Toronto Mayor Rob Ford defiantly said on Monday that he intends to stay in office despite immense pressure to step aside after admitting he smoked crack cocaine.
“I’m not going anywhere, guaranteed,” Ford told a supporter as he walked back to Toronto City Hall after giving a speech during Remembrance Day ceremonies, held in honor of veterans.
Ford later told reporters: “Let’s get it on,” in response to a question about a motion filed by Toronto City Council member Denzil Minnan-Wong, who wants the mayor to step aside. A vote on the motion is likely to be take place today.
Ford’s refusal to resign or take a leave of absence has frustrated both his opponents and allies on the council, which has no legal way to force him out unless he is convicted of a crime.
The unprecedented motion would ask Ontario Province to pass legislation to remove the mayor if he does not agree to take a leave of absence.
Some councilors have said they are unwilling to take that step. The provincial government has also expressed reluctance to interfere in Toronto’s municipal affairs.
“I think it’s critically important that [the] council speaks as one voice to say that what he has done is wrong,” Minnan-Wong said. “He should go and take a leave of absence, remove himself from council while he gets the help that he needs and let the city move forward and not be distracted by any of the future information that’s going to come out.”
The mayor of Canada’s largest city acknowledged last week that he smoked crack while in a “drunken stupor” about a year ago.
The stunning confession came a week after police said they had a video that appears to show the mayor smoking crack. News reports of the crack video’s existence first surfaced in May, but it has not been released publicly.
Police said they obtained the video in the course of a drug investigation into Ford’s friend and occasional driver, Alexander Lisi.
The mayor has called on police to release the tape, but police said they are prohibited from doing so because it is evidence in a court case.
Police said the video will come out when Lisi goes to trial on drug and extortion charges.