Thursday, May 1, 2014

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Ousted, Deputy Takes Over

  • Norm Kelly officially takes over as Toronto's Mayor
  • Doug Ford says he feels 'a sense of relief' his brother will get help
  • Rob Ford seen leaving his house with luggage, return date not specified
  • Mayoral candidates Chow, Stintz decry Ford's comments, behaviour
  • Coun. Robinson says Ford should have quit last year
    Rob Ford's struggles with substance abuse amount to "a personal tragedy," Toronto Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said today in assuming the duties of the mayor, who is taking leave to seek "professional help" for his alcohol abuse.

    "I have agreed to assume the responsibilities of mayor," Kelly said Thursday. "This transition is effective immediately.
    "I would like to convey our best wishes to the mayor and his family as he gets the help he is seeking."
    Ford announced Wednesday he is stepping away from both his role as mayor and his campaign for re-election. The move follows new revelations about Ford's substance abuse in two newspaper stories.

    Reporters at the Globe and Mail say they've viewed a video showing Rob Ford smoking from a large pipe on Saturday.

    The people who tried to sell the video to the Globe and Mail told the newspaper the substance was crack cocaine. The Toronto Sun posted audio on its website Wednesday of Ford ranting and making lew comments in a bar.

    The new recordings follow a year of scandal in which Ford has been caught on tape inebriated and making inappropriate comments.

    It was not immediately clear where the mayor was headed as he left his west-end house early Thursday in a two-vehicle convoy. His return date is also unclear.

    Rob Ford's return uncertain

    Ford is seeking re-election in a municipal campaign that will send Toronto voters to the polls on Oct. 27.

    Kelly said Thursday he did not know when Ford would return, but said city business would go on as usual in his absence.

    Kelly assumed many of the mayor's duties last November when council voted to strip the mayor of many of his powers, a move that came in response to Ford's controversial behaviour, and revelations of drug and alcohol abuse.

    "He has taken the step that I and others have suggested for a long time," said Kelly.

    Ford Substance Abuse 20140501
    Toronto Mayor Rob Ford leaves his home early Thursday after maintaining for months that he is not an addict or an alcoholic. A day earlier, he said he is seeking help for substance abuse. (Canadian Press)
    Earlier Thursday, mayoralty candidates Olivia Chow and Coun. Karen Stintz both decried comments Rob Ford made in the two recordings cited in the newspaper stories. Chow and Stintz said they are glad the mayor is seeking help, but both also said he is an embarrassment who is no longer fit to serve as mayor.

    Stintz said Ford's recent comments about her are "gross," and provide further evidence the city needs a new mayor.

    "I am disappointed by the misogynistic language used by Rob Ford," said Stintz, referring to comments contained in an audio recording posted by the Toronto Sun.

    "The only people who can remove Rob Ford from office are the people of Toronto. I have faith in the people of this city. Rob Ford is not Toronto. We need to move forward."

    'It is too late' for Ford as a mayor: Chow

    In the recording on the Sun website, Ford says, "I'd like to f--king jam her," in reference to Stintz.
    Shortly after Stintz spoke, Chow, the former NDP MP, said Ford's move to step aside comes too late.
    "It's obvious Mr. Ford is a sick man … with a serious substance abuse problem," said Chow.

    "As a mayor, it is too late. He had his chance. Last year everyone said he needs to get help. He didn't do so. The time to take a leave of absence was last year."

    'The mayor does not have a shred of credibility left and he hasn't for months.'- Coun. Jaye Robinson on the latest revelations about Rob Ford

    Earlier Thursday, Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, a former supporter of Ford, said the mayor's move to step aside and get help is "better late than never."

    Ford Substance Brother 20140501
    Coun. Doug Ford said Thursday he feels a sense of relief that his brother, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, is seeking help for his substance abuse problems. (Canadian Press)
    "Right now is a time to let Rob Ford heal and get the help he needs," he told reporters Thursday.
    Other members of council were more blunt in their reaction.

    Coun. Jaye Robinson said Ford's move to temporarily step aside does not go far enough. She said anything less than a full resignation from both the office and his re-election bid is "too little, too late."

    "The mayor does not have a shred of credibility left and he hasn't for months," Robinson said on CBC Radio's Metro Morning. "Our mayor is a chronic liar; we can't take it anymore. He needs to get his name off the ballot."


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