Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong says if Rob Ford doesn’t take a leave of absence to deal with his substance abuse, council could petition the province to have him removed from office.
The proposed amendment to his motion came as the city’s top civil servant Joe Pennachetti cautioned all staff that the city was not in crisis — and to not let the drama at city hall distract them from their job.
Minnan-Wong said, “We have told him that he needs to find the exit. He doesn’t seem to be listening.
“If he can’t find the exit, I think we have to show him the door.”
He added he believes that it would be the strongest measure “we could take.” He said he hasn’t spoken to Premier Kathleen Wynne, who earlier Wednesday reiterated that she’s not intervening and would let the municipality, the police and the courts do their work.
Deputy mayor Norm Kelly, who has advised Ford to take a leave of absence, said he wished Minnan-Wong had sought the advice of executive committee members before going public with such a proposal. Kelly, who couched Minnan-Wong’s actions as “someone more interested in his mayoral candidacy” said he wouldn’t support such a measure.
“We have the ability to solve our own problems,” Kelly told CityNews. “We don’t have to ask the province to intercede in this particular circumstance.”
Minnan-Wong and his colleague Peter Milczyn drafted the original motion moments after Ford made the crack cocaine admission on Tuesday.
The motion also calls for Ford to apologize to the city for “misleading” residents about the existence of a video, co-operate with Toronto police in their investigation, apologize for writing a letter of reference for accused drug dealer Alexander Lisi and respond to council directly and not address them through the media.
The proposal will be considered at next Wednesday’s council meeting.
Hours after his stunning admission, Ford said he had embarrassed the city, was very sorry and had only himself to blame for the mess, but that he was staying in office and was in fact planning to run for re-election next October.
On Thursday, city manager Pennachetti sent a memo to all Toronto managers.
“I know you are all aware of the recent media coverage regarding the Mayor. The situation that is unfolding is unfortunate. It has also resulted in some media reports that the City of Toronto is in crisis. This is not the case,” the memo stated.
“I understand that these issues have created some distraction…The best way for the Toronto Public Service to address this situation will be to continue our hard work and to continue to provide high quality customer service to the residents and businesses of the City.”