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Deputy mayor assumes many powers in Toronto

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 3:37 p.m. CDT
Caption
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paola Loriggio)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is shown in a video frame grab as he knocks down Councillor Pam McConnell as he ran toward hecklers in the audience at City Hall on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013.

TORONTO (AP) — Toronto's deputy mayor promised a more cooperative approach to governing on Tuesday after assuming the powers that were stripped from scandal-plagued Mayor Rob Ford.

Mayor Rob Ford vowed "outright war" after city council stripped him of most of his remaining powers over his admitted crack cocaine use and heavy drinking.

The council voted overwhelmingly Monday in favor of slashing Ford's office budget by 60 percent and allowing mayoral staff to join the deputy mayor, Norm Kelly. Ford now effectively has no legislative power, as he will no longer chair the executive committee, though he retains his title and ability to represent Toronto at official functions

"There will still be a commitment to fiscal conservatism, but it may be expressed in a more co-operative (way) and more sensitive to the arguments and positions of others," Kelly said.

In an interview broadcast on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday, Ford accused city councilors of attacking him for personal reasons and suggested many of them were guilty of the same behavior he has admitted to.

"All they did was stab me in the back over issues, the same issues that I've admitted to that they do, but nobody knows about it," he said.

He again denied he had a serious problem with alcohol, though he said he was getting help from "health care professionals on a number of issues" and promised the public would see a difference in him in five months.

"Do I excessively drink once in a while, or it's called binge drinking whatever term you want to use? Yes I have. I absolutely have," Ford said.

Ford has apologized for his drug use and drinking. But he and his brother, City Councilor Doug Ford, have also frequently lashed out at journalists and politicians, demanding to know whether they have ever used drugs, gotten behind the wheel drunk or otherwise misbehaved.

The mayor has suggested in the past that other councilors are on drugs but that he is "not a rat" and will not name them.

Despite his defiant attitude, Ford and his lawyer promised that the mayor was changing his ways and has not had a drop of alcohol in three weeks. His lawyer, Dennis Morris, said the mayor is addressing his substance abuse problems and working out two hours a day.

"Hundred percent he's involved in treatment, not for alcoholism, but something related to alcohol. He is not an alcoholic. I've spoken to his doctor and that's all I can tell you," Morris told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

"He's addressing his substance abuse problems. A lot of things go with these things," Morris said. "It's a domino effect so there's that abuse combined with two or three other things that go along. Sometimes you eat too much."

"All these hours of idleness that were otherwise occupied by bad behavior are now replaced with good behavior," he added.

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