Rob Ford to 'carry on' as Toronto mayor for now
Published Wednesday, December 5, 2012 6:24AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 5, 2012 2:07PM EST
A judge has approved Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s request to put the brakes on a ruling that would have required him to vacate office by Dec. 10.
The stay-of-removal order allows Ford to continue serving as mayor until he’s able to appeal an earlier verdict that would have removed him from City Hall as early as next week.
Lawyer Alan Lenczner represented Ford in Divisional Court on Wednesday. He argued that kicking Ford out of office before his appeal would thwart the democratic will of those who elected the mayor.
The judge waited 30 minutes before announcing the final decision, in which she determined that if the original ruling was not stayed,there would be significant uncertainty and expenses incurred.
“If the decision under appeal is stayed for a short interval until the appeal is heard, there is no basis to conclude that any harm will be caused to the public interest,” the verdict read.
A critical issue in Ford’s stay application became timing, specifically the short timeframe between the original conflict-of-interest verdict and Ford’s appeal on Jan. 7, 2013.
Court weighed whether it would be inappropriate and expensive to start searching for a new mayor, especially when the possibility of Ford being reinstated was still on the table.
Mayor Ford did not accompany his lawyer in court. Instead, he later spoke to reporters at City Hall, telling them that he “can’t wait” for his appeal to be heard in the new year.
“I’m going to carry on and do what the people elected me to do. They voted for me to be mayor,” Ford said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do and I’m going to keep doing it to the best of my ability.”
The mayor was ordered to vacate his office last week after a judge found him in violation of conflict-of-interest rules. The case explored Ford’s use of a city letterhead to solicit donations for a private football charity, as well as his later participation in a vote on the matter.
The Toronto resident who first launched the lawsuit consented to Ford’s stay request earlier this week.
In a statement issued by his lawyer Monday, Paul Magder said he agreed to the stay “to give the city of Toronto a measure of stability” while Ford’s appeal winds its way through the justice system.
Briefly speaking to reporters outside of Toronto City Hall, staunch Ford ally Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong called the judge’s stay approval “the right decision.”
“This is a personal decision for the mayor in terms of what he’s planning on doing, in terms of what his legal proceedings mean for him,” said Minnan-Wong.
Similarly, Coun. Adam Vaughan referred to the stay as “the judicious thing to do.”
“We have to wait to see what the courts decide on this,” he told CTV Toronto. “I think it would be unwise to plunge the city into any more turmoil or ambiguity than it already has been."
If Ford’s appeal in the conflict of interest case is unsuccessful, he has vowed to run in a possible city byelection that could be triggered by his ouster. Initially, there was debate over whether Ford would be allowed to run should one be held. The confusion cleared when Justice Hackland agreed to amend his ruling, clearing the way for a potential byelection run.
Meanwhile, Coun. Doug Ford continued to speak out in support of his brother Wednesday, but with a more conciliatory tone than he has used in recent weeks.
“Everyone matures in their position and I think Rob is maturing in the position of being mayor,” Doug conceded. “Yes, there’s things that we have to do a little differently. But what we aren’t going to do differently is when it comes down to spending taxpayers’ money.”
The decision to hold a byelection -- or to appoint an interim mayor -- is up to Toronto City Council.
The City of Toronto’s next general election is expected to take place in 2014.
With reports from CTV Toronto’s Natalie Johnson and John Musselman