Mayor Rob Ford appears ready to face a challenge from a councillor who has proposed a motion that calls on the mayor to take a leave of absence amid a drug-related scandal that has made worldwide headlines.
Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong's motion seeks several actions from the mayor, including an apology for "misleading" the city about the existence of a video that reportedly shows him using crack cocaine, as well as for writing a letter of reference for "an alleged drug dealer" on city letterhead.
The motion also calls on Ford to take a leave of absence, which the mayor has given no sign he intends to do.
Minnan-Wong, a former ally of Ford's, said Monday that he believes it is "likely" that councillors will back the part of the motion regarding a leave of absence.
Ford has made Minnan-Wong's motion his key item for Wednesday's council meeting, which means it will be debated on the floor of council that day.
Minnan-Wong believes it is a good idea to have the debate on Wednesday.
“I think it’s the right thing to do. We’re all distracted by this and I think it’s important that we deal with this as quickly as possible,” Minnan-Wong said.
On Remembrance Day, Ford was overheard telling a supporter that he’s "not going anywhere," a comment that comes amid growing pressure from many of his council colleagues — including some of his closest supporters — to take a break of some sort from city hall.
But it's not only councillors who are upset with the mayor’s conduct.
The Canadian Press reported Monday that an 80-year-old veteran named Tony Smith refused to shake the mayor’s hand during a Remembrance Day ceremony at Toronto’s Old City Hall.
Smith said he doesn’t agree with drugs and that Ford shouldn’t have taken part in the day’s ceremonies following his recent admission that he has used crack cocaine.
Apologies and admissions
On the last day of October, Toronto police Chief Bill Blair revealed that his investigators had obtained a deleted video file from a hard drive that was seized during a series of police raids earlier in the year. The chief said the video’s contents were consistent with prior media reports.
The Toronto Star and the U.S. gossip website Gawker each reported in May that someone had been shopping a video that appeared to show the mayor smoking crack.
And while the mayor denied both using the drug and the video’s existence for months, Ford began calling for the video's release and last Tuesday admitted that he had smoked crack cocaine while serving as mayor. He apologized and also said he had "nothing left to hide."
His drug-use admission garnered attention from news outlets around the world, as well as from high-profile late-night comics in the United Sates.
But the crack-cocaine bombshell was not the only surprise at city hall last week.
On Thursday, the Toronto Star posted a video on its website showing an angry Ford swearing and ranting. The newspaper paid to obtain the video.
Shortly after that video appeared online, Ford emerged from his office to tell reporters that he was "extremely, extremely inebriated" when it was recorded. But he did not explain the circumstances under which it was shot.
Ford, 44, is three years into a four-year mandate as mayor. He intends to run for re-election next year, and has predicted that the coming campaign will be "a bloodbath."
Before he was elected as mayor in 2010, Ford had served as a city councillor for a ward in the west Toronto suburb of Etobicoke.