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Time for Toronto mayor to step down


SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Time for Toronto mayor to step down

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TORONTO (AP) – City councilors called on Toronto’s deputy mayor to “orchestrate a dignified” departure for mayor Rob Ford, who was greeted by angry protesters on his first day of work after acknowledging he smoked crack.
Deepening the crisis, Ford’s long-time policy adviser Brooks Barnett resigned, continuing an exodus from his office that started in May when news reports emerged of a video showing the mayor smoking what appears to be crack.
Police announced last week they had a copy of the video, which has not been released publicly.
After months of evading the question, Ford acknowledged for the first time yesterday that he smoked crack “probably a year ago” when he was in a “drunken stupor”. But he refused to step aside despite immense pressure.
Ford arrived at City Hall just past noon today, but took a back stairway to his office to avoid a crush of media. More than 200 people protested outside City Hall.
“Hey hey! Ho ho! Rob Ford has got to go!” they chanted.
City councilor James Pasternak said the controversy consuming Canada’s largest city cannot go on day after day. He said several city councilors are asking deputy mayor Norm Kelly to approach Ford and “orchestrate a dignified exit from city hall”.
Kelly has not commented since Ford acknowledged he smoked crack. On Sunday, when Ford apologized for being drunk in public, Kelly said the mayor should get another chance. Kelly did not return messages seeking comment today.
There is no clear legal path for Ford’s critics to force him out. Municipal law makes no provision for the mayor’s forced removal from office unless he is convicted and jailed for a criminal offense. Police have not charged Ford.
“He has stubbornly refused to listen to everyone across the city to step down,” councilor Janet Davis. “The mayor has got to come to the conclusion himself that he has to step down.”

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