Thursday 22 February 2018

Cocaine mayor attacks his critics

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford now effectively has no legislative power and no longer chairs the executive committee (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford now effectively has no legislative power and no longer chairs the executive committee (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Scandal-hit Toronto mayor Rob Ford has hit back at the city council for stripping him of most of his powers over drugs and heavy drinking, implying in many councillors were no different from him.

The council voted overwhelmingly Monday to slash his budget by 60% and allow his staff to join the deputy mayor. Mr Ford now effectively has no legislative power, as he will no longer chair the executive committee, although he retains his title and ability to represent Toronto at official functions.

On ABC's "Good Morning America" he accused councillors of attacking him for personal reasons and suggested many were guilty of the same behaviour he has admitted.

"All they did was stab me in the back over issues, the same issues that I've admitted to that they do, but nobody knows about it," he said.

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

"Do I excessively drink once in a while, or it's called binge drinking whatever term you want to use? Yes I have. I absolutely have," he said.

Despite apologising for his drug use and drinking, Ford has remained defiant in the face of pressure to resign since news reports emerged months ago that he had been caught on video smoking crack.

He and his brother, councillor Doug Ford, have frequently lashed out at journalists and politicians, demanding to know whether they have ever used drugs, driven while drunk or otherwise misbehaved.

The mayor has suggested in the past that other councillors are on drugs but that he is "not a rat" and will not name them.

The council session was one of the stormiest in memory as the mayor argued with colleagues and members of the public and at one point knocked down a petite councilwoman as he charged toward one of his hecklers. Cries of "Shame, shame" came from the gallery.

The mayor, a conservative elected three years ago on promises to curb public spending and keep taxes low, vowed "outright war" to take on his critics in next year's election.on

The council does not have the power to remove Mr Ford from office unless he is convicted of a crime.


Press Association

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