An order removing Mayor Rob Ford from office made this Monday “a sad day” for Toronto, one of Ford’s frequent critics said after a judge declared the mayor’s seat “vacant” in two weeks.
“It is shocking, it is disturbing, it is disappointing,” Scarborough Centre Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker said of Mr. Justice Charles Hackman’s ruling that Ford broke the law as mayor when he collected $3,150 for his football charity.
The mayor had refused advice from the city’s integrity commissioner to return the money before a complaint led to this week’s decision.
“I don’t think anyone on council really knows what to do next,” said De Baeremaeker, who often clashed with Ford and his councillor loyalists over the last two years.
Ford was elected in 2010 with a strong mandate but the ruling is “a black eye for the city” because other council members are working hard, and Ford “made us all look like a bunch of idiots,” De Baeremaeker said.
“The whole world is either laughing or groaning at the City of Toronto today.”
De Baeremaeker said he gives the mayor benefit of the doubt that the breach of rules was an error in judgement, but said Ford was a veteran councillor before he was mayor and should know better.
Hackland suspended his ruling for 14 days and Ford said he will appeal.
The mayor may be able to hang onto the job until appeals are decided, but he is still facing the results of a libel trial and an investigation into his campaign finances, De Baeremaeker said.
“My guess is he won’t be able to focus on running this city, like the rest of us are.”
The councillor said he was so far undecided on whether there should be a byelection to fill a vacant mayor’s chair or if Doug Holyday, the city’s deputy mayor, should be appointed.
“If there is a byelection, the mayor’s inappropriate behaviour will have cost the taxpayers $7 million.”