Remember how Toronto Mayor Rob Ford actually began to make sense for a minute there? He said he might take a break, consider rehab. But Monday, the crack-smoking-death-threat-making Mayor said that has no plans whatsoever of leaving office, in spite of the immense pressure for him to step aside. Oh dear, are we in for another Bob Filner-esque saga? Will Canadians have to go on marches just to get their mayor out, too?
With Ford holding fast to his mayorship, Toronto's in a legal bind — there's no way to force the disgraced Mayor out by law, so unless he resigns, takes a leave of absence, or he's convicted of a crime, it'll be hard to get him out. But a motion put forward by a City Council member, Denzil Minnan-Wong, is asking for the province of Ontario to remove the Mayor by legislation, and a vote on the motion is likely Wednesday. The move is unprecedented, and has the provincial government hesitant to get involved.
"He can't speak with any type of moral authority on the issue of crime and safety or on the issue of drug use," Minnan-Wong said, adding, in the understatement of the year: "He talks about creating jobs — I don't think he's the guy to go to an international company and try and get that company settled in Toronto and create those jobs. He's not a deal-closer right now."
Minnan-Wong is also asking that Ford apologize — not only for lying about his crack habit to Toronto residents, but also for writing a reference letter for Sandro Lisi (who is going on trial on drug and extortion charges this week) on City of Toronto letterhead. She's also asked that Ford co-operate with Toronto Police (which is hard, you know, for crack users).
To which Ford responded, ominously: "Let's get it on."
Some, however, are holding out for the possibility that Ford will see himself out the door. Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said the Mayor did a lot of "soul-searching" over the weekend, and that he may finally be realizing the reality of his predicament.
“I had a feeling that it was finally sinking in, this need to understand the issues, to understand the feeling that’s out there among so many people. So I think he is beginning to come to grips with the situation he’s in personally and politically,” Kelly said. (If you're wondering how long he's had to "understand the issues," the Toronto mayor was elected in 2010.)
But he also added: "He's a big guy. He was an offensive lineman in football, he's used to the battle in the trenches, that violent collision that goes on every play."
Which seems to be true.
"I'm not going anywhere, guaranteed," Ford said late Monday.
The stubborn mayor has a whole slew of scandals behind him, aside from the now-infamous crack video. On Thursday, there was the viral video that showed the "deeply, deeply inebriated" (his defense, not ours) mayor threatening to commit "first-degree murder." Last year, he swore at aides at City Hall, also while drunk. He's been caught ”probably” reading and driving, and he's such a football fan that he once rerouted a city bus to pick up high-school football players, and made his employees spend “a significant part of their workday” with his private football foundation. It makes you wonder how Toronto functions at all. It took eighteen accusations of sexual assault, a request from the whole San Diego County Democratic Party, and the threat of a vote by the Democratic National Committee, in order to get Mayor Bob Filner to finally resign on July 25. You're in for a bumpy ride, Canada.