Toronto city councilors voted to limit their hell-raising mayor’s powers on Friday after his latest obscene outburst.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is under fire for a bizarre series of admitted and alleged misdeeds, most recently drawing mockery and gasps when he used obscene language while denying sexual harassment claims.
He later apologized for Thursday’s outburst, but it did little to stem the swelling outrage, which began this month when he admitted he had smoked crack cocaine during a drunken rampage.
On Thursday, Premier Kathleen Wynne, the leader of the province of Ontario, signaled a willingness to find legal means to oust the mayor, if asked by the municipality, but later backed off.
Instead, Toronto’s city council passed a motion on Friday morning limiting the mayor’s executive powers, effectively leaving him as the city’s chief magistrate in name only.
Councilor John Fillion said ahead of the vote that the aim was to “try to contain the mayor so that he doesn’t bring down the reputation of council or of the city.”
The motion, supported by an overwhelming majority of councilors, reduces the mayor’s budget and staff, and strips him of the powers to appoint committee chairs as well as hire or fire department heads.
One councilor described the move as an attempt to build a “firewall” around the disgraced mayor.
Ford responded with a pledge to mount a legal challenge to the “precedent-setting” censure.
A legal opinion circulated by Ford staffers argued the changes to city governance “could be perceived by the public” as an attempt to punish Ford “for alleged personal misconduct.”
“There is no evidence before the council suggesting that the mayor has failed to exercise, or abused, his powers, or been unwilling or unable to fulfill them,” it said.
The mayor’s troubles began several weeks ago when a video surfaced in police hands that appeared to show him smoking crack.
Forced to admit he once smoked the illicit drug, he apologized for his antics, including his many “drunken stupors.”
Then new allegations of misconduct, disclosed this week, and lewd remarks gave another boost to the spiraling scandal.
Ford’s former chief of staff, two underlings and a bar waiter alleged in police interviews that Ford had snorted cocaine and partied with a possible prostitute on St Patrick’s Day last year.
Police used the allegations to obtain a search warrant in an investigation of Ford’s friend Alessandro Lisi, who faces drug and extortion charges.
Ford reacted angrily as he arrived for work on Thursday, telling reporters he would sue his former staffers and the waiter, calling the allegations “outright lies.”
The three staffers were among revelers who joined Ford as he started partying that evening at City Hall.
One of them said he saw a woman named Alana he believed was a sex worker.
The staffer told police there had been rumors that Ford “had used escorts or prostitutes” and that Alana had previously been seen with Ford “at a stag party.”
“It hurts my wife when they are calling a friend of mine a prostitute. Alana is not a prostitute. She’s a friend and it makes me sick how people are saying this,” Ford said.
According to the police transcripts, the party moved to a private room at a bar, where a waiter said he saw the mayor and a woman bent over a table and “heard two sniffs from both of them.”
Ford rejected this account and allegations that, over the course of the night, he made lewd suggestions to a female policy adviser and a female City Hall security guard.
In his denial, he used an obscene metaphor for oral sex, causing further outrage.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
‘CHAPITOS’: An ex-DEA agent said the sons of the former cartel head are engaged in a battle for control, with the health of the man temporarily in charge a factor The fight for control of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s legacy spilled into the open on Thursday after a gun battle between rival Mexican gangs left 16 dead, authorities said. The 16 men, heavily armed and wearing bulletproof vests, died in a six-hour running shootout near the rural town of Tepuche in northwestern Sinaloa province. “A van with seven bodies was located” after an initial clash, while nine bodies were discovered following a second exchange, Sinaloa Minister of Security Cristobal Castaneda told reporters. Castaneda said that Wednesday’s clash near Tepuche, 25km from the capital of Sinaloa, Culiacan, was “part of a struggle