WATCH: Transfer of power underway as Rob Ford’s leave of absence begins. Jackson Proskow has the latest
Latest update: (12:12 p.m. ET)
- Doug Ford says he “loves [his] brother” and hopes he gets the help he needs
- Politicians of all stripes are renewing calls for the mayor to resign
- Rob Ford’s mother says she had “no idea how serious it was.”
TORONTO – Until further notice, Rob Ford is – officially – not in control of the city.
Ford filed his leave of absence with city officials Thursday morning as he prepares to seek help for his substance abuse problem.
He didn’t specify, however, how long the mayor would be out of the office.
So what happens now? Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, who had been serving as a de-facto mayor since council stripped Ford of all his non-statutory powers in November, assumes the remaining powers Ford kept.
WATCH: Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly says there is no crisis in government with Rob Ford taking leave
Those were mostly ceremonial and included the ability to declare a state of emergency, heading council and representing the city at official functions (though Kelly had been invited to most events since November, and the Premier has been meeting with him in lieu of Ford).
“This is best described as personal tragedy not a crisis of government,” he said.
“I want to assure all residents that the business of the city of Toronto continues as usual,” Kelly said. “Our priorities are stable governance and ensuring that we focus on advancing the important business of the city of Toronto.”
There is a risk Ford could lose his job as mayor if he were to miss three consecutive council meetings unless council passes a resolution relieving him of that responsibility.
While Ford’s scandals are again dominating the city’s news cycle, councillors are keen to stress that the work of city hall continues.
“Council has been doing its business, committee meetings will continue to happen and decisions will be made,” Councillor Josh Matlow said in a telephone interview Wednesday night. “Norm Kelly has done a very good job of demonstrating leadership.”
As of today, Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly has all mayoral powers & responsibilities. I look forward to working with him to move our city forward.—
Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) May 01, 2014
Matlow commended Kelly for doing a “valiant job” but admitted the Ford “fiasco” has been a distraction.
“It’s not fair to Toronto, it’s not fair to his family, it’s not fair to everyone that’s affected by his behaviour,” he said.
Ford said in a statement released to the public Wednesday night that he has a “problem with alcohol.” He did not address multiple allegations of continuing drug use, including still images posted Wednesday from a video apparently shot over the weekend depicting him holding a metal pipe.
“Today, after taking some time to think about my own well-being, how to best serve the people of Toronto and what is in the best interests of my family, I have decided to take a leave from campaigning and from my duties as mayor to seek immediate help,” according to the statement.
In Depth: Rob Ford
And he still plans to run for reelection in October’s election.
Ford’s letter came within hours of reports in Toronto newspapers of drug and alcoholfuelled behaviour by the mayor including, a profanity-laden, homophobic audio recording and allegations of a second drug video.
Global News has not been able to verify the authenticity of either claim.