Reaction Roundup: what Rob Ford’s removal means for him—and for Toronto
This morning, a judge booted Rob Ford out of office, finding that the mayor had breached conflict of interest law in February by voting on whether he had to repay donations that lobbyists had made to his youth football foundation. (The penalty won’t take effect for 14 days.) Ford’s allies are reeling, the press is hyperventilating, “Rob Ford” is trending and everyone is wondering where Toronto goes from here. Below, a roundup of the reactions from Toronto’s pundits, politicians and the main players in the drama.
• Rob Ford maintained that the case was purely political, promised to appeal and said he’ll run again if his appeal is unsuccessful. “This comes down to left-wing politics,” he said. “I’m going to fight tooth and nail to hold on to my job.” (The judge’s decision states that Ford may seek re-election after “the current term,” which has led to some confusion over whether Ford would be allowed to run in a by-election.)
• Clayton Ruby, the high-profile lawyer who battled Ford in court, said the mayor shouldn’t blame anyone but himself: “Rob Ford did this to Rob Ford. It could so easily have been avoided. It could have been avoided if Rob Ford had used a bit of common sense and had played by the rules.”
• Paul Magder, the Toronto resident who launched the case, said he felt “sad” rather than triumphant, though he maintained “this had to be done.” Magder was asked if he is planning on running for mayor, to which he responded, “No. I’m not interested. I’m busy. I’ve got other things to do.”
• The most pressing question is: What happens next? Torontoist’s Hamutal Dotan and Steve Kupferman provide a good summary, complete with a handy infographic. Basically, Ford can ask a divisional court to put a stay on the removal order, pending the outcome of an appeal—but if the stay is not granted within two weeks, Ford’s seat will have to be vacated. Then Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday will become interim mayor, and council will have 60 days to decide whether to appoint a caretaker mayor (likely from among council’s ranks) to serve until December 2014, or hold a by-election, which will cost $7 million.
• Ford ally and councillor Giorgio Mammoliti addressed the uncertainty over the future in a remark aimed at the mayor’s opponents: “Congratulations, the city of Toronto is now up in turmoil. It will likely be that way for a couple of months, maybe a couple of years.”
• Meanwhile, left-leaner Kristyn Wong-Tam tweeted, “Justice Hackland’s ruling today doesn’t change much from my perspective. Mayor Ford has been absent from his duties for some time.”
• The Toronto Star’s Royson James, who managed to publish a column within minutes of the decision, argued that council must do all it can to avoid a leadership vacuum. For James, that means selecting an interim mayor from within Ford’s team, and finding a new mayor through a by-election.
• Rob Ford out as Toronto mayor over conflict of interest case [National Post]
• Rob Ford will fight mayoral removal ruling ‘tooth and nail’ [CBC]
• Rob Ford’s Out of Office: What Happens Next? [Torontoist]
• Rob Ford Court Ruling Boots Toronto Mayor From Office (LIVE UPDATES) [Huffington Post]
• All Torontonians will pay for Rob Ford’s ‘wilful blindness’: James [Toronto Star]