Rob Ford continues to ignore city hall rules; still, his allies steadfastly support him
In the midst of a heated debate at city hall, important things are sometimes forgotten—like good manners, logic or apparently, whether or not you have a real or perceived conflict of interest in the matter at hand. Last week, city council voted to dismiss the integrity commissioner’s recommendation that Rob Ford repay the lobbyists who donated money to his family’s football foundation, and the Globe and Mail reports, Ford didn’t even bother to declare a conflict of interest before participating in the debate that preceded it.
From the Globe:
Amidst the frantic politicking of last week’s transit showdown, Mayor Rob Ford did not declare a conflict of interest last Tuesday night during a council debate over Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper’s recommendation that he repay almost $3,000 in lobbyists’ donations to his family’s football foundation, city officials have confirmed.
Mr. Ford addressed council during the debate, but it appears none of the other politicians present objected to his participation. In a motion by Councillor Paul Ainslie, council voted 22-12 to rescind Ms. Leiper’s recommendation, made originally in an August, 2010, report to council. Mr. Ford voted in favour.
Oops! Declaring a conflict of interest is a routine disclosure for city politicians, but Councillor David Shiner maintains the mayor didn’t do anything wrong because he didn’t personally benefit from the donations (which is more than a bit of a stretch). Of course, this isn’t the first time Ford has run afoul of the integrity commissioner, and if his often blatant lack of regard for the rules is any indication, it probably also won’t be his last.
It all makes us wonder if Ford is able to skirt the rules with little to no real consequences because the backlash often amounts to nothing more than dry procedural discussions—nary a public shellacking or a front-page expose. If, say, Ford slept with a university student on his office couch, things might be a little different.