Nov 19, 2013

By Jane Brown

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Rob Ford will return to Toronto City Hall today as mayor in name only, after losing all moral, if not legal, authority to lead.  Toronto City Councillors voted 36-6 to strip Rob Ford of most of his powers and reduce his office budget after a chaotic day in council chambers.

At one point Rob Ford knocked over City Councillor Pam McConnell in his haste to run around council chambers.  “This is the seat of democracy, it’s not a football field,” McConnell later said, “I just wasn’t ready and fortunately the mayor’s staff were in front and they stopped me from hitting my head against the wall.”

Ford later apologized to McConnell after he was pressed by Councillor Paula Fletcher.  His antics also included mockingly miming guzzling and driving gestures aimed at Councillor Paul Ainslee, who was warned but never charged for drinking and driving.  Ford waded into the public gallery and apparently directed someone from his staff to run a smartphone video on citizens.  And at the end of the meeting, Ford claimed that war has been waged.  “This is nothing more than a Coup d’Etat.  And if you don’t know what a Coup d’Etat means,” Ford went on to say amid laughter from the council chambers, “it means that you’re overruling a government.  And some people said this is democracy.  What’s happening here today is not a democratic process.  It’s a dictatorship process.”  But later on CBC News with Peter Mansbridge, Rob Ford expressed remorse and shame.  “I let my mom down, I let my brothers down, I let my wife down, my kids down, and I let my dad down, and I know he’s upstairs watching this.”

Rob Ford was all over the television coverage last night, from his own Sun TV show to a profile piece on CNN.  He also continues to provide the biggest laughs for late night comedians, including Jimmy Kimmel, who joked, “He’s my favourite new reality show.  If he lived in American, we’d be renewing him for a second season.”

Toronto residents are being reassured by a number of city councillors that city business will continue on as usual this morning.  Most of the mayor’s powers have been given to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.  He is promising to “restore the confidence of the public in the government of Toronto, repair damage done between the members of council and focus on the business of the city on a go forward basis.”

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