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Rob Ford allowed to change votes on Mandela, Olympic motions

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was allowed to change his No vote on motions to name a street for Nelson Mandela and congratulate Canada’s Olympic athletes.

Aaron Harris/Reuters

Toronto City Council has given Mayor Rob Ford a do-over, allowing him to change two controversial votes that shocked council and made international headlines.

Mr. Ford, known for his contrarian voting habits, was the lone dissenting vote on two items Wednesday afternoon: a move to rename a city street to honour Nelson Mandela and another to congratulate Olympic athletes.

Asked about the votes by media, his staff consulted the mayor and said he voted in error.

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Council on Wednesday refused to let Mr. Ford change his vote, but Thursday morning they agreed to reopen the votes.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly asked council to take the unusual step. Both motions passed unanimously.

"I just want to thank all the councillors for their support," Mr. Ford said afterward.

The move was not without controversy. Councillor Janet Davis asked city staff for clearer guidelines on how long after a vote can it be reopened.

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam stood to ask if she could change her vote to cancel the vehicle registration tax, one of the first actions of the new council.

Councillor James Pasternak, who put forward the motion to honour Mr. Mandela, said there was no "political will" to reopen the vote on Wednesday when Mr. Ford asked to change his vote about 30 minutes after the fact, but that position was reconsidered Thursday morning.

Mr. Ford and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, accused council of having a double standard by not allowing the mayor to change his vote in the first place.

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Mr. Pasternak said council had acted graciously by reopening the matter Thursday.

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Toronto City Hall bureau chief

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