Toronto mayor vows fight to stay on

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Associated Press

Posted on November 12, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 4:36 PM

TORONTO (AP) — Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said Tuesday he will fight any attempt to have him take a leave of absence in the wake of a crack smoking scandal.

A motion before the Toronto City Council on Wednesday asks the province of Ontario to pass legislation to remove the mayor if he doesn't voluntarily take a leave of absence.

Ford, who acknowledged last week that he smoked crack, said the council meeting will be a "rumble in the jungle."

Ford made the remark as he signed bobble headed "Robbie Bobbie" dolls for $20 each, inside City Hall on Tuesday.

Ford's refusal to resign or take a leave of absence has frustrated both his opponents and allies on Toronto's City Council.

Still, the council, which cannot force Ford out unless he's convicted of a crime, may be unwilling to pass the motion, fearing the precedent would encourage the province to step into Toronto's affairs.

The provincial government has also expressed reluctance to interfere in Toronto's municipal affairs.

Councilor Doug Ford, the mayor's brother, expects Wednesday's council meeting to be a "public flogging."

"They are going to get up, 44 of them, and give my brother a public beating, a public butchering," Doug Ford said. "I'm going to have to stand there and watch it happen so we'll see how it turns out."

Doug Ford insisted the mayor would not step aside.

"He doesn't want to be stepping aside for two weeks," he said. "He has to keep busy."

Doug Ford said his brother "needs to make changes in his life" and said he's" turning the corner," noting the robust mayor has worked out three or four times since last week.

Meanwhile, Ontario Superior Court Judge Ian Nordheimer is weighing whether to allow lawyers for Mohammad Khattak, a man seen posing with the mayor in a widely published photograph, to view a tape that shows the mayor smoking what appears to be crack. Khattak's lawyers argue their client's reputation has been harmed by being associated with the video of Ford smoking what appears to be crack. Nordheimer said his decision will be released soon.

Police said they obtained the video in the course of a drug investigation into Ford's friend and occasional driver, Alexander Lisi.

Nordheimer also could make a decision this week on whether to allow the release of the remaining portions of documents that revealed Ford's ties and covert meetings with Lisi.

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