Marathon final Toronto council meeting gets underway

After a tumultuous four years under Mayor Rob Ford, Toronto city council will begin its final full council meeting today.

Packed agenda could see meeting stretch over four days

Council has begun its last meeting of the current session. 2:52

After a tumultuous four years under Mayor Rob Ford, Toronto city council's final full meeting is now underway.

The marathon meeting — which includes more than 400 agenda items and could stretch over four days — will be the final gathering of this council before the Oct. 27 municipal election. Among the agenda items is a call by one councillor to change the words of O Canada to make the national anthem more gender-neutral.

A columnist who spoke to Rob Ford by phone on Monday reported that the Toronto mayor has undergone a second biopsy. (Canadian Press/Darren Calabrese)

Councillors will also consider a plan to build a new Toronto Raptors practice facility on the Exhibition grounds.

The meeting got underway just before 10 a.m. with speaker Frances Nunziata calling on councillors to "be nice." Her plea was a reference to some of the acrimony that has marked many council meetings this term.

Council began the meeting by voting 36-2 in favour of banning the use of e-cigarettes in city workplaces. Mayor Rob Ford and Coun. Josh Matlow voted against the motion. Earlier this month, Toronto's medical health officer recommended the city ban the use of e-cigarettes anywhere smoking is banned.

The meeting that began Monday could be the final one for Ford, who is seeking re-election after a four-year term in which he:

City Hall press scrums have already taken on a mid-election tone in recent weeks. Ford has defended his record, telling CBC city hall reporter Jamie Strashin he's "run the city better than any mayor ever has."

His opponents, meanwhile, say it's time the Rob Ford era to end.

Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, an ardent Ford opponent, issued a tweet Monday calling Ford "Toronto's worst mayor ever":

Ford's main opponents in the mayor's race include former NDP MP Olivia Chow, former provincial Progressive Conservative leader John Tory and former councillor David Soknacki.

Coun. Karen Stintz dropped out of the race on Thursday.  

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