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Open thread: Is this Rob Ford’s last day?

I’ll have more to say about the case later, but for now, Marc Weisblott has put together a selection of what various pundits have to say. Read it here.

My short-and-simple view? This joke of a mayor is dead in the water on the facts and the law. The relevant Act does not permit much room for discretion.

Ipso facto, it all comes down to whether a tough, senior judge is concerned about substituting his judgment for that of the people. If I had been able to tell him one thing, it would have been this:

“Democracy isn’t lost when a judgment removes a law-breaker from office. It’s preserved when officer-holders aren’t found to be above the law.”

Your views? We’re less than two hours away.



77 Responses to “Open thread: Is this Rob Ford’s last day?”

  1. smelter rat says:

    I predict he’ll still be Mayor tomorrow. Unless the judge has huge balls, which I doubt.

    • Liam says:

      Sadly, I agree. While, as Warren says, there is clearly enough law to THEORETICALLY turf him, it seems to include enough qualifiers for judge’s prerogative and ‘unsubstantial’ amounts of money that without a HUGE leap on the judge’s part, Ford will be mayor until at least the next election.

      Would be interesting (and heartening) to be proven wrong though.

  2. My uneducated guess is he gets a SOW ( Slap on Wrist ), like a first offence for stealing a chocolate bar, sigh…………..

  3. Oh, and he may well get another term. People see him as a tragic hero in a comedy, and as you taught me in one of your books, a HOAG.

    • Sean says:

      Exactly what I was thinking. I can’t stand the guy and obviously I’m happy that the rule of law has triumphed. However, the themes for his political comeback are easily contrived. “A bunch of elitist special interest people with expensive lawyers have overridden the choice of the people. All they could prove was that he used the wrong stationary when he solicited $3,000 for a charity. As a result, they have forced Toronto into a multimillion dollar election that no one wanted. What the hell is so bad about kids football anyways?” Anyone who dares challenge Ford in the ensuing election will have this stuff shoved in their face on a daily basis. When you are explaining, you are losing. The folks who think they’ve won are quoting clauses of the MCIA. Meanwhile Ford will be in the parade tommorrow, saying little or nothing and quite deliberately reminding everyone that much of the controversy stems from his innocent love of local sports. So – centre / left folks who are cracking the bubbly…. I’d say this is just the end of act two of a five act play.

  4. dacksworth says:

    If the news begins, “The Mayor of Toronto appeared in court today to face charges…” and there are multiple ways to end the sentence, dude has to go.

  5. Kevin says:

    He’s out.

  6. smelter rat says:

    Happily, I was wrong!

  7. Iris Mclean says:

    TO Star headline…
    Mayor Rob Ford removed from office

  8. Eric Weiss says:

    “Democracy isn’t lost when a judgment removes a law-breaker from office. It’s preserved when officer-holders aren’t found to be above the law.”

    Exactly

  9. Jim Hanna says:

    Done like dinner.

    Wow, in the space of three weeks we’ve lost the Mayors of Montreal, Toronto, and Laval…

    • Ottawa Civil Servant says:

      Yes, but Laval, Montreal and that Liberal in London all have criminal charges and corruption piled high. Ford raised $3000 for a children’s charity on stationary from his office. It’s like lumping a speeding infraction with armed robbbery.

      Justice Hackland also makes clear that “there were no transparency concerns here.”

  10. Chris says:

    Holy crap, they booted him!

    What a disastrous term as Mayor.

    The big question is will he run again, or disappear into private life?

  11. WestcoastJim says:

    Canada’s worst Mayor is HISTORY! Thankfully the Judge had the jam to do what was right.

  12. WestcoastJim says:

    Link to the Judgement:

    http://o.canada.com/2012/11/26/full-text-of-decision-in-the-rob-ford-conflict-of-interest-case/

    Of particular interest:

    60] For the reasons set out above, I have concluded that the respondent contravened s. 5 of the MCIA when he spoke and voted on a matter in which he had a pecuniary interest at the meeting of Toronto City Council on February 7, 2012, and that his actions were not done by reason of inadvertence or a good faith error in judgment. I am, therefore, required by s. 10(1)(a) of the MCIA to declare the respondent’s seat vacant. In view of the significant mitigating circumstances surrounding the respondent’s actions, as set out in paragraph 48 of these reasons, I decline to impose any further disqualification from holding office beyond the current term.
    [61] Accordingly, I declare the seat of the respondent, Robert Ford, on Toronto City Council, vacant.

  13. Peter says:

    He’s gone. And even if he appeals. He’s gone. Democracy has spoken. The law has been upheld. Justice done. Period. Full stop.
    Move on.
    Nothing here folks.
    Just an ugly footnote in Toronto City Hall history.

    • “Justice done”? I hope you’re being facetious. Yes, technically he was found in violation of conflict of interest guidelines. But even the judge says nothing criminal was done here.

      Don’t get me wrong – I think it was the right decision. But when Joe Fontana is still sitting as mayor of London when the RCMP are investigating him for fraud, this is Ford thing is peanuts.

      Justice is what we wish for when dealing with criminals. But I guess most of the people on this site think being a loudmouth oaf is criminal. If that’s the case then so is being an asshole, in which case 90% of the posters here should be up on criminal charges.

      Ford will be back, don’t get your panties in a bunch. This was an overreaching play by a leftist lawyer and is chimpanzee client to remove a democratically elected mayor on a technicality. Now the right, even if they weren’t fans of Ford, will be incensed.

      My two cents. I welcome the hate having a contrarian view on this site seems to incite, so bring it on.

      • Peter says:

        You wanna talk Fontana, wait till the evidence is all in. Otherwise, stop with the right wing rhetoric.Allow me to cite Ralph Goodale who was slandered wrongly by an unprecedented press release by the RCMP saying Goodale was under investigation during a Federal Election. There was even enough evidence to fill a thimble.
        Right wingers are all the same, if they lose an election, it’s not democracy. If they are found guilty, it’s not justice but a conspiracy.

        Get with the program. Ford took money from an entity that was doing business with the city and lobbied the city on regular basis and then to top it off “voted” in clear conflict of interest.
        He took a clear ride on the “gravy train” for the benefit of his personal interest.
        He also harmed his foundation by doing so…rather than protect it…as he should have.

        If Fontana is guilty? He too will face democratic justice.
        But the accused should be given the benefit of the doubt.

        By the way…the law is technical…it has to be…to be effective.
        Or would you rather the courts cherry pick or make it up as they go along.
        Man, where do you people come from?

        • You’re hilarious. Read what I wrote – I thought this was the correct judgement. No arguments.

          But, let’s be fair, this would never have been brought to court for anyone but Ford.

          He didn’t ride the “gravy train” for God’s sake. Talk about hyperbole.

          And I could say the same thing about left wingers and elections. If a right-winger wins, either a) the electorate was bamboozled and ignorant, b) it was “stolen” a la Bush v Gore, c) it’s just the electorate blowing off steam, they’ll come to their senses next election, d) vote splitting, most of the people voted “against” the right winger, although I can’t ever recall that being a ballot option in any election I’ve voted in.

          Seems when the left loses an election, they have no issues with using the courts to get their end result.

          • Peter says:

            Get your facts straight. Ford was a councillor, just before being elected, he was approached by a corporate entity. They were lobbying him for a potential deal on the table with the city.

            Ford didn’t even want to know the detail…the first thing that came out of his mouth was…as it it was an old hand at it…
            And I paraphrase “You want this, you want my support, then donate money to…my personal cause.”
            And the corporation did. And then Ford — voted for it. Then Ford voted again to have the whole thing go away. Then Ford was given and option…a get out of jail card…pay the money back…to the corporation and would be forgiven…he balked at it…he acted like some sort of victim.

            It’s not the amount of money, it’s not about who benefited from the money…it about the way this jerk does business…like a backwater Louisiana straw skimmer political hack…he’s a corrupt as they come.

            Left wing conspiracy…honestly.

            Now think about this…this is only one deal…that people know about…guarantee you…there were probably others over the years

      • Tim Sullivan says:

        There was no suggestion he was up on criminal charges. He wasn’t even up on regulatory, quasi-crimnal charges. This was a civil procedure. Note the request for costs at the end of the judgment.

        Is the criminal law the only measure for you of unlawful, inappropriate behaviour?

      • Roy says:

        i agree with you 100% sir. if it wasn’t for leftie chimpanzees and all their commie pinko noise, this would never have been an issue. it is a commonly accepted fact that anything bad a conservative politician does in office will be blown up 1,000,000,000x out of proportion if a Lieberal (get it?) politician somewhere in Canada is also in hot water.

        But like you, I am not worried. I think getting kicked out of office is part of Mr Ford’s master plan. He can accomplish so much more when the burden of the biased bureaucracy and it’s pinko howler monkey enforcers are lifted from his mammoth shoulders. Like the Dark Knight taking the fall for Harvey Dent’s death for the good of Gotham; our saintly Mr Ford is throwing this battle so that he can return even stronger. Just like Batman did IN Dark Knight Rises, when he came back to fight Bane and then Bane broke his back and then sent him to a prison and then… uh… maybe that’s not the best metaphor…

        My point is this: Fordman will return the next election and dominate even more… dominantly. Despite this set back. And all the others I won’t go into right now. Ford nation will expand in 2014 to include all of the insignificant chunk in the centre of Toronto, once known as “Toronto”; leaving nothing for the lefty apes, except a tiny little speck of a subsidized housing unit, wherever it is Olivia Chow and her Taliban Jack shrine are currently residing. And when we’re done, he will rid Toronto of every bike lane and streetcar NO MATTER WHAT THE COST.

        • Peter says:

          right, right, right…that makes all better…it was a civil procedure…attempting to right a wrong…with a high level judge present to pass judgement…lawyers on both sides…presenting arguments…people testified…for the record…evidence was submitted.

          But hey don’t let that get in the way…

          sheeeesshhh.

        • Tim Sullivan says:

          In this story, is it Paul Magder who plays the leftie, pinko commie?

  14. Mom says:

    Love your quote Warren, hope you are tweeting it far and wide.

  15. Brad says:

    he’s out, I expected more comments here

  16. Fred says:

    Wow, he’s toast. Incredible.

  17. seafarer says:

    And Ford is done like dinner.

    Good luck in TO.

    May the next one be better.

  18. Kelly says:

    Gone. Good riddance.

  19. Les Miller says:

    Gues the judge has big ones. Ford’s done. The question now is, does he have the chutzpah to run again? And would any more than two or three people in Toronto vote for him, if he did?

    I’ll miss the big guy. It was nice to se TO looking like the redneck refuge for a while.

  20. Susan MacIsaac says:

    He got exactly what he deserved. The judge has steel balls!

  21. Michael Reintjes says:

    Interesting stuff indeed…I’m really confused about the municipal act. We have a Mayor here in London who has about zero support, is facing criminal charges by the RCMP, and is seriously affecting the business of the city and council and yet believes it unthinkable to step aside even temporarily until his legal troubles are dealt with. Is there anything that can be done by the good villagers who have really had enough of this guy???….and yes that includes most of us that voted for him.

    • Bluegreenblogger says:

      Like Toronto, London will have to wait on due process. Let it be a lesson to all, whether London, or Toronto, you get what you voted for. Then you live woth the consequences of your collective decision, unless the twit egregiously breaks the law.

  22. Brad says:

    I wonder if Steve and Rob will still go fishing together

  23. steve says:

    I say lets have more of it and more often.
    http://thinkingaboot.blogspot.ca/2012/11/ford-example-to-live-by.html

    On the other hand when the law busts high school kids for pot, its time to change the law
    http://letfreedomrain.blogspot.ca/2012/11/the-real-reason-for-tough-on-crime-11.html

  24. Michael says:

    It is now up to Toronto City council to decide to either appoint a new mayor or have a by-election.

    If the judge did not bar him from holding office, can council appoint Ford as replacement mayor?

  25. Greg from Calgary says:

    Well contgrates TO. In two days you won the Grey Cup and shed Ford. Not happy for you about the first one but I am about the second.

    • Reality.Bites says:

      We should have made the bet that the winning city could keep its own mayor or take the losing city’s mayor as the spoils of victory.

  26. Liam says:

    Happy to be proven wrong from earlier. Question is now whether or not anyone can form a cogent response and run successfully against what will probably be a “poor Rob Ford” backlash, because (and Warren can no doubt correct me on this) if I’m not totally wrong, Ford will see some sort of bump from this, no?

    His unending “me against City Hall” thing still resonates with some, and this is some STRONG ammunition. If the left can’t field a single strong candidate, and instead has a scattershot field of 2-3 wannabes, don’t we have a repeat of 2010? We do need some clarity on what the restrictions on Ford running again are though, since that could all be moot.

    Interesting times and all that.

    • Greg from Calgary says:

      Liam I think that is exactly the slant Ford will take in this whether or not he runs. I can’t see the man ever admitting he was wrong.

  27. JamesHalifax says:

    Well…..I’m not from Toronto, but frankly, given the attrition rate today….I would appear that Canadian Mayors are an endangered Breed.

    Next one to go….Fontana.

    They keep piling up.

    • Ottawa Civil Servant says:

      Only the others were corrupt. This one raised a whopping $3000 for poor kids to play sports.

      • smelter rat says:

        You must be another “law and order” neocon. “Rules for thee, but not for me”, right?

      • JamesHalifax says:

        I wasn’t making comment on WHY they were given the boot…..just that they have been.

        I agree with you though….Rob Ford’s punting isn’t justified when compared to what the others’ have been doing, however, the law is the law.

        You can’t just break the law “a little bit” and expect to get away with it.

  28. frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

    Wonder what his next gig will be…..somehow I think it will involve food……..

  29. [...] You got that right. Rob Ford did the wrong thing. When you break the rules, there’s a price to pay and no one is above the law. By ensuring that everyone follows the same set of rules – even the elites – democracy is better served: Democracy isn’t lost when a judgment removes a law-breaker from office. It’s preserved when … [...]

  30. Lynn says:

    Of course he is appealing the decision. The Emperor has no clothes and the court agreed. On TV now some bureaucratic yahoo blaming the left for bringing down such a wonderful right leaning mayor. Never because of being an incompetent buffoon — I wish I could get my brain to live in an alternative reality but unfortunately I live with facts and truth…and it is often a bleak spot.

  31. bigcitylib says:

    So can he run in a by-election or not? Opinion seems split on what “end of term means”.

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      There is not much confusion except for those who want Ford to run for his own position. He has a 4 year term, and that expires at the same time all Mayors’ terms expire across Ontario. He can run then.

      The judge would not go through the trouble of removing him from office simply to allow him to run in his own by-election. Ford’s offense was not too great, but the law required his removal from office. So, out of office he goes. He can run again, as he could have had he taken the interest in knowing the rules, when the term is up. The mayor’s term, not HIS term.

      However, here’s a view. The election will be in November, 2014. The term for the city council and mayor expires December 31, 2014, a few weeks after the election, with new council taking over January 1, 2015. Perhaps Ford has to wait until after December 31, 2014, to run.

  32. Kelly Oh says:

    Not from Toronto. Just wondering if hoarding and anarchy have taken hold yet? It may affect travel plans.

  33. Skinny Dipper says:

    $3,100 is not much for a football team. That’s not a serious conflict of interest. What would have happened if the lobbyists had refused to give the $3,100? Rob Ford could have voted against their interests which could have involved millions of dollars. That’s the reason why there are conflict of interest rules and laws.

  34. steve says:

    Smitherman of whom I am not fan scored one with his comment.
    “Touchdown for democracy”

  35. Ottawa Civil Servant says:

    From the Judge:
    “I recognize that the circumstances of this case demonstrate that there was absolutely no issue of corruption or pecuniary gain [on Ford’s part],” Hackland writes. “[Ford’s] contraventions of the municipal Code of Conduct involved a modest amount of money which he endeavoured to raise for a legitimate charity (this football foundation), which is administered at arm’s length through the Community Foundation of Toronto.”

    Justice Hackland also makes clear that “there were no transparency concerns here.”

    Chretien could only wish for such an endorsement.

  36. Ted H says:

    Toronto can now take a step towards being the world class city it likes to call itself and a step away from being Dogpatch.

    • JamesHalifax says:

      Ted H….

      As long as the folks in Toronto don’t elect Olivia Chow.

      You are stepping away from the dogpatch by ditching ford, but may be stepping in the dog-shit, by electing Olivia. You think Mayor Miller was fiscally illiterate…wait til you get a load of Olivia’s ideas about economics.

      Sure glad I’m not living there and paying property tax.

      • Ted H says:

        A Mayor can be fiscally conservative or fiscally centrist or fiscally liberal, but if he or she wants to represent a major city that is often in the eye of the world then a boorish fool who is socially illiterate is not the person for the job.

      • Tim Sullivan says:

        Oh good grief, JamesHalifax is back, and calling Olivia Chow’s policies dog-shit. What does that make Olivia Chow? Nice effect that her last name is the same a dog breed.

        I’m no fan of hers or her mooching on the public for housing, but I’d not go so far as to call a public servant with her electoral success a dog.

  37. WDM says:

    Sounds like if Council needs to name a new Mayor they should pick someone who can work with all sides, and perhaps come into the job with a fresh set of eyes. *cough*JohnTory*cough*.

    • Poulter says:

      I would like to see Tory as the new mayor but I think that such an extreme sentence by the judge will result in Ford running again and receiving enough sympathy vote.

      • Tim Sullivan says:

        I would love to see John Tory run for Mayor. That guy can’t win anything in the form of an election, so go get ‘em, John. Leaves room for someone who might not win, win against Tory.

        Mayor Stick, anyone?

        All that to say, Tory has a lot of talents. Electoral politics is not one of them.

  38. kenn2 says:

    Over a matter of soliciting a donation for kids of less than $2k by using mayoral (is that a thing?) letterhead… I don’t think that warrants removal from office. Even the speaking on his own behalf on the meeting that discussed it… still seems harsh.

    Here’s why the judgement seems apt: he deserves booting for being too thick or stubborn to simply say at some point ‘I goofed, sorry about the meeting thing, here’s a cheque for $X’. This wasn’t an issue to stake your mandate on.

    He was surrounded by smart people during the election… where have they all gone?

  39. patrick says:

    Is there a picture of Ford where it appears “the lights are on”?
    As far as this goes, I think Ford got dumped for his “I’m to lazy and stupid to know the rules”, defence. He essentially told the court that he didn’t care what he did and would continue to behave in such a fashion.
    Good ridence.
    Now if we could get rid of the other Ommpa Loompa the city could get back to the future.

  40. Bluegreenblogger says:

    So now what? I can tell you that if there is a quick by-election, there is only 1 campaign that will be able to start rolling immediately, and that is the Ford campaign. They won last time on an enormous turnout of volunteers, and the best Databses and organisation in the city. “Ford Nation” was not just puffery, they exist. A quick by-election campaign will mean that Ford has the money immediately, and will have thousands of volunteers immediately, while everybody else is scratching their heads wondering if they should run, and if they could catch up.
    Councillors all know this also, so I will guess that they will want to appoint an interim, but unless they appoint someone from outside their ranks, it will pretty well have to be someone without mayoral ambitions. I guess…..
    If there is no by-election, then Ford will have spent TWO YEARS in permanent campaign mode. He will have plenty of time for it, even if he continues his coaching job. The guy could easily win again. I shudder to say it, but there will probably be a lot of candidates in 2014, and in a crowded field, Ford will be the favourite. Who knows though, maybe a strong, or even a credible right wing candidate will step forward, then of course it will be game over for Ford. In the meantime, I am going to head out to the pub this evening, and hoist a few celebratory pints anyway, and the future can bring what it brings.

    • scot says:

      It’s my understanding that he would not be allowed to run until the end of the present term which is 2014.

        • bluegreenblogger says:

          Well then my back-of-cocktail-napkin analysis is in the toilet. Time to get the by-election rolling! Haven’t worked on a municipal election for years. Appointing a mayor would be just dumb right now. That would play to every Fordnayshun paranoid fantasy about leftist-judicial conspiracies. A ready made narrative for Rob in 2014. I am off to hoist that pint, and several of it’s brothers now.

      • Tim Sullivan says:

        So the term ends at the end of December, 2014, and the election is in November, 2014.

  41. steve says:

    For those that think Ford can get re elected listen to a sound outside your echo chamber. People, joe six pack and jane tequila only hear the big noise, and that sound is a judge saying your guilty and your fired.

    • bluegreenblogger says:

      Dude, do you know what the actual turnout in a municipal election is? I do, I have worked my ass off in the past trying to raise it a point or two…. How about the turnout for a mayoral by-election, with nobody going out to vote for their friendly neghbourhood council candidate? I would be surprised if it were double digits. The winner will be the candidate with the most motivated support base. Think before you make disparging comments like that. This is definitely NOT the electoral politics that everybody is familiar with. Joe and Jane 6-pack will not bother to vote. Not unless they are ‘Mad as Hell, and ready to DO something about it. That is how the oaf got elected in the first place

  42. Kevin T. says:

    Who’s gonna steer the gravy train now?
    Poor gravy, all abandoned and just congealing now without any transit riders to kick out of their buses.

  43. Tim Sullivan says:

    Men of integrity do not need rules.

    I don’t know who originally said that, but for Rob Ford to have solicited funds from a position of power, for whatever cause, and to have reported back that the donors didn’t want the money back anyhow, and then to have ignored advice that he was in a conflict of interest, and to have admitted that he never bothered to know the rules in the first place, and having been on Council for several terms, having sworn he’d comply with the rules … he says a lot more about his own integrity than any judge pointing this out to him.

    Even his supporters must be wondering if he is a liability to their cause because he appears not to be too bright, certainly he lacks integrity, and that he is a bigger distraction than he is worth.

  44. kre8tv says:

    After reading comments on Twitter about this mess, it’s times like this that I really wish there was less of the left vs right bullshit and more thought given to good versus bad governance. This isn’t about a settling of partisan scores: this is about ensuring that people can continue to trust in the series of checks and balances that safeguard against abuses of power.

  45. smelter rat says:

    I feel badly for Marg Delahunty. Where to get material now?

  46. Tim says:

    Mandatory minimums apply to both the left and the right. I guess the Harper fans might be reconsidering their support for C-10 right now…

  47. Who cares? Rob Ford. Ka-ching for election donations. Ka-ching for getting volunteers to run his campaign. Ka-ching for becoming a lightning rod for all those (and there are many) who think for all his faults, Rob Ford was a needed antidote to some of the bureaucratic poision at City Hall.

    Why do I have to make everything left v. right? Let me boomerang and ask why you have to make everything into ignorance v. intelligence? Only idiots would vote for Rob Ford in your mind, right?

    It’s that holier-than-thou, we-are-soooooo-smart attitude that you exemplify that creates “Ford Nation”. For every action, an equal and opposite reaction.

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