November 18, 2013 - 9:57 AM
TORONTO - Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is facing a vote today that would further weaken his powers and make him mayor in name only.
Councillors are gathering for a special meeting on a motion to make Ford little more than a figurehead, allowing him to be the face of the city at public events but leaving him with little more power than a regular councillor.
If passed, the motion would also see Ford's office and budget essentially put under the deputy mayor's control.
It comes after councillors overwhelmingly passed a pair of motions Friday stripping Ford of his ability to appoint key committee chairs or to exercise emergency powers.
The mayor has remained defiant in the face of the council uprising, and has threatened legal action against the bylaws.
Ford admitted last Wednesday he has purchased illegal drugs while in office, and one day later sparked outrage by making a crude sexual comment on live television that he later apologized for.
But he has steadfastly refused to take a leave or resign ever since reports surfaced in May of a video that appeared to show him smoking crack cocaine.
Police say they think they have recovered the video.
Ford has denied he is an alcoholic or a drug addict, saying he is getting professional help.
NDP's Thomas Mulcair says Rob Ford scandal rubbing off on Harper Conservatives
TORONTO - New Democrat Leader Thomas Mulcair says the ongoing scandal swirling around Toronto's embattled mayor Rob Ford is rubbing off on Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Mulcair says the Tories have for years lauded Rob Ford, who the NDP leader called their ideological "poster child."
But Mulcair says the association has now tainted the Conservatives following months of revelations about the mayor's behaviour that includes admitted drug use.
Mulcair says the long-standing Tory-Ford ties are souring voters' opinion of Harper, and will play a role in the 2015 federal election.
Harper and Ford have had a cosy relationship over the years, culminating with the pair enjoying a fishing trip together at Harrington Lake, Que., shortly after the Tories won re-election in 2011.
The prime minister later attended a barbecue hosted by Ford and praised the mayor.
"The Conservatives have been saying for years that Rob Ford's their guy," Mulcair said Sunday during a surprise stop in Toronto to support his party's candidate in the coming federal byelection.
"They're going to have to wear it now," he said, repeating that Ford should resign immediately and get help.
Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver sought to distance his government when asked about the mayor earlier this month, denying there was any particularly close relationship.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty — a Ford family friend who has appeared with the mayor at several events — became visibly upset this month when commenting on Ford's troubles, but said he has to make his own decision on what to do.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has said he hopes Ford seeks treatment for his demons.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2013