So yeah, that happened.
Lots and lots of details to follow in the next few days. So many questions. An appeal? A by-election? If so, can Rob Ford run in it or does he have to wait until 2014? Does he even want to? He gets so much more joy from coaching football…
The thing I do want to say right now is, if nothing else, the court decision to oust Rob Ford as Mayor of Toronto – or ‘…to declare the respondent’s seat vacant’ — should put to rest the fact that all of this was just some leftist plot to deprive the voters of their democratic right to blah, blah, blah.
No doubt, there’s been an army of people not only unhappy that the man was elected in 2010 but how he went about his business. They saw it as an affront to the city, an affront to how municipal politics was supposed to work. Arguably, he was the most intensely scrutinized local politician since… Mel Lastman.
But surely if all this is nothing more than legal sturm und drang, cheap partisan political posturing, an attempted leftist coup d’etat, the courts would’ve tossed the case out on its ear, declared it frivolous, found the mayor innocent and demanded damages from his persecutors. That didn’t happen. In fact, the mayor’s defense was pilloried by the judge on almost every level.
From Judge Hackland’s ruling (Mayor Ford is the ‘respondent’ below):
For the Mayor, integrity in government should be a top priority.
The Mayor of Toronto has many responsibilities, pressures, and functions, but perhaps the greatest is providing leadership for integrity in government. The Mayor is the face of City government, both internally and externally. Maintaining the integrity of government is the Mayor’s most important job.
In view of the respondent’s leadership role in ensuring integrity in municipal government, it is difficult to accept an error in judgment defence based essentially on a stubborn sense of entitlement (concerning his football foundation) and a dismissive and confrontational attitude to the Integrity Commissioner and the Code of Conduct. In my opinion, the respondent’s actions were characterized by ignorance of the law and a lack of diligence in securing professional advice, amounting to wilful blindness. As such, I find his actions are incompatible with an error in judgment.
In summary, I find that the respondent has failed in his burden to show that his contraventions of the MCIA were the result of a good faith error in judgment.
To shrug this decision off as the work of some nefarious leftist cabal or unelected, activist judges (Councillor James Pasternak incredibly referred to it as ‘judicial adventurism’) is to drown yourself in a briny sea of denial and conspiratorial nonsense. A hijacking of democracy?! No. Ignoring the rule of law is the most fundamental hijacking of democracy.
Regardless of what happens next, and no one really knows what happens next, an appeal, an appointment, a by-election, the one thing to accept right now is that Rob Ford fucked up. He fucked up and now has to deal with the consequences. Looking for anyone else to blame is a cop out, an abrogation of responsibility.
— followed uply submitted by Cityslikr