Council asks Mayor Rob Ford to take a leave of absence, he refuses
ABOVE: Toronto City Council has voted overwhelming to ask Rob Ford to take a leave of absence. Jackson Proskow reports
TORONTO – After hours of debate, city council has voted to ask the mayor to apologize, cooperate with police and take a leave of absence. He won’t.
Mayor Rob Ford answered more personal questions during the debate than he has in the six months since reports of his crack cocaine use first surfaced. Ford admitted he had bought drugs while mayor of Toronto, but insisted he won’t be going anywhere.
“There’s nothing else to say guys. I really eff-ed up and that’s it,” he said, seconds before saying he’s “done a great job running this city.”
Councillors grilled the mayor on his prior behaviour – which by his own admission has included crack smoking and “drunken stupors” – as they debated whether to urge him to apologize and take a leave of absence.
Councillor Jay Robinson presented a petition signed by 30 of the city’s 44 councillors called for the mayor to resign. But there’s no indication Rob Ford will go quietly.
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong introduced his motion urging the mayor to apologize and resign last week, just hours after the mayor reversed months of denials and admitted that he had smoked crack cocaine.
Minnan-Wong’s motion asked the mayor to apologize for writing a reference letter for his friend Sandro Lisi, who’s now accused of using extortion to try and obtain a video of the mayor smoking crack, cooperate with the ongoing police investigation and take a temporary leave of absence.
The motion passed Wednesday afternoon in a 37-5 vote but is largely symbolic: The mayor is unlikely to acquiesce to any of the requests.
“Have you purchased illegal drugs in the last two years?” Minnan-Wong asked Ford in council Wednesday.
“Yes. I have,” Ford replied.
Police tell Global News investigators are aware of the mayor’s admission.
Video: Mayor Rob Ford admits to buying illegal drugs.
The mayor apologized for his “mistakes.”
“I’m humiliated by it, but I cannot change the past,” he said. “These mistakes were not in this council chamber, they were in my personal life.”
Ford insisted he is “absolutely not” taking a leave of absence and is “absolutely not” an addict. It was only during “a few isolated incidents” that his behavior has been cause for concern, he said.
And Ford, who said last week he had “nothing left to hide,” said it again this week in the wake of a new video showing him in an enraged – and “extremely, extremely inebriated” – state.
“There might be a coat hanger left in my closet. I don’t know what’s left.”
He said he’s “a positive role model for kids,” and that a photo taken of him outside a house police identified as a known crack house was a “one-time photo” taken with people he didn’t know who just wanted a picture with him.
“I met those people once and I’ve never seen them again.”
This is also the house in which a video of the mayor smoking what appears to be crack cocaine was allegedly shot. Ford, who said in May “there is no video,” last week called on police to release the video.
Ford tried to move a motion mandating drug and alcohol testing for all councillors. It was ruled out of order.
WATCH: Doug Ford erupts in an angry tirade.
Earlier that day, the mayor’s brother Doug Ford asked Minnan-Wong in council if he had ever smoked marijuana and advised councillors to “not throw rocks in glass houses.”
His shouting escalated during his exchange with Minnan-Wong and his microphone was cut off resulting in the second recess of the day called due to his behaviour. Shouts of “bully” could be heard from the gallery as Ford tried to confront Minnan-Wong.
Video: Ford denies that house in alleged video is not a crack house
Another motion, from Councillor John Fillion, seeks to strip the mayor of his ability to name and remove people from committees. A special meeting will be held Friday to debate that motion.
An Ipsos-Reid poll released early Wednesday morning suggests most Torontonians want the mayor to either resign or take a leave of absence to get treatment – 41 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively. Just 24 per cent think he should continue on as mayor of Toronto.
But Ford didn’t seem worried Tuesday, spending much of the day greeting people lined up to buy his newly-released bobblehead.
And ahead of council Wednesday morning, he told reporters there is “only one poll that matters and that’s on October 27.”
WATCH: Jaye Robinson presents petition calling on Mayor Rob Ford to step down.
The mayor has repeatedly said he won’t step aside. Shortly after the city’s Remembrance Day ceremony on Monday, the mayor “guaranteed” a supporter that he wasn’t “going anywhere.”
The mayor had been dogged by drug allegations since May when Gawker and The Toronto Star reported a video existed showing him smoking what might be crack cocaine.
He originally denied using crack cocaine and called the allegations “ridiculous.” But the controversy was reignited Oct. 31 when Chief Bill Blair said police had recovered the video on a hard drive seized during the June Project Traveller raids. He had seen the video he said, and was “disappointed.”
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