Rob Ford back to work after crack-smoking confession
Councillors prepare motions to curtail mayor's powers
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who claimed he has "nothing left to hide" after admitting Tuesday to smoking crack cocaine while serving as mayor, will arrive to work at city hall Wednesday facing nearly universal condemnation from his council.
Ford's stunning admission on Tuesday about his hard-drug use, followed by another announcement that he still intends to continue as mayor of Canada's largest city, has left many on council expressing fear that the city will be unable to run properly so long as Ford remains in office.
Their responses range from baffled to angry, with most calling on Ford to step aside — even if only temporarily — to address substance abuse issues.
"Toronto deserves better leadership," Coun. Karen Stintz tweeted, adding that Ford had "betrayed" the voters' trust. Stintz plans to seek the mayor's chair in next October's municipal election.
Another frustrated councillor Jaye Robinson went further saying Ford "doesn't have a shred of credibility" and must step aside.
Coun. Gary Crawford, a Ford ally, said he was surprised the mayor did not step down on Tuesday and said Ford "needs help with his addiction issues."
"It would have been best for himself and for his family for him to step aside," Crawford said Wednesday on Metro Morning. "I like the guy, I care about him but we have to think about what is best for the city."
Motions prepared to limit Ford's power
Others on council expressed concern that Ford has made no mention of any plan to seek help or treatment for substance abuse problems.
Ford was asked on Monday about how he would change his behaviour during a radio appearance on AM640. He guffawed and told host John Oakley that he would simply "drink less."
With no legal mechanism on the books to force Ford from office, some councillors are looking at ways to limit his power.
Two motions are in the works: One from Coun. John Filion that would curtail Ford's power and another from Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong that amounts to a symbolic motion of non-confidence, imploring him to step aside and co-operate with police in their investigation.
Ford's problems far from over
In addition to a restive council, Ford also has fences to mend with the Toronto police. Although it was overshadowed by Ford's admission of crack use yesterday afternoon, earlier in the day his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, called on police chief Bill Blair to resign. In an appearance on Metro Morning, Doug Ford said Blair showed bias when he commented about a video in police possession believed to show the mayor smoking crack.
A series of court documents were made public last week that police used to obtain a search warrant in their arrest of Alexander (Sandro) Lisi, Ford's friend and occasional driver who now face extortion and drug charges.
The documents chronicled extensive police surveillance of Ford that began in May, shortly after it was first reported that a recording exists showing the mayor smoking what appears to be crack cocaine. Police watched Ford as he exchanged envelopes with Lisi in clandestine meetings. The surveillance also chronicles multiple phone calls between the two men, particularly in mid-May after stories about the video first broke. A police press release says the charges against Lisi are related to "extortive efforts to retrieve a recording."
Although some 500 pages of documents used to obtain the Lisi search warrants were released, about half of those pages were redacted. Media lawyers have filed motions to get the redacted information made public. Those documents could be released this week and contain more damning information about Ford's behaviour.