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Toronto City Council In Chaos, As It Considers Curbing Mayor's Power

(This post was last updated at 4 p.m. ET.)

The Toronto City Council is considering a motion on Monday that strips embattled Mayor Rob Ford of his powers and his budget.

As the council discussed the legality of the motion, the body erupted into chaos. At one point, Ford and his brother Doug Ford, a council member, started screaming at the public.

Others began chanting, "Shame, shame, shame!" Ford began running across the chamber and knocked over a colleague, who was later said to have a swollen lip.

Doug Ford called the proceedings a "kangaroo court." He said the process of stripping Ford of power tramples the democratic rights of the people of Toronto.

The Toronto Star reports the motion before the council is "unprecedented" and could result in Ford remaining mayor in name only.

All of this comes, of course, after Ford admitted to smoking crack and then faced an unrelenting set of allegations, including that he drove drunk, sexually harassed one of his staff members and that he was seen doing lines of cocaine at a bar. As Saturday Night Live made clear in its sketch about the mayor, Ford has not helped his own cause, holding one outrageous news conference after another.

As the Star reports, today's proceedings may not amount to much, because the mayor plans to challenge any action the council takes:

"Even if council votes overwhelmingly to curb Ford's power, he could soon move for a stay of the decision pending the outcome of a court challenge, lawyer George Rust-Eye said Monday on CBC radio.

" 'I have to get together with the mayor, I have to analyze, very carefully with him, the impact of whatever council decides today on his office, and whether or not it does hamstring him from doing what he's required by statute to do.'

"If it does, the next step would be to consider what court action could be taken to overturn. The actual litigation could take months, and there is always the possibility of an appeal, he said."

As Mark reported last week, the city council has already stripped the mayor of his emergency powers and his ability to fire and hire.

Ford, by the way, has remained defiant. Over the weekend, he told Fox News he was not quitting and that one day he hopes to be prime minister.

The council sessions have been proven fiery, so if you're in the mood for some Canadian drama, CTV News will webcast the session. We'll update this post once the council makes its decision.

Update at 4:09 p.m. ET. An Explainer:

The big issue here is that the city council would more than happily impeach Ford. But under the law, Ford can't be removed. Not only that, but the council really has no legal authority to curb his "statutory obligations."

The council has worked with its lawyers and figured that by reducing most of the mayor's duties and slashing his staff and budget to 40 percent of what they used to be, they still comply with the law while punishing Ford.

By all accounts, this action by the council is unprecedented.

Update at 3:21 p.m. ET. Ford Knocked Another Councillor Over:

While he running from one side of the chamber to the other, Mayor Rob Ford knocked over a fellow council member. Via the CBC, here's video:

Update at 3:01 p.m. ET. Council Meeting Erupts Into Chaos:

A few minutes ago, as the council was debating the legality of the motion before them, Mayor Ford and his brother began screaming at people in the public gallery.

The speaker called for a 10 minute recess and the chamber erupted into chaos, with council members chanting "Shame, shame, shame!"

Here's a snippet of audio:

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