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Ford's Political Fate Now Rests With Appeal Panel

Rob Ford's fate as mayor of Toronto rests in the hands of three judges after a day of largely technical arguments

Rob Ford's fate as mayor of Toronto rests in the hands of three judges after a day of largely technical arguments for and against a court ruling that he should be removed from office for conflict of interest.

he mayor's lawyer told the Divisional Court panel on Monday that Ford was an open and honest politician ordered to forfeit his job by a judge who had misinterpreted the law.

Ford's opponents countered the mayor had deliberately floutedconflict-of-interest rules, and the judge's ruling requires deference as long as it was reasonable.

In calling for Divisional Court to overturn Ford's ouster, lawyer Alan Lenczner said there never was any case against the mayor. Ford, Lenczner said, gained no financial benefit from fundraising for his private football foundation, and was upfront when he spoke during a council vote that he was only trying to help disadvantaged youth.

He was perfectly plain and honest,'' Lenczner told a jammed courtroom.This is the hallmark of an honest man.''

In November, Ontario Superior Justice Charles Hackland ordered Ford removed as mayor for taking part in the vote that he repay $3,150 raised for the foundation. The ruling was put on hold pending Ford's appeal.Lenczner said Ford's decision to participate was based on his belief that he had done nothing wrong.

``It's not the amount of money that is motivating him to speak and to vote, it's the principle of the thing,'' the lawyer told thethree-judge appeal panel.

In his ruling, Hackland said Ford had shown ``wilful blindness'' to conflict rules by voting on a matter in which he had a financial interest.

But Lenczner said the judge had failed to give Ford the benefit of a ``saving provision'' in the conflict act: that his conduct was an error of judgment. Hackland ruled that Ford received no money personally and found no issue of corruption, Lenczner said.

Lawyers for resident Paul Magder, who brought the initial action against Ford, argued Hackland's ruling should stand.

One of them, Clayton Ruby, rejected the notion Ford had made an ``honest, good-faith error in judgment.''

Ford, along with his councillor brother, showed little emotion as they watched the proceedings before Then and Justices Lynne Leitch and Katherine Swinton.

For his part, Lenczner said the mayor could not have been expected to understand the legal intricacies at play.

``Mr. Ford is a high school graduate,'' the lawyer told court.

In a series of technical arguments, Lenczner told the panel that council had no authority in the first place to order Ford to repay the money.

By law, he said, council's only option was to issue a reprimand or dock his pay.As a result, ordering the mayor to pay back the money was out of order, the lawyer said.

Ruby's colleague, Nader Hasan, rejected that argument, saying council had broader powers allowing it to order repayment. Even if council did not have the power, Hasan told court, Ford was still clearly wrong to take part in the vote.

If Ford loses his appeal, he has said he would run in a byelection if council chooses to call one. Council could opt to appoint someone mayor instead of a byelection.

(The Canadian Press)

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  1. Walter posted on 01/07/2013 10:58 PM
    Its strange that if you ask 100 people if the size of re-payment had any influence on Mr. Fords voting - they would say no. Yet somehow, according to the legal community, this does not invoke the loophole in the law that says that the Conflict of Interest Act does not apply if the financial amount is small.

    The other legal point seems to be that if the vote was illegal, then Fords response to does not matter. The analogy would be if you approach a Red traffic light and the Police wave you to drive through, can the Police then charge you for running a red light.
    1. paul posted on 01/08/2013 12:28 PM
      @Walter Oh, I'll bet the usual suspects are all salivating in anticipation of the outcome they would love. The usual suspects being Adam Vaughan, Pam McConnel, Shelley Carroll, Janet Davis, Gord Perks and more of that mottley crew. Throw the ever wonderful Olivia Chow in the mix and WOW, we've got ourselves a clown posse. I only hope that the Appeal Court does what they should and throw this ridiculous law suit out the window and then ask for an investigation into all the morons who instigated it, Paul Magder, that litlle nothing weasel Adam Freudenthaler and of course the ever honorable Clayton Ruby. I'm sure there are a lot more behinfd it then just these snivelling little creeps. Rob Ford won the election fair and square and all of his detractors just wouldn't accept it. They should all be ashamed.
  2. proton posted on 01/09/2013 11:21 AM
    best outcome of all this would be a massive backlash at the next election against those councillors that are against ford because of his attempts at fostering fiscal responsibility.

    dream team - a majority of fiscally responsible councillors with an intelligent vision for Toronto, willing to act (as opposed to continuing the inactive approach of study upon study upon study), and whom will have the guts to reduce 2 councillors per federal/provincial riding to 1.
    1. Art posted on 01/09/2013 11:53 AM
      @proton And they could start the reducing with the councillors that Paul mentioned. That would be an excellent beginning. I hope there is a massive backlash and nothing would make me happier (and many others) than to see these councillors lose their seats. Where would they go then? I don't think City wants Adam Vaughan back.
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