Monday 12 March 2012

Mayor Ford On Trial. Could Be Removed From Office

Rob Ford is to stand trial for conflict of interest for speaking on and voting on a motion in council that would personally benefit him financially. If the judge is convinced that Ford wilfully broke the rules, then Ford will be removed from office, and the judge would then also decide if he will also be banned from running for public office again (and for how long).

It will be very difficult for Ford to claim that he made a mistake, that he wasn't aware of the rule, because he has been in public office as a councillor for many years, AND he has previously recused himself when he knew there was a conflict of interest.

Clayton Ruby is the lawyer arguing the case against Ford in Superior Court on March 23, 2012.

For more details, see the article in The Toronto Star: Could Mayor Rob Ford Be Removed From Office Over A Conflict Of Interest?
and in the National Post article,
and at the CBC
and a lot of details here at OpenFile
See also:
The Grid: The Case To Remove The Mayor: Another Instance of Anti-Ford Bias?
I am neither a judge nor a lawyer, but the basic, so-far undisputed facts of this case suggest that the mayor had an obvious financial interest, and that he debated and voted on the matter anyway—voting to excuse himself from $3,150 in fines.

It would appear that the only defence that could save Rob Ford from being removed as mayor is that he, after 10 years as a councillor and one year as mayor, did not recognize that he had a financial interest in a vote to save himself $3,150 in penalties. And further, that none of the people he pays to advise him, as the head of Canada’s largest municipality and the CEO of the $9 billion corporation of the city of Toronto, could recognize this interest either.

So the pro-Ford line on this—the balancing piece of information that could save his job as mayor—is that we elected a man too stupid to understand the most obvious element of one of our primary anti-corruption laws and, further, that he staffs his office with people who cannot understand them either.

All Fired Up In the Big Smoke: His Own Worst Enemy
He knowingly flouted the rules. He ignored the council sanctions brought down on him for flouting the rules. He then participated and voted to overturn those sanctions. It is the last thing that has got him into his current troubles. It’s always the last thing that gets you into trouble.

Like I said, I won’t give his rabid supporters the satisfaction of hoping this is a firing offense. But please, stop defending the mayor as some sort of lightning rod for scurrilous attacks, a well-intentioned politician never putting his own career first, and only ever looking out for the little guy. Personal gain isn’t always about money directly into your pocket. For Rob Ford, it was never about the money but about the image. An image he burnished while skirting rules, thumbing his nose at colleagues and the Integrity Commissioner and, once elected mayor, actively participating in avoiding facing the consequences of his actions.

Nobody’s demanding perfection in our politicians but at some point of time there has to be accountability. That time came yesterday for Mayor Rob Ford.

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