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Toronto mayor ‘declares war’ on city council

20 November 2013, 09:39

Toronto – The scandal-plagued Toronto mayor said he's smoked crack "maybe once" and said the city council has no business stripping him of his powers, implying in a television interview on Tuesday that many councillors are guilty of similar behaviour.

Rob Ford said he has "declared war" after the council acted in response to his admitted crack cocaine use and binge drinking and a series of outbursts in recent days.

The council voted overwhelmingly on Monday in favour of slashing Ford's office budget by 60% and allowing mayoral staff to join the deputy mayor, Norm Kelly. Ford retains his title and ability to represent Canada's largest city at official functions.

Kelly said he'll make every effort to work with Ford but said the locks have been changed on part of the mayor's office. The deputy mayor also cast doubt on Ford's ability to stay sober.

"It's easy to go cold turkey. It's hard to stay that way," Kelly said.

Call to resign

Ford got more bad news on Tuesday as the tabloid Sun News Network cancelled his new television show after only one episode. Kory Teneycke, vice-president of Sun News Network, said the episode took five hours to shoot and over 10 hours to edit.

Ford's political support also further eroded. Federal Cabinet Minister Jason Kenney, like Ford a conservative, called on the mayor to resign, becoming the first member of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's federal government to do so. Kenney said Ford is dragging Toronto through a "terrible embarrassment".

Ford repeatedly has refused to step down or take a leave of absence.

A newly released police document also alleges that a video that appears to show Ford puffing on a crack pipe was filmed last February. Ford has said he smoked crack "probably a year ago" in a "drunken stupor".

Police said last month they had obtained a copy of a video, but did not release its contents because it is evidence in the case against Ford associate Alexander Lisi, who faces trial on drug and extortion charges.

In an interview broadcast on CP24 on Tuesday, Ford accused city councillors of attacking him for personal reasons.


"They are punishing me for isolated incidents. There have been a few," he said.

Ford also suggested that many councillors were guilty of the kind of behaviour he has admitted to.

"I have seen these councillors stumbling out of events," he said.

Ford again denied he had a serious problem with alcohol, though he said he was getting help from health care professionals on a number of issues, and he promised the public would see a difference in him in five months.

The mayor said he's quit drinking "guaranteed".

- AP


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