Rob Ford didn’t have the authority to cancel Transit City (lawyers say so)

Rob Ford didn’t have the authority to cancel Transit City (lawyers say so)

(Image: Christopher Drost) 

Apparently, it takes more than a mayoral “because I said so” for the city to kill an extensive public transit plan. Rob Ford may have unilaterally declared former Mayor David Miller’s Transit City dead on his first day in office, but Joe Mihevc recently obtained a legal opinion—which was released this morning (Torontoist has the full text)—that contends the mayor had no legal authority to cancel the project in favour of his own plan.

The Toronto Star has the details:

[The legal opinion] says the mayor had no business entering into a non-binding memorandum of understanding with the province that authorized a new transit plan, including a Sheppard subway and a longer tunnel on the Eglinton light rail line. It says he further overstepped his powers when he told TTC chief general manager Gary Webster to stop work on Transit City.

Since the mayor had no legal authority to enter into the memorandum of understanding, it shouldn’t be acted upon until council approves it, say the lawyers. Until that happens, it is only an agreement in principle.

Mihevc is calling on the mayor and city manager to bring the transit issue before council immediately.

So you can that to the long list of transit problems already afflicting the mayor: waning support among his city hall allies, a vision for the Eglinton Crosstown that is prohibitively expensive, and no private dollars to build the Sheppard subway extension (not to mention inaccurate Facebook posts). And those are only Ford’s transit problems.

Of course, the irony here, as transit blogger Steve Munro points out, is that if Ford had the foresight to have council debate scrapping Transit City earlier in his term—back when council basically did whatever he said—he probably could have killed off his predecessor’s plan fair and square.

Mayor Rob Ford had no authority to cancel Transit City, lawyers say [Toronto Star]
Toronto’s Rob Ford “overstepped his authority” in cancelling Transit City: legal opinion [National Post]
Councillor says Ford overstepped authority cancelling transit plan [CBC]
• Ford had no authority to cancel Transit City [Steve Munro]
Legal Opinion Contends Rob Ford Did Not Have the Authority to Cancel Transit City [Torontoist]