Lawyers for Mayor Rob Ford have filed their factum to the Divisional Court, appealing the order to have him removed from office.
The appeal of Justice Charles Hackland’s decision to order Ford removed from office will be heard Jan. 7 by a panel of three judges.
Hackland ordered the seat of mayor to be declared vacant this past month, after finding Ford had violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act when he spoke and voted on a report from the city’s integrity commissioner, asking he be made to return $3,150 in monies donated by lobbyists to his charitable football foundation.
Ford will under the order be permitted to run immediately in a byelection, and will, according to a stay granted last week, be permitted to remain in office until the Divisional Court appeal is decided one way or the other.
Ford’s lawyer Alan Lenczner is, as he indicated in court last week, appealing the decision on four grounds: first, that because council had no power to force the mayor to repay the money, the original council resolution asking that he do so was ultra vires — which is to say outside council’s jurisdiction.
He will also argue that the conflict of interest act doesn’t cover matters of the code of conduct for city councillors; he argues the conflict of interest act should only apply to matters whereby a municipality is in a relationship “whereby it stands to gain or lose a financial advantage. His third argument is that the sum of $3,150 ought to be considered insignificant.
And fourth, he argues that Hackland ought to have found that Ford at the very least committed an error in judgement in voting on the matter.
In his conclusion, Lenczner argues that Justice Hackland, “from the outset, adopted the wrong approach. Rather than applying the ordinary meaning to plain language, and seeking to uphold the democratic decision of the voters who elected the Mayor, by construing the MCIA ‘strictly’ and by searching for ‘a reasonable interpretation which will avoid a penalty,’ Hackland RSJ did the opposite of what the law demands.”
The court will also hear from lawyer Clayton Ruby, on behalf of his client Paul Magder, arguing that the decision by Hackland ought to be upheld. Ruby must have his factum submitted to court by Dec. 24.