Business-as-usual for embattled Toronto mayor
Published Tuesday, November 27, 2012 12:43PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 27, 2012 1:37PM EST
It appears to be business-as-usual for Rob Ford just one day after a judge found the embattled Toronto mayor guilty of conflict-of-interest violations, ordering his ouster from public office.
Ford, a devoted football fan, was on hand this morning to declare Tuesday to be Toronto Argonauts Day, as the city celebrated the team's Grey Cup victory with a parade in downtown Toronto. As the players made their way through thousands of cheering fans, Ford joined in further Grey Cup festivities at Nathan Phillips Square at City Hall, even hoisting the cup above his head.
And on Monday, just a few hours after Ontario Superior Court Judge Charles Hackland issued his stunning ruling, Ford held two chaotic and brief press conferences, before heading to a long-scheduled event to launch his annual toy drive.
Later in the day, as reports began to emerge of chaos at City Hall in the wake of the ruling, and speculation swirled over whether the mayor would be allowed to run again, Ford himself made his way to Etobicoke to attend the last 45 minutes of practice for his Don Bosco Eagles football team.
The high-school team has had an incredible season and faces off Tuesday night against a Newmarket team in the Metro Bowl championship, to be held at the Rogers Centre. The mayor will leave council early to attend the final -- a practice that has upset some councillors throughout the high-school football season, as Ford has frequently missed meetings in order to attend games and practices.
Toronto Councillor Doug Ford, the mayor's brother, has called on his supporters to come out in droves to watch the game Tuesday in a show of support for both Ford and his team.
Interestingly, Ford's current legal troubles are linked to his interactions with the young football team.
Judge Hackland found that Ford violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act last February when he failed to excuse himself on vote that would have freed him from having to repay $3,150 in improper donations to his private football charity, which were solicited on official city letterhead.
“In my opinion, the respondent’s actions were characterized by ignorance of the law and a lack of diligence in securing professional advice, amounting to willful blindness,” the judge wrote in his ruling.
Ford must vacate his City Council seat in 13 days. It remains unclear if he’ll be able to run in the byelection to find a replacement, or if he’ll have to wait until 2014 to seek re-election in a scheduled municipal vote.