With Mayor Rob Ford being found guilty of conflict of interest under the Municipal Conflict of Interest act, council is being pushed to make a decision that will affect the future of the city.
Ford was ousted after not only refusing to heed a directive from the city’s integrity commissioner to pay back $3,150 in donations to his football charity, which he solicited using City of Toronto letterhead, but in joining in the vote at city council to quash the directive.
Ontario Court Justice Charles Hackland delivered the guilty verdict on Monday, Nov. 26, leaving Ford with 14 days remaining in office.
Now, council will have to decide whether to hold a by-election or appoint an interim mayor for the duration of the current term.
“Council, together, has to have a conversation about what we want to do,” said St. Paul’s councillor Josh Matlow.
Matlow added he supports a by-election, but only if one could be held in short order.
“The closer we get to the 2014 election date, the more arguments there are to have a temporary appointment (to hold the mayor’s seat.)”
The councillor added that council needs to retain focus on Toronto’s priorities, such as fighting gridlock and building up transit and other infrastructure.
He noted Ford’s shortened term was less effective than it might have been because of the polarizing nature of the Mayor’s politics.
“It could have been more productive if we’d had a leader who would work more cooperatively with council,” he said. “It would certainly have been better with a leader who didn’t have a staunchly ideological perspective.”
Matlow said the trial that saw Ford ousted from the mayoralty serves as a lesson for all politicians.
“Read the handbook and know the rules,” he said.
Eglinton-Lawrence councillor and TTC chair Karen Stintz, who sparred visibly with Ford over transit issues, was not available for comment on the court’s decision, but Tweeted “Justice Hackland has rendered his decision. Mayor Ford is entitled to his appeal. We should calmly allow the process to run its course.”
Toronto Centre-Rosedale councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, meanwhile, Tweeted “Mr. Ford is entitled to his appeal & judicial process. I have one question for him. Despite appearances, do you really want the job?”