TORONTO (AP) — Beset by scandal, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford faces another likely setback Monday as the City Council takes up a motion to snatch away most of his remaining powers. Ford called the effort a “coup d’etat” and challenged the council to call snap elections.
Under the motion, already endorsed by a majority of council members, Ford would in effect become mayor of Canada’s largest city in name only. He would be stripped of his office budget and staff.
The council does not have the power to remove Ford from office, barring a criminal conviction. It is pursuing the strongest recourse available after recent revelations that Ford smoked crack cocaine and his repeated outbursts of erratic behavior.
Far from being chastened, Ford has vowed to take the council to court and insists he will seek re-election next year.
“It’s a coup d’etat — that’s all this is,” Ford said as he arrived at City Hall on Monday morning.
He earlier claimed on a radio station that councilors were against his agenda to save taxpayers’ money.
“If they want me out, they should just call a snap election,” Ford told radio station AM640.
Councilor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a former Ford ally, said it’s about his conduct.
“This about embarrassing the city, his involvement with gangs, his involvement with crack cocaine this about his admission that he gets behind the wheel while drinking,” Minnan-Wong said.
“He’s the worst spokesman for the city of Toronto right now.”
On Sunday, Ford embraced the spotlight, giving an interview to Fox News and showing up at a Toronto Argonauts game even though the commissioner of the Canadian Football League had suggested that he not attend.
He and his brother are set to debut a current events television show Monday night called “Ford Nation” for the Sun News Network.
Toronto, a city of 2.7 million people, has been abuzz with the Ford melodrama since May, when news outlets reported that he had been caught on video smoking crack cocaine.