(Photo: Reuters/Mark Blinch)
Toronto's notorious mayor Rob Ford said in a recent interview that has given up drinking after experiencing a "come-to-Jesus" moment. Ford has made headlines lately for his hard-partying lifestyle that includes heavy drinking, smoking crack cocaine, and claims that he consorted with a suspected prostitute.
Shortly after Toronto's city council voted Monday to have Ford stripped of most of his powers, the embattled mayor went on an interview broadcasted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to explain that he had given up drinking and does not do drugs.
"I've had a come-to-Jesus moment, if you want to call it that," Ford told CBC's chief news correspondent Peter Mansbridge, adding that he hasn't drunk alcohol in three weeks and plans to never drink again. "Just the humiliation and the belittling and the people I've let down. And it's all because of alcohol. Excessive, stupid, immature behaviour and that's it."
On Monday, Canada's largest city ruled to strip Ford's budget by 60 percent, transferring most of the mayoral duties to the city's deputy mayor, Norm Kelly. The majority of Ford's staff was also transferred to Kelly. Ford will still hold the official title of mayor and attend public events, but he has no legislative power and no longer chairs the city's executive committee.
After a strange outburst that involved Ford running through the gallery and accidentally knocking over city councilor Pam McConnell, Ford told the council that by stripping him of his powers, they were engaging in a "coup d'etat" and ignoring the will of the citizens who initially voted him into office.
"What's happening here today is not a democratic process, this is a dictatorship," Ford told the councilors.
"You are absolutely telling everybody that voted in the last municipal election that their vote does not count," he added. The mayor has vowed to fight the power shift. "Am I mad, of course I'm mad, because every one of you guys have sinned. What goes around comes around, friends. Remember what I am saying."
Mayor Ford's troubles began last May when media outlets claimed there was a video of the mayor smoking crack cocaine. The mayor initially denied the video's existence, but later admitted that he had smoked crack cocaine, as well as drunk excessively. His staffers then accused him of consorting with a suspected prostitute in his office, drinking and driving, and pressuring a female staffer to engage in oral sex. Ford is now the subject of a police investigation for his alleged bad behavior, but he cannot be removed from office unless he is convicted of a crime.