Toronto mayor vows fight to stay on
TORONTO (AP) — A defiant Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said Tuesday he’ll fight any attempt to try force him to take a leave of absence and vowed his first council meeting since he admitted smoking crack will be a raucous affair.
A motion before the Toronto City Council on Wednesday asks the province of Ontario to pass legislation to remove the mayor if he doesn’t voluntarily take a leave of absence.
Ford, who acknowledged last week that he has smoked crack and has a drinking problem, said the council meeting will be a “rumble in the jungle.”
“Let’s get it on, first item,” Ford said.
The mayor of Canada’s largest city admitted last week that he smoked crack, probably in one of his “drunken stupors,” and has acknowledged being “hammered” drunk in public. Ford declined Tuesday to say what action he is taking to address his problems.
“Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words,” he said.
Ford vowed to continue on as mayor.
“I have saved more money than any other mayor in Toronto’s history and that’s what I’m going to continue to do tomorrow,” Ford said when asked why he should remain on the job.
Ford’s refusal to resign or take a leave of absence has frustrated both his opponents and allies on Toronto’s City Council and embarrassed residents of the Canadian financial capital.
Still, the council, which cannot force Ford out unless he’s convicted of a crime, may be unwilling to pass the motion, fearing the precedent would encourage the province to step into Toronto’s affairs.
The provincial government has also expressed reluctance to interfere in Toronto’s municipal affairs.
Councilor Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother, expects Wednesday’s council meeting to be a “public flogging.”
“They are going to get up, 44 of them, and give my brother a public beating, a public butchering,” Doug Ford said, referring to the number of councilors. “I’m going to have to stand there and watch it happen so we’ll see how it turns out.”
Doug Ford insisted the mayor would not step aside.
“He doesn’t want to be stepping aside for two weeks,” he said. “He has to keep busy.”
Doug Ford said his brother “needs to make changes in his life” and said he’s” turning the corner,” noting the robust mayor has worked out three or four times since last week.
Rob Ford spent five hours Tuesday signing about 1,000 bobble headed “Robbie Bobbie” dolls for $20 each, inside City Hall. .
Police said they obtained the video of Ford smoking crack in the course of a drug investigation into Ford’s friend and occasional driver, Alexander Lisi.
The 90-second video was brought to a courtroom Tuesday by a police officer on a password-protected, encrypted drive but was not shown in court. The police have said they have seized two videos, but the prosecution said Tuesday that one is a subset of the other.