Rob, Doug Ford taunt anti-Ford crowd as council debates mayor’s powers
Video: Commotion between Fords and public gallery at city council meeting
TORONTO – City council was forced to take a 10-minute break after members of the public and Mayor Rob Ford along with his brother Doug Ford got into a shouting match.
The turbulence started after Coun. Ford asked speaker Frances Nunziata to remove “union members” and “special interest groups” from the chambers who were allegedly causing a disruption.
Soon after, the mayor began walking the outer rim of the council floor with his driver, who was filming the public.
The Ford brothers began taunting the largely anti-Ford crowd asking certain people what union they belonged to. Cries of “shame” could be heard throughout the council.
Video: Rob Ford knocks over councillor during commotion at city council meeting
"You're a disgrace," Councillor Doug Ford said to some members of the public.
Earlier in the day, Ford called the city council motions against him to limit his powers a ”coup d’état.”
“It is exactly a coup d’état. That’s exactly what is happening here today,” said Ford in an interview on AM640’s John Oakley Show Monday morning. “They are trampling on democracy. Last time I remembered, people vote in this country. They are running this as a dictatorship.”
City councillors are attempting to curtail Mayor Ford’s ability to manage his budget at a special city hall meeting Monday.
The motion presented at council would have Ford’s office and budget essentially put under the control of the Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.
“There will be some amendments on the floor to conform with statutes,” said Councillor James Pasternak. “I expect an animated debate. We’ve been backed into a corner and council has to act.”
AUDIO: Full interview of Mayor Rob Ford on AM640’s The John Oakley Show on Monday Nov. 18.
If passed, the move will further dwindle the mayor’s power and make him little more than a figurehead.
Ford challenged his fellow councillors to head to the polls now if they want him out.
“Let’s have 30 days to sign people up, and have a 60 day campaign period and in three months let’s have an election right now,” he said. “If they want me out, let’s have a snap election.”
On Friday, councillors overwhelming passed a pair of motions that limited the mayor’s ability to appoint key committee chairs or to exercise emergency powers.
Ford said he has retained a lawyer and vowed to take legal action against the bylaws.
Doug Ford reiterated his brothers comments during a media scrum with reporters and also called on citizens to “rise up” in opposition to council.
“What we’re seeing is an overthrow of a democratically elected mayor,” he said.
Under municipal law, the mayor cannot be impeached unless he has been charged with a criminal offence and imprisoned.
The provincial government has the power to step in and change the law but Premier Kathleen Wynne has stated she is unlikely to do so unless city council insists it can no longer function on its own.
The mayor has refused to resign after police announced in October that they have recovered a video of Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.
Last month, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said authorities found the digital file as part of a guns and gangs investigation.
“Bring out the wire taps, bring out the video, don’t play these games,” Ford said. “They put out everything else, which I think is irrelevant.”
Ford has admitted to smoking crack cocaine and purchasing illegal drugs while he has been in office.
The mayor has denied he is an alcoholic or a drug addict, saying he is getting professional help.
Follow a LIVEBLOG as Global News reports from city council chambers.
-with files from The Canadian Press
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