Crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford claims he is ‘a role model for down and out kids’

Unless the provincial legislature changes the law, which is highly unlikely, Toronto’s City Council has no means to force Mr Ford to leave

The good members of Toronto’s City Council needn’t have bothered. Today they extracted yet one more admission from their disgraced Mayor Rob Ford, that, yes, in the past two years he had purchased illegal drugs. But then he protested he was “a positive role model for kids who are down and out”.

Two things were thus demonstrated again. Mr Ford, elected three years ago, has ample and equal reserves of obstinacy and self-delusion. And the council, however much it might have right on its side in suggesting that he take responsibility for his actions, has no power to force him to do so.

It was the first full meeting of the council of Canada’s largest city since Mr Ford conceded last week the truth of what the website Gawker and The Toronto Star had seen in a video six months ago. On one occasion, in a “drunken stupor”, he used crack cocaine. The indignation-meter, fuelled further by another video that surfaced last week showing Ford threatening to kill someone, was going through the ceiling.

“Together we stand to ask you to step aside and take a leave of absence,” Jaye Robinson, a councillor, said, brandishing a petition to that effect that had been joined by 41 of the 43 members present for the debate. “Over the last six months and especially the last few weeks we have grown increasingly concerned by the seemingly endless cycle of allegations, denials and belated admissions about your behaviour.” In case Mr Ford wasn’t getting the message, another councillor, Denzil Minnan-Wong, introduced a motion that would demand he take a leave of absence to allow the city to gather itself, apologise to the Toronto citizenry and co-operate with police. Even Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, previously loyal to Mr Ford, sided with the motion. “I’m publicly advising the Mayor to take some time,” he said.

Assailed from all sides, Mr Ford attempted contrition. After replying “yes, I have” to the narcotics question posed by Mr Minnan-Wong, Mr Ford said: “I understand the embarrassment that I have caused. I am humiliated by it.” But it was over quickly. “I’m most definitely keeping this job. I am not leaving here. I’m going to sit here and going to attend every meeting.”

Unless the provincial legislature changes the law – highly unlikely – the council has no means to force Mr Ford to leave. Even after Toronto Police announced it had found the crack video in question, officers said it did not amount to sufficient evidence for prosecution.

Mr Ford, who has built a record of taming the municipal unions and cutting the city’s budget, has even said he intends to run again in elections next year and there is no saying that the conservative swell from the suburbs that gave him the keys to it in the first place won’t do so again. That presumably is how he comes up with the notion that he is a fine example for “down and out kids”. Keep standing, no matter what.

Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridgeface-off in the final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas