As many of you will have already heard, Mayor Rob Ford was found guilty today of violating the Municipal Conflict Of Interest Act and was ordered to be removed from office in 14 days. You can read the entirety of the judge’s decision here. This is certainly an unprecedented moment in Toronto’s history.
This decision has created an uncertain situation at City Hall. Next steps will depend on the success of the Mr. Ford’s appeal and, if successful, the length of the ensuing court process. If his appeal is not granted or ultimately unsuccessful, Council will have two options regarding a replacement; Council can call a by-election or make an appointment. Given that it is only half way through this term of Council, I will be supporting a by-election if the issue is resolved relatively soon. However, if the matter remains unresolved due to an appeals process for a considerable length of time, I will support an interim appointment until the 2014 election.
In an ideal situation, the Mayor of Toronto would provide the city with strong leadership and a clear vision on substantive municipal issues. Aside from a few notable exceptions, Mr. Ford’s term of office has sadly been a constant sideshow of litigation, gaffes, and a distracting focus on high school football. This circus, no matter who our mayor is, must come to an end. In the absence of constructive participation from Mr. Ford, I have been working with my colleagues on Council in a non-partisan manner over the past two years to focus on Toronto’s priorities including expanding transit, reducing gridlock, improving the planning process, heritage preservation, beautifying our neighbourhoods, jobs and economic development and making progress on many other issues that I know are important to you.
Our city should not be divided for political purposes between left and right or downtown and suburbs- together, we are all residents of Toronto.
Whether the mayor is granted an appeal, or a new leader for Toronto is chosen, I will continue to work with you and with members of Council on your behalf, to move our city forward. I hope that Council, regardless of who is mayor, will make decisions for our city based on evidence and the merits of arguments, rather than blind ideology and divisive politics. And ultimately, with respect to conflict of interest legislation, each member of Council must simply follow the rules.