By Russell Goldman
A heated exchange on the floor of the Toronto City Council to strip disgraced Mayor Rob Ford of his remaining powers ended with the hulking politician knocking over a councilwoman.
As the council debated a motion to take away Ford’s staff, budget and authority, Ford, who last week admitted to smoking crack, paced the chamber yelling at constituents seated in a public gallery, some of them chanting “shame” at the mayor.
“It was a complete accident,” Ford said later of barreling into Councilor Pat McConnell. “I sincerely apologize.”
Ford helped McConnell back to her feet, but according to one councilor’s account, the woman split her lip in the altercation.
Ford, 44, is at the center of a growing controversy questioning his leadership after police revealed last week they had obtained a videotape of the mayor smoking crack cocaine. He later confessed to using the drug.
Most of Ford’s staff has defected in recent days resulting in the mayor hosting a series of impromptu press conferences in which his off-the-cuff remarks only fueled his detractors’ claims that he was unfit to remain in office.
“It’s a coup d’etat, that’s all this is,” Ford said as he entered City Hall.