Deputy mayor, councillors urge Rob Ford to step aside
Published Wednesday, November 6, 2013 12:18PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 6, 2013 10:46PM EST
One day after Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted that he has smoked crack cocaine, the deputy mayor and other members of council urged him to take a break from city hall.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said he privately met with Ford Wednesday and asked him to take a “pause” from his duties, but the mayor refused.
Ford has vowed to stay in office after admitting that he has smoked crack during a “drunken stupor” about a year ago.
Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti also urged the mayor to take a leave of absence.
“I believe that Rob should, in fact, step aside for a good 28, 30 days, perhaps think about the demon that might exist within him and look at perhaps even a treatment program of some sort,” Mammoliti told CTV News Channel.
“I think Torontonians would actually support him and forgive him.”
City councillors have already tabled motions aimed at limiting the mayor’s power in the wake of the explosive revelation.
Coun. John Filion hopes a motion that would take away Ford’sability to hire and fire the deputy mayor and committee chairs could bring some normalcy back to city hall.
Filion announced the notice of motion on Tuesday, before Ford admitted to smoking crack.
Filion told CTV News Channel Wednesday that Ford’s confession“really solved nothing” and it’s time for city council to take the reins.
“I don’t think (the mayor) can move forward. I think he’s kind of stuck in the same spot and probably stuck in that spot for the next year,” Filion said.
“The mayor will not step aside. It’s just not part of his makeup.”
Filion said that his motion is the strongest action council could take against Ford.
Ford, meanwhile, is ignoring numerous calls for his resignation.
On Wednesday, the mayor gave students participating in Take Your Kids To Work Day a tour of his office. At one point during the tour, Ford stopped and blew a kiss to the crush of media gathered outside.
At one point outside city hall, protesters banged on pots and pans, calling on Ford to step down. Others wrote messages in chalk on the wall, including: “Enough,” and “Fixate on rehab, dude.”
A number of councillors -- some of whom were the mayor's allies -- say they've lost confidence in his ability to run Canada's largest city.
"The question now is what do we do," Coun. Janet Davis told reporters at city hall earlier in the day. “He has stubbornly refused to listen to everyone across the city to step down. He is still in the role of mayor and we have to look at how we deal with this situation."
Davis said she had remained quiet since the drug allegations surfaced in May, and allowed the Ford drama to "play out."
"He's spun for the last six months that he's a victim of conspiracy. I think now the mayor is a victim of his own conspiracy and he has lost the legitimacy of the mayor's office. He has discredited himself, his office and our city.
"For a person who says he respects the taxpayers of this city, I think he's disrespecting the people of Toronto."
Ford: 'Nothing left to hide'
Although Ford promised Torontonians on Tuesday that he "has nothing left to hide", some councillors fear more fallout from Ford's drug confession, and further information from an ongoing drugs and guns investigation that could soon be made public.
Coun. Karen Stintz, who has said she will run in the 2014 mayoral race, said she hopes for the city's sake that there are no more surprise revelations about Ford.
"What I do know is there is more information that could be revealed," she said. "I don't know what that information is, again, we'll find out more as the days unfold and I certainly hope for the city's sake that we've seen the end of this."
Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, a former Ford ally, echoed the same concerns.
"I remain concerned that's there more information that's going to come out," he said. "I'm troubled by that, that it will create further controversy and hurt the even further."
A motion drafted by Minnan-Wong and seconded by Coun. Peter Milczyn – both members of Ford's powerful executive council – asks the mayor to take a temporary leave of absence.
While the motion is symbolic, as council can't force Ford to leave office, Minnan-Wong said it's important for councillors to take a stand.
"We are hearing a lot of people at city hall really rallying around this," Coun. Jaye Robinson said of the motion.
"We're getting a lot of emails coming in from residents asking us to do something, anything."
Robinson has been calling on the mayor to take a temporary leave since allegations that he smoked crack first surfaced in the media in May.
Ford later removed Robinson from his cabinet-like executive committee.
"We're becoming a bit of a joke," she told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday. "We're a cosmopolitan, world-class city. This is a city to live work and play and we don't want that reputation harmed."