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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to appear on NBC's 'Today' show

Nov. 18, 2013 at 10:04 PM   |   Comments

TORONTO, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was stripped of many of his powers Monday during a raucous City Council meeting where he knocked down a councilor.

The council voted to cut his office budget by 60 percent and allow mayoral staff to join the deputy mayor. Fox News reported Ford effectively has no legislative power as he would no longer head the executive committee. He can keep his title, however, and the ability to represent Toronto at official functions.

Ford, who has admitted to binge drinking and smoking crack cocaine, interrupted the special council meeting at one point by charging into the crowd, knocking Councilor Pam McConnell off her feet and giving her a fat lip, NBC News reported.

Ford later apologized.

"It was a complete accident," he said. "I sincerely apologize."

He said he had rushed into the crowd because his brother appeared to be in an altercation.

Ford, when he arrived at City Hall, said he was facing a "coup d'etat."

"This is a modern-day overthrow of an elected official. This is wrong," he told reporters. "This is what you see in Third World nations. ... This is a modern-day coup d'etat."

In a speech before the vote, he compared the City Council to Saddam Hussein.

"You guys have just attacked Kuwait," Ford said. "This is going to be outright war in the next election."

Ford's brother, Doug Ford Jr., a Toronto City Council member, called the session a "kangaroo court" and said his colleagues should call an election.

The council, which previously stripped Ford of his emergency powers, has called for him to take a leave of absence.

Ford was scheduled to be interviewed Tuesday by Matt Lauer on NBC's "Today" show and by Bill Weir on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," Variety reported.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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