After Rob Ford’s court win, expect a cold winter for the Toronto Spring
December 6, 2012
The Toronto Spring movement’s revolutionary plot to overthrow Mayor Rob Ford lost momentum Wednesday after an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled that Mr. Ford can stay in power until his alleged conflict of interest case is reviewed by an appeal court. So now the left has to regroup and set up camp some distance from city hall, like a lost Occupy movement, pending an appeal that won’t be heard until early next year.
It is conventional wisdom on the streets and among the commentariat that Mr. Ford will lose the appeal. On the ideological barricades, it is a given that Mr. Ford cannot overcome the legal wisdom in Justice Charles Hackland’s Nov. 26 finding that Mr. Ford is guilty of breaching the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA), and must be removed from office.
“the MCIA is clearly not aimed at a Ford situation. The act, he said in an interview, is there to “prevent politicians from awarding contracts to their buddies, or making secret profits off the backs of taxpayers. That’s what you’re really worried about.”
At The Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee wrote: “My guess: He loses his appeal.” In the National Post, Jonathan Goldsbie said “no knowledgeable expert” has offered a “legally sound” explanation of why Mr. Ford might win an appeal, aside from “anonymous lawyers.” That’s not true, but more later.
Mr. Ford’s lawyer, Alan Lenczner, outlined his grounds for appeal in court Wednesday. I wasn’t there, but based on an outline of his arguments, the facts in the original decision and comments from outside lawyers lead me to the conclusion that Toronto Spring will be out in the cold through the winter and beyond.
Let’s begin with the charge, which was based on the fact that on Feb. 7. 2012 Mayor Ford did in full council meeting speak and vote on a motion to rescind an earlier resolution that ordered him to repay $3,150 to contributors who donated to the local football charity bearing his name.
The judge ruled that by speaking and voting on the resolution, Mr. Ford violated the provincial MCIA. On this point alone the case looks shaky.
This content has been updated on August 23, 2014 at 12:19.