ABOVE: Mayor Rob Ford’s powers, staff transferred to Norm Kelly. Jackson Proskow reports.
TORONTO – The locks have been changed. Close to 24 hours after councillors completed a rebellion against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, he no longer has access to parts of his former office.
Norm Kelly, the 72-year-old former MP and teacher, was appointed the city’s new de facto mayor during Monday’s council session.
Councillors successfully stripped the mayor of his statutory powers and significantly slashed his budget Monday and transferred it Kelly. Ford will remain on executive committee but lose many of the special powers council had delegated to his office.
He was also tasked with discussing “concerns” with the mayor after his October admission he had smoked crack cocaine while in office. He urged the mayor to take a leave of absence, which the mayor refused. The mayor did however acquiesce to the request to get a driver.
Kelly had a meeting Tuesday morning with the city manager, city clerk and senior officials at city hall regarding the staffing of his new office.
Eleven of the mayor’s former staffers now work for Kelly, including Chief of Staff Earl Provost and Director of Policy Sheila Paxton.
Eight staffers stayed with the mayor.
The mayor has also been locked out of “the fishbowl” – an area of city hall adjacent to the mayor’s office in which his staffers, including his press secretary Amin Massoudi, would work.
Kelly did however say he would gladly give the mayor access to the area if he requested it.
While the mayor may not have access to some of his former staff, it’s likely his fiscal agenda would continue.
“The mayor’s, the mayor,” he said. “There will still be a commitment to fiscal conservatism but it may be expressed in a more cooperative and more sensitive to the arguments and positions of others.”
WATCH: Mayor Rob Ford declares “outright war” on councillors.
Kelly is a veteran of politics, both municipal and federal.
His first foray into government was as an alderman in Scarborough from 1974 to 1980.
In 1980 he leapt into national politics as a Liberal Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre during Pierre Trudeau’s second term as prime minister.
He was defeated by Pauline Browes in 1984 and in 1985 he ran for mayor of Scarborough but lost.
He returned to Toronto council in 1994 and won again in 2000 after his ward was merged with another Scarborough ward. Since 2000, Kelly has represented Ward 40 Scarborough Agincourt.
Mayor Ford appointed Kelly deputy mayor in August after Doug Holyday won a provincial byelection in Etobicoke.
Kelly also served as a researcher for Pierre Berton’s two award-winning books on 19th railway expansion in Canada, 1970’s The National Dream: The Great Railway, 1871-1881 and 1972’s The Last Spike: The Great Railway, 1881-1885. Kelly won a Governor General’s award for his work on The National Dream.
He also briefly taught history at Toronto’s Upper Canada College.
WATCH: Councillors react to vote removing many of Mayor Ford’s powers
During Monday’s so-called “coup d’etat” (as Rob Ford called it) session of council, the mayor paraded around the rim of council chambers taunting apparent “union members” and “special interest” groups. At one point, he sprinted across the floor and knocked over councillor Pam McConnell.
The video of that incident was played on most late night shows Monday and Kelly, the city’s de facto mayor, said he’s never seen a councillor behave the way Rob Ford did.
“I had never seen that before in any of the four forms of government that I’ve participated in,” he told reporters Tuesday. “I couldn’t tell you why he did it but it certainly didn’t look good on him, or this council or frankly for the reputation of this city.”
– With files from Jackson Proskow
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