BREAKING: Rob Ford Gets into Screaming Match, Knocks Over Councillor as Council Seeks to Strip Him of Mayoral PowersPosted: November 18, 2013
Toronto City Council broke into chaos Monday afternoon after Mayor Rob Ford seemingly charged towards a spectator in the galley, knocking over a city councillor in the process, after his brother Doug Ford screamed “scumbags” at the public.
The mayor took off running after his brother got into a verbal argument with the crowd, hitting Councillor Pam McConnell, knocking her backwards, before catching her and helping her steady herself.
Councillor Ford, who had earlier denounced the “special interest groups” and union members he said were sitting in the audience, was yelling at them: “You got your hands in the cookie jar!”
“Saving money? You don’t like saving money? I save money!” Mayor Ford yelled, as city hall security guards descended, raising their hands in an attempt to get everyone to calm down.
The shouting continued, however, with onlookers screaming “you’re a disgrace!” and “you’re pathetic!” Doug Ford responded,”you’re milking the system” and “you’re a disgrace, you little punk!” as Councillor Mark Grimes grabbed him by the elbow and pulled him away.
The crowd yelled “shame, shame, shame” to the mayor, who began shouting back prior to his run into McConnell.
The mayor’s driver could be seen taking video of those in the crowd as the incident unfolded.
Councillors were stunned by the outbreak.
“We’re dealing with a mayor that has a bit of a problem,” said Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti. “Do you expect any different than any other addict who is put up against the wall and someone is trying to take their job away.”
McConnell, who although flustered said she was fine, noted it’s not the decorum expected in the council chambers.
Councillor Paula Fletcher asked the mayor to apologize to Ms. McConnell, whose lip was swollen, she said. The mayor said he was trying to rush over to get to Councillor Ford, whom he thought was involved in an altercation.
“I apologize to anyone I accidentally hit when my brother was in an altercation over there,” said Mayor Ford.
Earlier, Ford seemed to have won a small legal battle as Toronto City Council scaled back a proposal to strip most of the mayor’s power in response to legal concerns.
Originally, Councillor John Filion had proposed slashing the chief magistrate’s budget to that of a city councillor, from $1.9-million to $250,000. George Rust-D’Eye, Mayor Ford’s lawyer, suggested the move could infringe on the mayor’s “statutory powers.”
A revised motion that has not yet been tabled suggests reducing the budget to just over $712,000 next year — or about 40% of the regular allotment. The adjustment means the mayor could retain more of his staff, about 8 staff from the current 20.
Ford argued that he would only be receiving about 25% of the budget of previous mayor David Miller.
“If many Torontonians were initially fascinated by the drama they are now fed up with it. They want it to end,” Councillor Filion said of his motion.
The proposal also seeks to oust him as chair of his own executive, although he would remain a member of the committee. He would lose his power to sit and vote on any other committee.
The new proposal would delete a request to “delegate to the Deputy Mayor all powers and duties which are not by statute assigned to the mayor” and instead lists a number of specific powers that it would remove. Those include, no longer allowing the mayor to designate key matters, to speak first and last on agenda items. The move also removes him as the chair of certain committees.
City councillors spent most of the first portion of the special meeting asking the city solicitor if the motion would hold up in court.
The amended motion does not go as far as the previous one, which would have delegated all of Ford’s powers not under provincial legislation to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.
Ford has promised to fight the motion in court should it pass. Earlier Monday, he called it a “coup d’etat” and challenged councillors to a “snap election.” However, the province poured cold water on that idea as Municipal Affairs Minister Linda Jeffrey said the government is not considering changes to allow for a snap election.
The city council chambers, jammed packed with media and spectators, featured theatrics from the mayor not long after the meeting began.
Mayor Ford made a drinking and driving gesture towards Councillor Paul Ainslie, drawing a rebuke from the council speaker, after his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, accused his fellow councillors of personal transgressions.
Ainslie received a warning from police this spring after he was pulled over by a RIDE spot check. He was not charged. Mayor Ford admitted last week to drinking and driving after a police document said staffers alleged he would sometimes drink while driving.
Doug Ford also sparred with city staff during his questioning.
“Have you read the Toronto Act,” he asked the city solicitor.
“Yes councillor we have, it’s our daily bread and butter,” came the response.
Just prior to the council meeting there was a typically Fordian drama, in which the mayor refused to get on the elevator to take him to council chambers because long-time rival Councillor Adam Vaughan was in it.
Instead, the mayor chose to stand among the media silently, as dozens of questions were hurled his way.
On Friday, an overwhelming majority of council voted to strip the mayor of his emergency powers and revoke his ability to hire and fire the deputy mayor and standing committee chairs.
Monday’s vote comes after a weekend in which Toronto’s mayor maintained his international profile with interviews on Fox News, CNN and a “Saturday Night Live” skit.
The mayor proclaimed on Fox he wants to be prime minister of Canada and on CNN, he swore in front of a live audience that included children, and ranted (untruthfully) about how the media never asked him the right questions about his use of crack cocaine.
“I just had enough. I was sick and tired of all these allegations and all this bulls–t — excuse my word — and that’s all that is. Sorry kids, I shouldn’t have sworn in front of the kids,” Ford said in an interview with CNN’s Bill Weir.
“You know what, I made mistakes, I drank too much, I smoked some crack some time. You are absolutely wrong what [the media] said. They said ‘Do you smoke crack and are you a crack addict?’ No, I don’t smoke crack and I’m not a crack addict. Have I? Yes, I have. So…I didn’t lie. I don’t smoke crack…I haven’t smoked in over a year…but did I? Come on?”
Additionally, Superior Court Justice Ian Nordheimer dismissed an application from the lawyer for a man charged with drug trafficking and seen with the mayor in a photograph to be allowed to view the infamous Ford “crack” video.
However, the judge also said there was second video related to the first video that “relates” to the first video. The judge confirmed that Mayor Ford is in the first video.
Doug Ford calls Kathleen Wynne the “unelected premier,” calls for municipal and provincial election.