Toronto (CNN) — Toronto’s City Council voted Friday to strip embattled Mayor Rob Ford of his ability to govern in an emergency and to appoint and dismiss committee chairs — unprecedented moves aimed at reining in the controversial politician.
Despite admitting last week that he had smoked crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor” about a year ago, Ford has defiantly said he will not leave his job and vowed Friday to challenge the actions in court.
“Obviously, I can’t support this,” Ford said told council members, warning that the legal fight will cost taxpayers “an arm and a leg.”
But, he added: “I perfectly understand where they’re coming from. … I would have supported what they’re doing. I want to move on. I’m not mad at anybody.”
The City Council meeting reflected the tragicomedic state of municipal affairs in Toronto, where police have investigated the mayor for smoking crack cocaine and other indiscretions. Some council members compared the move to strip Ford of his duties to a coup d’etat.
Councilor John Filion said the actions were being taken “reluctantly” but they “sadly are both warranted and necessary.”
The mayor’s brother, Councilor Doug Ford, chastised fellow council members, saying they didn’t have the “moral or legal authority” to strip an elected official of his responsibilities.