Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been at the center of an increasingly cartoonish controversy ever since rumors (which proved to be true) arose in May that there was a video being circulated showing him smoking crack cocaine. Ford’s ongoing gaffes have become so notorious that he’s been parodied on "SNL" and served as the punch line for airline advertisements, but the blunder-prone mayor upped the ante on Monday when he got into such a heated screaming match with members of the public that he inadvertently knocked over City Councillor Pam McConnell.
According to the Toronto Star, the incident took place about two hours into the meeting as the council debated partially stripping Ford of his budget and responsibilities. Some members of the public began to chant “Shame! Shame! Shame!” and Ford got up and charged at the public gallery, momentarily knocking the petite McConnell off her feet.
The incident left McConnell “pretty shaken up,” her executive assistant Glenn Gustafson told Slate. Gustafson added that during the fracas, the councillor nearly collided with a glass partition and metal handrail.
"It was a complete accident," Ford said, according to NBC News. "I sincerely apologize."
Exactly who is the city councilor who launched “a million-and-one ‘Wrecking Ball’ jokes on Twitter,” as Slate reporter Josh Voorhees put it? Here’s what we know about Pam McConnell:
- McConnell serves as city councillor for Ward 28, a position she has held since 2000.
- McConnell has criticized Ford. In an interview with the National Post two weeks ago, she said that comments Ford had recently made against Police Chief Bill Blair disturbed her. “He is doing something which is precluded by law,” she said. “He is interfering with an investigation.”
- Before entering politics, McConnell was a teacher and she has a longstanding history of advocating for children’s issues.
- McConnell has also led a movement to encourage more women to enter municipal politics, according to the Star.
- After being steamrolled by Ford, McConnell reportedly had this to say: "This is a seat of democracy, not a football field.”
View the video of Ford's collision with McConnell below.