Toronto City Council has officially decided to rescind Mayor Rob Ford’s power associated with his office. In effect, Toronto is left without a Mayor. Rob Ford still holds the title, but the vast majority of powers associated with that title have been assigned to Norm Kelly, Councillor for Ward 40 (Scarborough-Agincourt) and the City’s Deputy Mayor. Torontonians are well aware of the details that led to this decision by Council. Well, by now the entire world is well aware of the details. The Mayor has admitted to smoking crack-cocaine and purchasing illegal narcotics while in office. He has further been implicated in dealings with gang members and sex workers.
Toronto must now move forward in a brave new world in which the Deputy Mayor; who was elected with 12,458 votes and subsequently appointed by Mayor Ford as his Deputy, holds the vast majority of the power associated with the Office of Mayor.
Was this anti-democratic?
That is certainly not the case. The Mayor and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, have attempted to paint this as a coup d’état. The Mayor even went as far as to compare the circumstances of City Council’s special meeting as “when Saddam attacked Kuwait,” which is slightly less hyperbole than his brother’s assertion that “this is kind of like what they did to Jesus.” Nonetheless, this was a democratic action taken by the duly elected members of Council who one must believe do not make any decisions regarding their votes lightly.
However, the City does find itself in an interesting predicament. This was an incredibly unfortunate precedent to set. While the situation of Mayor Ford required the institution of someone who can be trusted, there exists a risk that a future Council may attempt to abuse the new no-Mayor system.
Deputy Mayor Kelly received exactly 1.62% of the votes cast city wide during the previous municipal election is now for all intense purposes leading the Corporation of Toronto. But this was an unfortunate necessity. If only Mayor Ford had stuck to his lies about saving the taxpayers millions and billions and trillions Council would not have had to resort to such measures. Alas, he did not. He let his personal life unravel for the world to see. He did so by making questionable choices while becoming a victim to his own Messiah complex.
Make no mistake: this was a necessary step. It was because the Mayor forced Council’s hand. The responsibility for this incredibly unfortunate precedent lies squarely on the shoulders of one man. His name is Rob Ford.