US & Canada

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he has given up alcohol

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Media captionThe BBC's David Willis: "At one point the mayor charged towards the public gallery"

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he has given up alcohol after a "come to Jesus moment", as city councillors all but stripped him of power.

Mr Ford, 44, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that he was "finished" with drink.

Earlier, he vowed "outright war" on city councillors who had just voted to further limit his authority.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the allegations against Mr Ford were "troubling".

The mayor of Canada's largest city has been under pressure to resign since he admitted earlier this month having once smoked crack cocaine while in "a drunken stupor".

'Stupid, immature behaviour'

He is also facing claims that he made lewd propositions to a female staff member, used racially abusive language, threatened staff and consorted with an alleged prostitute.

In an interview with CBC on Monday night, Mr Ford said he had not consumed alcohol for three weeks and planned never to drink again.

"I've had a come-to-Jesus moment, if you want to call it that," he said.

"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."

He admitted having bought marijuana since becoming mayor, though denied having driven while drunk.

However, last week he told reporters: "I might have had some drinks and driven - that's absolutely wrong."

Despite the scandal, the mayor does not seem inclined to shun the spotlight.

On Monday evening, Mr Ford and his older brother Doug Ford, a city councillor, launched their own current events television programme.

The show, Ford Nation, was named after the bloc of conservative, suburban voters who elected the mayor in 2010.

But on Tuesday the television network announced it would cancel the hour-long programme after airing just one episode.

"It's not viable for us to put that kind of production together," vice president of Sun News Network Kory Teneycke told the media, adding the show drew 155,000 viewers.

'I'm mad'

Hours earlier, the council approved a special motion that reduced Mr Ford's office budget by 60%, reduced his staff from 19 to about eight and transferred many of his powers to the deputy mayor.

Last week the council voted to prevent him from being able to dismiss the deputy mayor and took away his emergency powers.

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Media captionToronto Mayor Rob Ford: In his own words

"You guys have just attacked Kuwait," Mayor Ford told the council chamber before Monday's vote. "This is going to be outright war in the next election.

"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."

In the heated council meeting, the burly mayor ran through the gallery, accidentally knocking over city councillor Pam McConnell, before catching her.

A shaken Ms McConnell, who is in her 60s, said afterwards: "This is the seat of democracy, it is not a football field. I just wasn't ready."

The councillors do not have the power to remove Mr Ford from office unless he has a criminal conviction. He has insisted he will run for re-election in October 2014.

The Canadian prime minister's office said in a statement on Monday: "Our government does not condone illegal drug use, especially by elected officials while in office."

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