Toronto mayor stripped of powers

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attends a council meeting as councillors look to pass motions to limit his powers in Toronto on Monday. Under the motion, already endorsed by a majority of council members, Ford would in effect become mayor of Canada's largest city in name only. The council does not have the power to remove Ford from office, barring a criminal conviction. It is pursuing the strongest recourse available after recent revelations that Ford smoked crack cocaine and his repeated outbursts of erratic behavior. Ford has vowed to take the council to court and insists he will seek re-election next year. AP photo

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attends a council meeting as councillors look to pass motions to limit his powers in Toronto on Monday. Under the motion, already endorsed by a majority of council members, Ford would in effect become mayor of Canada's largest city in name only. The council does not have the power to remove Ford from office, barring a criminal conviction. It is pursuing the strongest recourse available after recent revelations that Ford smoked crack cocaine and his repeated outbursts of erratic behavior. Ford has vowed to take the council to court and insists he will seek re-election next year. AP photo

TORONTO — Toronto’s City Council voted Monday to strip scandal-plagued Mayor Rob Ford of many of his powers following a heated debate in which he knocked over a female councilor.

Council members voted overwhelming to cut the 44-year-old Ford’s office budget by 60 percent and allow mayoral staff to join the deputy mayor. Ford now effectively has no legislative power as he would no longer chair the executive committee.

Ford retains his title and ability to represent Toronto at official functions. Ford called the effort a “coup d’etat” and vowed an “outright war” in the next election. Toronto has been abuzz with the Ford melodrama since May, when news outlets reported that he had been caught on video smoking crack cocaine.

The debate on the motion became heated after Ford traded barbs with members of the public. The speaker asked security to clear the chamber and a recess was called.

Ford charged at the gallery at one point and knocked over Councilor Pam McConnell before picking her back up. Ford said he was rushing to the defense of his brother, city Councilor Doug Ford.

The motion was revised from a tougher version to ward off potential legal challenges. Ford would retain his title and ability to represent Toronto at official functions. The city’s lawyer said the proposal does not render Ford “mayor in name only.”

“Obviously I cannot do the job with eight people in the office with a quarter of the former mayor’s budget,” Ford said.

The council does not have the power to remove Ford from office unless he is convicted of a crime. It is pursuing the strongest recourse available after the recent drug abuse revelations and his repeated outbursts of erratic behavior.

“Mayor Ford has had many choices ... Would he change his behavior? Would he step aside and seek help?” said Councilor John Filion. “The mayor unfortunately has chosen the path of denial. Now it’s time to take away the keys.”

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