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The day so far: Rob Ford threatens more legal action

Also: publication ban lifted on names of witnesses in robocalls investigation


 

Chris Young/CP

THE STAT

41-2

The vote count on a motion to remove Ford’s emergency management powers and his ability to influence any of the city’s accountability officers—notably, the integrity commissioner who will investigate the mayor’s conduct

THE VISUAL

A livestream of proceedings at city hall

THE QUOTE

“Of course, I have no choice but to challenge this in court.” —Rob Ford, after Toronto’s city council voted to remove his power to appoint or remove chairs of council committees.

THE NEWS

Rob Ford: Toronto’s mayor has now made a morning ritual of threatening legal action. Yesterday, he declared his intention to take three ex-staffers to court over their allegedly defamatory statements about his inappropriate conduct at, among other places, city hall. Today, city council voted to remove several powers from the mayor’s grasp. He says council is out of line, and has hired municipal lawyer George Rust-D’Eye to fight his case. Later today, Maclean’s Charlie Gillis will have more on the legality of council’s action.

Robocalls: Justice Celynne Dorval removed a publication ban of the names of six witnesses at the heart of a trial alleging voter fraud. Michael Sona, the former Conservative staffer who worked on a Guelph campaign during the 2011 federal election, stands accused of participating in a plot to misdirect voters on election day. The Ottawa Citizen‘s Glen McGregor reports that the witnesses, each of whom were interviewed by Elections Canada investigator Allan Mathews, claimed that Sona “admitted participation in a scheme that sounded remarkably similar to media reports about the Guelph robocall.” The witnesses were all staffers to various MPs and senators in Ottawa, and one served a stint in the Prime Minister’s Office.


 

The day so far: Rob Ford threatens more legal action

  1. Yeah, because nothing says “respecting the taxpayer” like sticking them with the bill for a personal vendetta, all because Ford refuses to take responsibility for his admitted wrongdoing.

    • Ford has already said he’s paying for it.

      • No, he said it’s going to cost the taxpayers an arm and a leg. That’s an exact quote.

        • Not for his legal costs.

          • Based on…?

          • True, but the City will still have to defend the lawsuit, so it’s still going to cost the City a pretty penny.

            What’s TRULY weird is that Ford also admitted that if he’d been in the same position as Council was, he’d have done the same thing. So, he’s essentially going to sue Council for doing what he himself concede’s he’d do if the roles were reversed.

          • Ford will pay for defending Ford. You want him to pay for people accusing him??

          • No, I don’t want him to pay for the people he’s suing necessarily (unless it’s judged to be a frivolous lawsuit), my point was simply that given that he’d essentially be suing City Council, it’s the taxpayers that will end up paying for the defence (as it should be when the City has to defend itself), so his actions are going to cost the taxpayers a lot of money if he goes ahead with a suit.

            I also just find it highly ironic that Ford has said that if the roles were reversed he’d essentially have done what Council actually did, but now he nonetheless plans to sue Council for doing it.

          • It’s cost a whack of money already….the publicity alone is doing tremendous financial damage.

            Now he’s been put in the situation of not only defending himself, but every other mayor that comes after him.

            Toronto has the exact same credit rating right now as it has done all the way back to Lastman…..but people were so keen to ‘save money’ they elected Ford on the basis of hot air.

            As they’re now learning….hot air is expensive.

          • Mayor’s got along fine without these delegated powers for decades before Council gave the mayor emergency powers under Lastman’s tenure, and before they allowed the mayor to appoint Committee Chairs during Miller’s tenure, and the city will continue to get along fine now that Council has taken back those powers from the office of the mayor.

          • Um….I’ve said at least twice now that it’s the same for every mayor in the province.

          • Yes, you’ve said that twice, but even saying it a third time wouldn’t make it true.

            In one sense, yes, the mayor of Toronto is in a similarly weak position as all the other mayors in Ontario. We operate a “weak mayor system” for our municipalities in Ontario in which mayors have almost no additional statutory powers beyond those of an ordinary Councillor.

            That said, Ontario also has the CITY OF TORONTO ACT, which does not apply to every mayor in the province. Unfortunately for Mayor Ford, the City of Toronto Act also doesn’t give him any more real power than other mayors in the province other than some symbolic responsibilities.

          • Again, that’s irrelevant.

        • The City will have to pay its own legal costs if it loses; it might have to pay his, too. By contrast, if his suit is deemed frivolous, he may have to pay the City’s costs. City taxpayers will only be on the hook if the city is legally wrong on the technical merits.

          As obnoxiously as I think Ford has been acting, I don’t really know how that will come out – it’s possible council is overstepping its bounds here legally. Will be interesting to see.

          • Well this is the thing…..he hasn’t been arrested or charged, much less convicted of anything….but they are trying to remove him from office….punish him. An elected official. Elected in his own right….by the entire city.

            Whether Ford is liked or not is irrelevant. This amounts to an attempted coup….a mini-coup at the muni level, but a coup all the same.

            Do we allow that? Is that a principle or method we want to follow? Would we be so keen on it if he was a likeable guy?

            Strikes me as the same mob mentality…genteel but a mob all the same….that occurred in the Senate last week.

            Where are we going with this kind of thing?

          • No, he hasn’t been arrested or charged, but he has admitted to consuming/purchasing illegal drugs, drinking & driving. And if his former staffers are to be believed (& I believe them) he has violated the Municipal Code of Conduct by using staffers as personal assistants to buy booze, pick up dry cleaning, buy groceries for his wife, change lightbulbs in his house & change batteries in his childrens toys. That is a pattern of bad behaviour that needs to be addressed & council needs to send a strong message that this type of behaviour can’t & won’t be tolerated.

          • None of that adds up to removal from office.

            You can’t get rid of someone just because you don’t like them….there is a principle of due process involved.

  2. Of course he does. And while this goes through the courts….nothing changes.

    Ford is still mayor.

    • He doesn’t deserve it.

      • I agree…but that doesn’t change anything.

    • Technically, Ford is still mayor even if he loses a court challenge. Council didn’t vote to remove him as Mayor, because they can’t. My understanding is what they actually did was remove from the Mayor certain powers that Council itself had previously delegated to the Mayor.

      Toronto has what is known as a “weak mayor system”. Just being Mayor of Toronto doesn’t actually come with a lot of statutory powers beyond those that any City Councillor has. That’s why Council had previously voted to delegate certain powers to the office of the Mayor, on the theory that there were certain efficiencies to be had by delegating more power to the Mayor’s office than is established by statute. What Council can give though, Council can take away. They can’t make him no longer mayor, but just being Mayor in Toronto doesn’t actually mean a whole lot in terms of real power under Toronto’s system of governance.

      • He’s the same as any other Mayor in Ontario. Like I said yesterday, one vote.

        And should Toronto have an emergency, the mayor would still be running things.

        Nothing has changed.

        • Except, they took away his emergency powers.

          • He’s still the mayor LKO….and should Toronto have an earthquake and the CN tower falls over…no one is going to go to some councillor for guidance. They can’t afford confusion at a time like that. It’s the mayor’s signature on things that matters. Quibbles will be backburnered.

          • I don’t think I’m too far out on a limb here to suggest that if the CN Tower falls over NO ONE is going to go to Rob Ford for guidance. I certainly agree that one can’t afford confusion at a time like that, which is why I suspect that every responsible official would stay as far away from Rob Ford as possible in such a scenario.

            Council has now assigned emergency powers to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly. If there’s an emergency, people will turn to the guy with the emergency powers. I don’t think there’d be any confusion.

          • The mayor is always in charge of the city response in an emergency.

            There is already loads of confusion….just look at this thread.

          • There’s not that much confusion in this thread I don’t think. It seems to me that it’s mostly you saying that these moves are either beyond the scope of Council’s power, or that they’re practically moot, and everyone else telling you that they think you’re wrong.

          • What other people ‘think’ is irrelevant.

            What matters is the law.

            How easily people toss democracy out the window!

          • Indeed, what matters is the law, and the law gives the mayor almost no powers whatsoever beyond those of a regular City Councillor. Now, Council can decide to extend ADDITIONAL powers to the mayor, but having done so, Council can also decide to rescind said powers. None of the powers taken from the mayor today came to him via statute, they were assigned by a vote of Council, and a vote of Council can take them away.

          • Yes, LKO….we know that. It is, however, irrelevant.

          • Maybe if they found a crack in the base of the CN Tower they might go to Ford due to his extensive knowledge of crack.

          • Council voted to give the emergency powers to the Deputy Mayor. God forbid the city has a major emergency while Ford is in a “drunken stupor”.

          • And whether anybody accepts that or not is another matter. I know if I was a rescue unit, a contractor etc I’d want the mayor’s sign-off on something…..not a deputy mayor just because council was in a snit when disaster struck.

            Contracts in a city often specify ‘mayor’….not ‘whoever’.

          • I’d be pretty shocked if, even during an emergency, you could find a police officer or firefighter who’d rather have “Rob Ford told me to do that” as his rationale for an action during the crisis than “Norm Kelly told me to do that”.

          • To be legally safe, they’d need the ‘mayor’ behind them….no matter who that is.

            And at the moment….it’s Ford.

          • To be legally safe, they’d need the ‘mayor’ behind them….no matter who that is.

            No, they really wouldn’t, and there is nothing in the statutes governing the City of Toronto that even SUGGESTS that they would.

          • Could you point to an example of a City contract that actually mentions the mayor or his office? I’m pretty sure that municipal contracts are made with the City as a corporate entity, not with the “Mayor”. Not only do contracts with the City not “often specify ‘mayor'”, I’m not convinced that one EVER has.

            There are certainly jurisdictions in North America where mayors of cities are given extensive statutory executive powers such that the mayor him/herself is integral to the City’s decision making procedures and governance (so-called “strong mayor systems”) but Ontario is not one of those jurisdictions.

          • You’ve convinced yourself of a lot of things….however ‘The City’ doesn’t sign contracts or authorize work….the Mayor usually does on behalf of the city.

          • There are people who are authorized to sign contracts on behalf of the City, the Mayor does not sign every single contract the City engages in. (If he did, I suspect there’d be a helluva lot of unsigned contracts based on how little time Ford spends @ City Hall.)

          • You know this for sure eh?

            Why would a town/city need a mayor if he does nothing?

            I don’t like Ford but there’s nothing to indicate he’s not doing his paperwork.

          • I don’t like Ford but there’s nothing to indicate he’s not doing his paperwork.

            I agree there, but signing contracts on behalf of the city is not part of the Mayor’s paperwork.

          • the Mayor usually does on behalf of the city

            ON BEHALF OF THE CITY… AFTER a vote of City Council. (More to the point, no, the mayor himself usually DOESN’T sign these sorts of contracts).

            If Council wished to, they could have Ronald McDonald sign on behalf of the City, so long as they voted to give the clown signing authority.

          • Yes, the mayor signs on behalf of the city

          • If you can find evidence of this fact I’m more than willing to concede the point, but I’m quite sure that the City Manager signs contracts on behalf of the city.

          • The city manager cannot sign contracts on his own….he has to be authorized. There has to be a paper trail. Otherwise he could authorize anything….approved or not.

            A mayor doesn’t exist just to wear a necklace for photo-ops. Someone has to be in charge….buck stops here, and all that.

            You through now?

          • Not quite. The City Manager is authorized by City Council to sign contracts. To the extent that it’s true that the Manager needs authorization from Council to sign a contract it would be equally true if the Mayor was going to be signing the contracts. CITY COUNCIL has the actual power, the mayor is simply the head of the City Council, and a head, what’s more, with almost no additional statutory powers beyond being one vote among many.

          • No, you’re quite through.

          • Someone has to be in charge….buck stops here, and all that.

            Now, on this point I agree that things would be much more efficient if the buck really stopped with the Mayor, and the Mayor really did have more power. People have been arguing for a long time that Toronto would be better off with a “strong mayor system” as opposed to our current “weak mayor” arrangement. What’s more, even City Council itself has expressed the desire for the Mayor to have more power. That’s precisely why City Council voted to make the Mayor their delegate with regard to certain powers, because the law itself doesn’t actually give the Mayor said powers. However, having voted to make the Mayor their delegate on certain matters, Council is perfectly capable of (and entitled to) hold another vote to take those powers back. They’re the Council’s powers after all, not the Mayor’s. While he was authorized to act as the Council’s designate, the Mayor was never doing anything more than acting as the Council’s designate.

            I certainly agree that there’s a strong logical argument that the Mayor of Toronto SHOULD have more statutory power, and that there would be real advantages to the City if our governance structures were changed. However, wishing doesn’t make it so.

            If you can find a statute that purports to give the Mayor any of the powers that were recently taken away from him I’d be fascinated to learn about it, but I haven’t seen it anywhere. I’ve looked at the City of Toronto Act quite a bit lately, and the word mayor is only used 7 times in the whole act (“council”, on the other hand appears 378 times). The Mayor of Toronto simply doesn’t have many statutory powers, and I can’t find anything to suggest that he does.

          • Tell ya what LKO….you just babble on all you want, and the rest of us will go for supper.

            PS….never run for office.

          • Enjoy supper.

            I’ll stop trying to convince you that water is wet now.

          • Regulars here know I was in politics for some years….and politics is a very small world. You get to know people from all 3 levels, and how their systems operate etc

            Armchair politicians who had their own fanciful views of the system were introduced to each other if possible….so they could waste their own time and not ours.

          • Well, they better have a backup plan in the event he’s on a bender.

  3. “Of course, I have no choice but to challenge this in court.”

    Petty. Tyrant.

  4. “I have no choice but to continue being farcical.”

    Mayor Meltdown, 2013

  5. You people should all be ashamed of picking on poor Toronto mayor Rob Ford and his brother who are in denial. Can you not see their halos? Hook up a polygraph to all politicians and police members, its overdue and watch the machines go bezerk whenever they open their mouths. Toronto and Ottawa (all in Ontario) are a joke and easy to poke fun at with their mind sets and arrogant ways of the people, professions and political leaders who think the world evolves around Central Canada.

    • What Con senators from what areas of the country went berserk last week?

      Let’s not get carried away here.

      • Where did he said they did?

  6. Must be nice to have inherited a piece of Daddy’s company that you can throw your weight around, both figuratively (as in expensive lawsuits) and literally (insert own joke here).

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