So apparently reaction to the verdict to Mayor Ford’s conflict of interest case isn’t as cut and dry as I thought it should be. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, Tony Baretta kind of thing.
Perhaps not at all surprisingly, the mayor has stated he’s going to appeal the decision. Fair dinkum, I think is what our Australian friends might say in response. Good on ya, mate. Have at it. It’s a free country. Exercise your legal rights.
But no, the mayor couldn’t just stop there. A simple, I don’t agree with Judge Hackland’s decision. I’m going to appeal it. Next question.
Nope. Can’t… not… wave… the… flag… of… division.
“This comes down to left-wing politics,” the mayor said of the decision. “The left wing wants me out of here and they’ll doing anything in their power to.”
That’s right, kids. If ever you’re found yourself having broken a law or a rule, never, ever forget to deflect responsibility for it at the first opportunity you get. Adults do it all the time. It’s how the system works.
But if you want to really tap into the swirling, surly mind of an indignant, unrepentant member of Ford Nation, check out Marni Soupcoff’s disingenuous screed over at the National Post.
Take a little segment of the judge’s decision that dealt favourably with the mayor’s situation — “I recognize that the circumstances of this case demonstrate that there was absolutely no issue of corruption or pecuniary gain…” – mix in a little false equivalency – The Mayor of London, Ontario has been charged with fraud and he’s still in office!! – use a pinch of misunderstanding about the actual law, attributing it to some nameless immigrant bystander — “This makes no sense. What laws did Ford break?” – and a healthy dollop of completely ignoring the damning evidence presented against the mayor – et voila!
An innocent man, trying to do a good deed, mauled by an indifferent and unjust legal system! Democracy denied! An insult to voters whose decisions cannot, will not, shall not be overturned by the preening, intrusive rule of law.
“And when it comes down to it,” Ms. Soupcoff writes, “what the statute [Municipal Conflict of Interest Act] says is terribly anti-democratic… that despite receiving the votes of 380,201 people, a mayor can be tossed on the complaint of one citizen and the conclusion of one judge about a minor and harmless contravention of overly broad conduct rules.”
Minor and harmless the mayor’s contraventions may have been and the conduct rules might be overly broad. But in Judge Hackland’s decision, contravene them the mayor did, and the act left the judge no option but to remove the mayor from office. It has nothing to do with defying democracy or ignoring the voters’ wishes. It has everything to do with upholding the law.
“It seems, shall we say,” Soupcoff scribbles, building to her crescendo of outrage, “incommensurate that Toronto’s mayor should meanwhile be given the boot for insisting on speaking and voting on whether he should have to pay out a few thousand dollars for being overzealous in his charity work.”
… for being overzealous in his charity work.
Overzealous in his charity work?! No, Marni Soupcoff. Despite numerous warnings from the Integrity Commissioner not to use his official letterhead to solicit donations for his football foundation, then Councillor Rob Ford ignored her. When ordered to pay back the donations from his own pocket if need be, he refused. As mayor, he chose to speak and vote on the item brought before council to overturn that order.
In Judge Hackland’s opinion:
It would appear that the respondent’s actions at the February 7, 2012 Council Meeting, in speaking and voting on resolutions concerning the Integrity Commissioner’s factual findings in her report and her recommended sanction, was one last protest against the Integrity Commissioner’s position that he profoundly disagreed with.
Mayor Ford stamped his feet, ignored the will of council, rolled the dice to reverse the sanction and was found to have contravened the conflict of interest act in the process.
There’s no overturning of democracy. The voters’ will has not been subverted. One judge ruled that one man violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. That one man now has to deal with the fallout from that. Claiming anything otherwise is simply fanning the flames of petty divisiveness.
— treyly submitted by Cityslikr