Toronto mayor to stay in power pending appeal of ouster

Wed Dec 5, 2012 12:56pm EST
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford can stay in power pending an appeal of a conflict of interest ruling that ordered him out of his job as leader of Canada's biggest city, a court ruled on Wednesday.

Madam Justice Gladys Pardu of the Ontario Divisional Court suspended a previous court ruling that said Ford should be ousted. Ford's appeal of that ruling is set to be heard on January 7, but a decision on the appeal could take months.

Justice Pardu stressed that if she had not suspended the ruling, Ford would have been out of office by next week. "Significant uncertainty would result and needless expenses may be incurred if a by-election is called," she said.

If Ford wins his appeal, he will get to keep his job until his term ends at the end of 2014. If he loses, the city council will either appoint a successor or call a special election, in which Ford is likely to run again.

"I can't wait for the appeal, and I'm going to carry on doing what the people elected me to do," Ford told reporters at City Hall following the decision.

Ford, a larger-than-life character who took power on a promise to "stop the gravy train" at City Hall, has argued that he did nothing wrong when he voted to overturn an order that he repay money that lobbyists had given to a charity he runs.

Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland disagreed, ruling last week that Ford acted with "willful blindness" in the case, and must leave office by December 10.

Ford was elected mayor in a landslide in 2010, but slashing costs without cutting services proved harder than he expected, and his popularity has fallen steeply.   Continued...

Toronto's Rob Ford makes a statement to the media in Toronto November 27, 2012. Ford, a magnet for controversy during two years as mayor of Canada's largest city, was ordered out of office on Monday after a judge found him guilty of breaking conflict-of-interest laws. Ontario Superior Court Judge Charles Hackland ruled Ford acted wrongly when he voted at city council to scrap a fine imposed on him for accepting donations to his football foundation from lobbyists. REUTERS/Mark Blinch