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British Columbia ‘Do the right thing’ and step down, Vancouver’s Robertson tells Rob Ford

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson speaks after a Vancouver Art Gallery announcement on Oct. 21, 2013.

Darryl Dyck/The Globe and Mail

The mayor of Canada's third-largest city says Toronto Mayor Rob Ford should leave office for the good of his city and the country.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson spoke with reporters Wednesday at the end of an unrelated news conference, calling the drama surrounding Rob Ford's personal problems "an unanticipated meltdown" in government.

"The sooner that the issue is resolved and Mr. Ford steps out of the limelight, the better for Toronto and the better for Canadian cities," said Mr. Robertson, the chair of the Big City Mayors' caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

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"It has been a really difficult chapter and I think Mayor Ford needs to do the right thing. He is getting a lot of signals to that effect," said Mr. Robertson.

Taking a rare step into municipal politics in another province, he added it's up to the Ontario legislature to take any next steps to empower Toronto city council to take further measures against Mr. Ford.

"We're not seeing any action yet, [just] some signals that something may be coming," he said. "Hopefully it gets resolved soon by the Ontario legislature."

Asked about how such a situation would play out in Vancouver politics, Mr. Robertson replied, "it's such a random event. It's hard to imagine that happening here on the West Coast" – a remark that prompted laughter at the news conference.

Despite the situation, Mr. Robertson said his work with the rest of the mayors in Canada's big cities has gone rather well with a focus on infrastructure, homelessness and securing more federal funding for affordable housing and rental housing.

He said Toronto council has made some "good strides" on such issues as homelessness.

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