TORONTO May 30 Toronto Mayor Rob Ford lost two
more staff members on Thursday, two weeks after allegations
first surfaced that the leader of Canada's largest city was
caught smoking crack cocaine on camera, something he has
Security ushered policy advisor Brian Johnston out of city
hall around midday on Thursday, and he told reporters he had
resigned. Kia Nejatian, the mayor's executive assistant, also
left his job, the city confirmed in a statement sent to local
The 44-year-old mayor, who hails from a conservative
political family and was elected to lead Toronto in 2010, has
lost five staffers in seven days, including his chief of staff,
who was fired, and his press secretary.
U.S. media outlet Gawker and the Toronto Star both reported
on May 16 that their reporters had seen a cellphone video that
appears to show Ford using crack cocaine. Ford has repeatedly
denied the allegations.
Reuters cannot confirm the existence of the video or its
Separately, Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne told
reporters that the Canadian province's government was monitoring
the situation and could get involved, if appropriate.
"As a citizen and as premier of the province, I'm concerned
that things are not as they should be at city hall," she said.
"It's hard to imagine that it could be business as usual."
Toronto's "weak mayor" political system already limits the
executive's influence and puts more power in the hands of the
Ford has enjoyed a hard core of support from a segment of
Toronto voters, particularly in the suburbs, who lifted him to
power on a platform of controlling spending and cutting taxes,
along the lines of the populist Tea Party movement in the United
(Additional reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Jeffrey
Hodgson and Paul Simao)