Things are not normal at Toronto City Council. The city council is being disrupted by an attention seeking Rob Ford who yesterday disrupted council by provoking an argument with people in the public gallery watching the proceedings.
Toronto's Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said council didn't have words to describe the actions of Rob Ford during yesterday's council meeting, after a special vote saw the embattled mayor stripped of key powers.
Kelly, who has arguably become Toronto's most powerful politician overnight, said he hasn't spoken to Ford following the unprecedented vote that left Ford as little more than a figurehead at city hall.
Council overwhelming voted in favour of transferring about 60 per cent of Ford's office budget to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, as well as giving the deputy mayor the ability to designate key items for council debate - a power usually controlled by the mayor.
"I didn't talk with him yesterday. He was obviously in a combative mood. A wounded, cornered animal -- and they're not always the most rational," Kelly said on Tuesday.
Ahead of the vote, Ford declared war against his fellow councillors, likening the move to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. (*laughs*)
As a verbal altercation reportedly broke out between councillor Doug Ford and members of the public Monday, Ford broke into a run around the side of the chamber and crashed / body-slammed into elderly female councillor Pam McConnell, leaving her with a fat lip.
"Yesterday's performance, none of us had words to describe it, because we had never seen behaviour like that by the mayor or frankly by anyone else at council," Kelly said. "It left you breathless."
Asked if Ford's behaviour has recently changed, Kelly said: "He's multi-faceted and it's difficult to know which side of him he'll display at any given time. You always hope for the best, you talk to him as gently as you can."
Kelly said Rob Ford's declaration of war was an unexpected conclusion to the tumultuous debate. He said that despite the animosity that has spawned over the last few weeks, he was hoping council could move forward in a more "consensus-building" manner.
Kelly said much of the recent drama that's surrounded Ford could have been avoided if the mayor had taken some time off when police first announced that they had recovered the infamous crack video.
"There was a consensus on council at that time to take a pause, take leave, call it what you will -- family time. Just take the time to regroup, look after yourself physically and come back in two or three months ready to govern and campaign and none of this would have happened."
Kelly said he hopes to speak to Ford sometime today.
"I'm hoping this is the rhetoric that surrounds the wounds that he's feeling right now," Kelly said. "He tends to talk explosively and then settles down and acts in a more sensible way."
Kelly said while much of Ford's power has been taken away, the mayor continues play a role in city politics.
"The mayor still has ability to speak on behalf of the city to everybody else out there, he still has those powers," Kelly said. “But the powers or authority to direct business internally has been divorced from his office."
Kelly dismissed Ford's claims of council committing a coup d'etat, saying that Ford's fiscal agenda will continue to move forward – only in a more "considerate" and "co-operative" way.
Meanwhile, the mayor's brother, Doug Ford, maintains that the mayor is not out of control and will bounce back from the ongoing controversies.
Below in the video Rob Ford declares war against city council.
Doug Ford claims they still have blue collar support
He said Ford's support remains strong among Toronto's "blue collar" population, suggesting that the mayor has upset the city's "social elite" with his fiscally conservative agenda and suggesting that uneducated members of the public still supports the crack-smoking wife-beating mayor.
"We can go to, maybe not the certain downtown wards, but we can go out in the suburbs and we can go door-knocking," Doug Ford says, when asked if support for the mayor has dropped following recent stunning admissions that he has smoked crack cocaine and purchased illegal drugs since becoming mayor.
Despite ongoing calls urging him to take some time off, Ford has said he won't leave the mayoral office and he plans to run in next year's election. He even has delusions that he will someday run for Prime Minister of Canada (as if there were enough dumb people in the federal Conservative Party willing to vote for him).
An Ipsos Reid poll released last week showed that 62 per cent of respondents said there's no way they would vote for Ford "under any circumstance."
However, Doug Ford dismissed the results.
"The only poll that counts is the one on Election Day," he said.
However what the Ford brothers seem to forget is that "blue collar workers" often don't even vote. They forget to vote.
Following Monday's historic council meeting, the Ford brothers gave a rare sit-down interview to CBC News, where the mayor said he's had a "Jesus moment" and said he's "finished" with drugs and alcohol.
Ford said with his office staff reduced to eight people, he can't complete it mayoral duties – mainly, his ability to return "thousands" of phone calls.
"They just stripped me of everything I have, all because of personal problems," he said.
But addicts frequently return to their old habits and Rob Ford has shown no signs (beyond words) suggesting that his change is permanent. His heart is weak and he will return to drugs easily.
In the interview, Ford admitted to having purchased and smoked marijuana since being elected to Toronto's top office, and having smoking crack once. He also said he did cocaine more than once before he was elected mayor.
"I'm a human being," he said of his mistakes. "But nobody has helped more people in this city than Rob Ford." (*wipes tears from eyes from laughter*)
Ford says he’s getting help from health care professional to help him lose weight, but he maintains he is not an addict and does not need the assistance of substance abuse experts. But what about spousal abuse experts? What about all the times his wife has called the cops on him for attacking her physically?
The Ford brothers have said they're prepared to take legal action against the city and individual councillors as a result of Monday’s motion, which they have described as "illegal."
I cannot wait for his wife to finally leave him and have his charged with spousal abuse dating back years. Then we can see a new level to the Rob Ford scandal.
Or worse, what happens if he has a drunken rage. And KILLS his wife... Let us hope that news headline never happens.
Meanwhile the province has a choice. Now that city council is being disrupted by Rob Ford's antics inside council chambers, the province now has the option to remove Rob Ford (and Doug Ford) and make Norm Kelly the interim mayor until the next election.
Lets hope the province finally steps in and gives the city a hand in restoring order and civility.