The City Council Has Finally Found a Way to Punish Rob Ford

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 15 2013 11:27 AM

The City Council Has Finally Found a Way to Punish Rob Ford

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Mayor Rob Ford leaves his office at Toronto City Hall as he is surrounded by media on November 8, 2013

Photo by Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images

There's nothing the Toronto City Council would like more than to oust Rob Ford, the often boozy, occasionally crack-addled mayor who has turned the city into a late-night punchline on both sides of the border. The problem, however, is that the council doesn't have the power to do that unless Ford is convicted of a crime, something that somewhat remarkably hasn't happened yet. So with their pleas that Ford step aside and seek help going unanswered, the council on Friday began chipping away at Ford's power in the small ways they can.

This morning the council overwhelmingly approved a measure that bars him from appointing or removing committee chairs or the deputy mayor. The final vote was 39-3 in favor, with two of the dissenting votes coming from Ford and his brother, Doug. Here's the Toronto Star on why, while small, the measure is still meaningful:

Without the power to fire the chairpeople, Ford will have even less control over the policy agenda. Most proposals must be passed by committees before they become law, and the chairs have usually followed the mayor's orders for fear of losing their powerful posts. Now, they are free to do as they please.
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Up next will be a measure that would revoke Ford's power to govern the city unilaterally in the event of a city-wide emergency. Then on Monday, the council will consider a series of additional sanctions to further handcuff Ford. Those measures will remain in effect until the end of Ford's current term. "Obviously I can’t support this and I have no other options but to challenge this in court," Ford said this morning, before adding: "I completely understand where they're coming from."

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.