, then obviously if someone else steps out of line like I have, it is going to affect councilors and the mayor I think for years to come.”

Though the investigation into his behaviour continues, Mayor Ford states that he is intending to run for re-election to his post in October 2014. It is interesting how the Toronto City Council has been forced to revert to these peripheral actions in order to take away some of the power of their wayward mayor. This may be of interest for all cities across Canada, should another Rob Ford make himself known.

In any case, there is no doubt that we have not heard the last of Mayor Rob Ford.