Even Doug Ford thinks the mayor should step down for a bit and get his life together.
That interesting choice was revealed this morning at 10:30 a.m. at city hall, where councillors voted on a motion that urges Rob Ford to “take a leave of absence to address your challenges privately, outside of the public eye.” That petition (full text below) was signed by 30 of the 44 councillors, but when it came to a vote, there were only two people in the clamshell who didn’t support it: Rob Ford and Giorgio Mammoliti—the same two that insisted that a city worker be sacked for possibly snoozing on the job.
Following the vote, the city solicitor confirmed that the motion is merely symbolic and that council actually has no real powers that could force the mayor to step down. Things devolved rapidly after that, with former Ford ally Denzil Minnan-Wong complaining to the speaker that the mayor blocked his path around the chamber “in a threatening way,” and the Ford brothers heckling, “You’re running for mayor!” After refusing to apologize to Minnan-Wong at the speaker’s insistence, the mayor accidentally uses the phrase “I’m sorry, but—” in a colloquial way. That’s good enough for the speaker, who waits for the laugher to calm down before saying, “That’s all I wanted to hear.”
This was followed by this new revelation by Ford, in an exchange with Minnan-Wong:
Minnan-Wong: “Do you still have zero tolerance for drugs, guns, and gangs?”
Minnan-Wong: “Can you tell me how that applies to you?”
Ford: “I just did.”
Minnan-Wong: “Have you purchased illegal drugs in the last two years?”
Ford: “Yes I have.”
Here is the full final text of the councillors’ petition:
We write to you as colleagues representing wards from across the city and political spectrum. Over the past six months and especially the last few weeks, we have grown increasingly concerned by the seemingly endless cycle of allegations, denials, and belated admissions about your behaviour.
Toronto is distracted, and for good reason. Our city’s reputation has been damaged and continues to suffer, and it has become difficult to focus on the pressing and substantive issues facing city council. Together we stand to ask you to step aside and take a leave of absence to address your challenges privately, outside of the public eye.
We believe that the majority of Torontonians share our view and that city council will excuse any absences you require to address this situation with finality. The city and the office of the mayor demand nothing less than honesty, accountability, and transparency.
UPDATE: After an hours-long debate, councillors later voted overwhelmingly in favour of another symbolic rebuke of the mayor put forward by would-be mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong. The non-binding motion called on Ford to: (1) co-operate with the police investigation; (2) apologize to council for lying about the video and for writing a reference letter for Sandro Lisi on city letterhead; and (3) take a leave of absence to address his personal issues—the magnitude of which is still coming to light. During a humiliating cross-examination by his colleagues, councillor David Shiner asked Ford if he had copped to all his misdeed. Ford’s response: “I don’t know, there might be a coat hanger left in my closet. I don’t know what’s left.”