11.26.2012 03:52 PM

The people vs. Rob Ford

I can’t say a lot about the case, because Ford’s now said he plans to appeal, and because I’m familiar with some of what is going on in the background. And the whole thing is still theoretically before the courts.

What I can say is this: when you break the rules, there’s a price to pay. A lot of folks felt that Rob Ford had broken the rules, and the court apparently agreed.

No one is above the law, Rob Ford included. Rob Ford says he did this for the kids. He deserves credit for helping those kids. But he should’ve remembered he had an obligation to set a good example for those kids, too.

He shouldn’t have taken lobbyist money for his football team, just as he shouldn’t have used taxpayer resources for his football team. Like he did, over and over and over.

I think he’s a terrible mayor. But I’m also a bit amazed about all this. I’m amazed, because it could have all been so easily avoided. It could have been avoided if Rob Ford had played by the rules. He got cocky, and he brought this on himself.

Those who say that democracy should matter more than court decisions are right. Rob Ford, in this case, violated the rules of this democracy. We keep our democracy healthy by ensuring that no one is above the rules. Many Torontonians agree with that, and now the court does, too.

He says it’s a Left-wing conspiracy. And he says he’s going to appeal. But he will lose. The judgment is airtight.

So, as he waits two years for another shot at the mayoralty (because there will be no by-election), Rob Ford will have lots of time to identify the reason for his ouster.

He sees it in the bathroom mirror, every morning.


  1. Peter says:

    From what I understand, it will be very difficult for Ford to stay in the mayor’s chair and appeal this…he may appeal…but he must step down.

  2. Eric Weiss says:

    He brough it upon himself, and he still doesn’t get it.

    “Hubris is one of the great renewable resources.” ~ P. J. O’Rourke

  3. Mel B says:

    I DM’d you on twitter like you said to but you never answered my question. I asked whether your company was part of the team that got Ford booted out of office. Yes or no?

    Btw, my friend bet me 5 bucks you’ll delete my comment.

    • Warren says:

      Well, you lost the bet, pal. Your comment is up.

      What the Daisy Group does, and doesn’t do, is none of your damn business.

      • Mel B says:

        Why are you getting testy? I was going to congratulate you. Jeez.

        Btw, Mel is short for Melanie. Thanks, pal.

        • Warren says:

          Okay, I apologize for getting your gender wrong.

          And, again, I’m sorry but I just can’t get into what Daisy Group does and doesn’t do. We disclose when the law requires it. Otherwise, we keep quiet about who we are helping, unless the client tells us to do otherwise (pro bono or not).

      • Dante says:

        Hey Warren, you still haven’t found the stones to explain how involved you were in the Dalton McGuinty Seat Sale scandal when Dalton’s Campaign strategist was none other than the great Warren Kinsella at the time the campaign made the decision to cancel the gas plant contracts at a cost of over 200 million in order to gain critical votes in two critical ridings.

        Care to answer that one, coward? Or will you delete it?

        • Sean says:

          these two exchanges prove once and for all that warrenkinsella.com is the best political blog of all time.

        • bluegreenblogger says:

          I did laugh at your response, but I suspect that your recourse is limited if you allow a moderated comment to be published. no matter what allegations. Thanks for the laugh though.

  4. Michael S says:

    I’ll say this to people who are opposed to the ruling: Can you imagine the precedent if willful ignorance became an acceptable defense?

  5. Peter says:

    Ford’s brother: just caught a news clip…

    Seems Ford’s brother is beating the drums…to get the “Ford Nation” out into the streets…to gather at the ACC Center…according to Ford’s brother…the multitudes are up in arms over the court’s decision…billions of e-mails, trillions of phone calls, gazillions of tweets…and lest anybody forget this of course was all a left wing pinko conspiracy…

    Man, don’t people take responsibility for their actions anymore?

  6. Torgo says:

    I disagree with his removal, feeling it a bit too strong for his infraction. However, the judge had no choice on this, as it was mandated by the law (and this should be the real target of Ford’s backers instead of disputing his actual violation of the law and making up grand conspiracy theories). Not to mention the fact that he could have resolved this easily a number of times.

    On the other hand, like many folks on the left (even outside of Toronto and Ontario), I am enjoying a good slice of schadenfreude over this. I only wish either he had never been elected at all or Toronto voters had booted him out in the next election.

  7. smelter rat says:

    I like the fact that Ezra is popping blood vessels over this one.

  8. billg says:

    Is he so stubborn that he would not take advice on how to handle this properly or, is there no one in his circle to give him good advice?
    Thats my question. I think this started out as a Left/Right issue and its advanced to whether or not the man is capable of being the mayor of Canada’s largest city. This man was told 7 times by the Ethics commish how to make this all go away and he rufused. This aint Left/Right anymore. This is pure arrogance.

  9. Brad says:

    Sadly for Rob Ford it’s not arrogance, it’s stupidity.

  10. Greggo says:

    Warren – why no by-election (assuming Ford is gone after all)? Is it b/c of the cost, or other factors? Thanks!

    • Warren says:

      Council afraid to spend the dough.

      • bigcitylib says:

        So, if no by-election, does this mean Mammo has abandoned ship? In advance of an appointed Mayor Mammo? Or: what about an appointed Mayor Minnan-Wong ? Is Ford being officially underbused and everyone fighting for meat off the political corpse of the city?

      • bluegreenblogger says:

        What! That’s an excuse, not a reason. are they absolutely stupid? Going to appoint someone to the post vacated by a judicial order? What a gift for the Fords that would be. No, there needs to be a by-election, fill the slot with a legitimate mayor, incidentally replacing the ex-mayor in the public eye with a moderate centre right candidate of some (any!) sort. Let Fordnayshun wither on the vine.

      • ed_finnerty says:


        don’t want to create an incumbent to run against

        they will appoint Doug Holiday who will agree not to run for Mayor

        and is a pretty good choice

        • Tyrone says:

          Doug Holyday is going to have to apologize for his comments about downtown being no place to raise a family if he’s to be a credible candidate for mayor, even as a temporary and limited basis. You’d been astonished by the depth and breadth of anger from young parents downtown: a lot of people who aren’t politically engaged were deeply offended by those remarks, and they won’t let Holyday get away with it. Having a guy who is supposed to represent the whole city criticize the parenting of a huge segment of his constituents is pretty serious political mistake, and whether he runs again or not, the issue is going to come back and bite him.

          Don’t take my word for it – pick any parents of youngs kids you know who live downtown, and see if there’s any politician they can name. I’d bet dollars to donuts that Holyday is the guy they know, and loathe, for what he said.

  11. Kelly Oh says:

    Not from Toronto, so I can claim no insight whatsoever… but do you think that the lack of Rob Ford in the mayor’s office will make it more difficult for the anti-Ford voters to coalesce around a single alternative for the next election?

    • DJ says:

      Ford will run, but he can’t hold on to his coalition. There will be other right-leaning candidates. Ford has burnt so many bridges and has now been convicted of a conflict of interest.

  12. James Bow says:

    Whoever was bringing this case to court and why is immaterial. At the end of the day, the judge has to look at the law and make a decision based on the law. The law is clear, and Ford violated it. The judge had no choice but to apply the prescribed punishment.

    What you are seeing, though, are the perils of mandatory minimums tying the hands of judges from making sentences based on common sense. Perhaps a fine would have been more appropriate, but the law is the law. Maybe those who have backed mandatory minimums — many of whom seem stung by this decision — will take this as an opportunity to rethink their position (though I doubt it).

    It’s also worth pointing out that if this had happened to David Miller, Ford Nation would be braying for this. It’s sad to see the real issues clouded by partisanship. The facts remain that Ford broke the law and should be held to account for it, and the law as it stands ties the hands of judges, preventing them from applying more appropriate remedies.

  13. wannabeapiper says:

    Jakobek called. He wants Ford’s job and can start now.

  14. Cromwell says:

    I’m no lawyer (thanks be to God) but, in reading the judgment, it seems to me that there is at least some wiggle room for further litigation, and it’s not quite as iron-clad as you appear to believe. I guess we’ll see.

  15. Hammer Dom says:

    “he’s a terrible mayor” is the most important and relevant part of this post. He is not just terrible, in my humble opinion…and I live with HAMILTON’S Mayor and City Council…he was a fucking disaster. I wouldn’t hire him to spray plates with Pam at the penny-toss on the CNE Summer Conklin Midway.

  16. Bloody Bounder says:

    Dear Warren,

    I agree with you that Mayor Ford will be successful in petitioning a three-judge panel in the Ontario Divisional Court,
    to stay today’s judgement by Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles T. Hackland, until the appeal process is exhausted, thus allowing Mayor Ford to remain in office, but that he will lose the appeal, as the judgment is airtight. With that being
    said, could you please tell me how long you believe it will most likely take for the three-judge panel in the Ontario Divisional Court to render its verdict in Mayor Ford’s conflict of interest case?. If he is granted a stay and the appeal
    takes along time, the verdict of the appeal’s court may take 2 years, and he will thus be able to remain in office
    until the next Toronto municipal election in 2014, no?.

  17. Conservative Socialist says:

    The main unintended consequence of removing Rob Ford from office is that anybody with a political axe to grind will look for any rules that were broken to remove elected leaders from municipal office.

    I don’t live in Toronto, so I might not be totally cognizant of why he was removed. I believe that it was because he voted as a Councillor where there was tangential conflict of interest. Is it true that he was offered the option to correct this mistake by giving back the money to the donors, but he refused?

    The last point shows stubbornness on his part if that is the case. In a way, the very bombastic qualities that made Rob Ford popular also caused his downfall.

    The better outcome would have been to remove Rob Ford by simply voting him out. By removing him because of a technicality in the rules (whether this was self inflicted or not) disenfranchises those who voted for him. This might actually turn him into a martyr and he could ride a wave of sympathy the next time he’s allowed to run. Consider the case of the Scott Walker recall–many people felt that the process was just sour grapes by his political opponents who didn’t like the results of a previous election. So he was reelected thanks to even those who considered themselves to be Obama voters.

    • bza says:

      Its not that easy to remove a municipal politicans, it has to be very cut and dry. And in this case it was, he was clearly in a conflict of interest, so there was no other way this ruling could have went.

      This is a pretty rare event in politics since most politicans are well aware of the conflict of interest rules. In this case Ford ignored Councillor training to be aware of the conflict of interest rules, he ignored briefings from the civil service, he ignored the advice of the Integrity Commissioner many times, and no doubt advice from his own staff.

      Any politican with common sense would have listened to this professional non-partisan advice and would have excused themselves on this matter to avoid being in a conflict of interest.

      I’ve seen executives in much smaller organizations such as a community housing board be more familiar with how conflict of interest laws apply to business than Mr. Ford.

      This is all his own doing and thats why you rarely see this happen, everyone else has enough common sense to avoid these situations and know when to draw the line.

  18. Matt says:

    It’s interesting and a bit sad to see the public defence from the brothers Ford and their ever decreasing allies is of a vast left-wing conspiracy. This may have grown legs from that direction, but when it hit trial it became about weighing facts. The fact is he behaved in a manner (many times actually in a variety of situations, but I digress) unbecoming of an elected official, possessed a clear conflict and as prescribed by the law was removed from office. He had multiple opportunities to make this go away and chose to ignore them. He is indeed the author of his own demise and no one else. Astounding stuff…

  19. Dan says:

    I am not a Rob Ford fan. However, I do respect the will of the voters (even if in my opinion, they blatently got it wrong in the last election).
    The $3000 or so dollars to me was not that big of an issue. Yes, he shouldn’t have taken the money, and should have known better and it did violate the rules. However if it was just that infraction I likely would have been fine with him just paying the money back and apologizing for lapse in judgement and I think others would have as well.

    However, his arrogance in the matter -speaking before council on the issue, saying that he did nothing wrong is just offensive to me as a takpayer and Torotonian.

    As a non-lawyer, I think the judge showed great judgment. It was a clear violation so his hands to me seemed pretty tied to having to rule that he was guilty. But I think limiting it to two years (rather than seven) was a reasonable conclusion even if some of the papers and commentators are offended that a “non-elected judge removed an elected officer”

  20. steve says:

    Short Deco Labels, because if a Ford is actualy running the place…

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