Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has made international headlines with his crazy antics this month — he’s
admitted to smoking crack cocainein a “drunken stupor,” made lewd remarks about oral sex at a press conference, and apologized for going on a bizarre, “extremely inebriated” rant about wanting to murder someone.
It’s mind-boggling that he’s still in office and refusing to step down or take a leave, but there’s really not much the city can do to remove him.
In fact, Toronto has already tried once before to toss Ford from office because of conflict of interest issues, but he won on appeal and was able to keep his job.
Unlike many municipalities in the U.S., Toronto does not have a recall process. Voters don’t have the option to gather signatures on a petition and launch a special election to oust officials who have behaved badly.
The Atlantic Wire points out that there are only three circumstances that would make Ford ineligible for office: being convicted of a crime and imprisoned, missing three consecutive months of city council meetings, or violating conflict of interest rules.
Considering that the next election isn’t until 2014, it’s unlikely that Ford will be convicted of a crime and jailed before then. And he’s still desperately clinging to office despite repeated calls for his resignation.
It seems that the only option left for city council is to let Ford keep his position but render it completely worthless by taking away his power.
NOW magazine in Toronto has a pretty good breakdown of what that would look like. The council has already begun to slowly strip Ford of his authority. If they continue in this vein, which they plan to, most of Ford’s duties could be transferred to the deputy mayor and he could lose his budget.
The province of Ontario could also step in and create a law declaring the mayor’s office vacant, but the provincial government is reluctant to interfere in municipal affairs unless specifically asked by the city council. And the council isn’t keen on asking a higher government to step in, because that might make it seem like the city can’t handle its own affairs.
At this point, the city just has to sit and wait.
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