Chaotic scene as Toronto strips mayor of powers

Chaotic scene as Toronto strips mayor of powers

TORONTO, Canada - Toronto city council voted Monday to strip Mayor Rob Ford of most of his remaining powers in further sanctions against him following admissions of smoking crack and binge drinking.

The move effectively makes the city's chief magistrate a figurehead, which Ford vowed to fight.

Leading up to the vote, debate on the motion descended into farce as Ford taunted hecklers in the public gallery, calling them "punks," and at one point accidentally bowled over a female councillor as he charged across the chamber.

The civic leaders of Canada's largest city had already voted last week to curb Ford's official duties and on Monday went further in order to "restore the confidence of the public in the government of Toronto," according to the deputy mayor.

But Ford, who has apologised for his hell-raising lifestyle and for obscene public outbursts, has vowed to fight both in court and at the ballot box to keep his job.

"This is going to be outright war," he said.

The mayor has faced a swell of outrage over a litany of misdeeds, both admitted and alleged, ever since police last month revealed that they have video footage showing him smoking crack.

Ford admitted he had smoked the illicit drug and apologised for his antics, including what he described as his many "drunken stupors."

New allegations of misconduct, disclosed last week, and his lewd remarks in denying sexual harassment claims deepened the scandal, prompting widespread calls for his resignation.

Debate over the motion to curb the mayor's powers was marked by rowdy outbursts and argumentative to-and-fro between councillors and Ford's dwindling band of supporters.

Ford swung in his chair and pantomimed one councillor's drinking and driving and stood to confront hecklers in the public gallery.

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