All right, let’s do it all again.
News that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will be allowed to run in a potential byelection broke on Friday after the judge that threw him from office clarified his stance on the subject.
Justice Charles Hackland addressed his ruling from earlier this week, which said that Ford was to be removed from office for breaching the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and would not be allowed to run for the remainder of the term.
The Toronto Star reported that Hackland removed a portion of the ruling that made it sound like Ford could not run again until the 2014 municipal election.
[ Special section: Rob Ford fights to stay on as mayor of Toronto ]
So let’s keep this straight. This does not change the fact that Ford was found guilty of inappropriately participating in a debate over whether he should pay back questionable donations collected for a personal charity while using his clout as a city official.
This does not change the fact that, pending appeal and a stay of execution, he will be removed from office as of Monday, Dec. 10. This doesn’t mean that a byelection must be held to find his replacement.
This clarification means that, should council choose to hold a costly $7-million byelection, Ford can participate. Brother Doug is off the hook.
Hackland’s original ruling found that Ford must vacate his seat as mayor but would face no repercussions “beyond the current term,” which had been interpreted to suggest he could not run in a byelection.
Ford had maintained that he would be allowed to run in the possible byelection, and under Hackland’s new clarification he is right.
There is a first time for everything.
The clarification will of course be considered a victory for Ford, who derided his ouster as part of a left-wing conspiracy against him. He later asserted that he respected the courts, which is just bully for Canada’s justice system.
We hope you have enjoyed the last two woefully entertaining years, because we could be on the verge of playing them all over again. Ford has been thrown from office, reprimanded for his abuse of power and still managed to learn nothing.
After a day-and-a-half of eating humble pie, Ford returned to council as brash and bombastic as he ever was, conducting a shouting match with Coun. Adam Vaughan and accusing him of the “shakedown” of a condo developer.
The CBC reports that the battle erupted during a debate over a Queen Street condominium. Vaughan was seeking council approval for a deal he reached with the developer, which would secure $1 million in fees that would go to improving the sidewalks around the building.
Ford said Vaughan was trying to extort the condo company, but later retracted his comment.
Following the outburst, Vaughan told 680 News that the mayor was simply trying to score political points.
"I think we're all tired of the mayor's behaviour, poor choice of words and belligerent behaviour. It's a disturbing pattern, it's the pattern that has plunged this city into the ambiguity it now finds itself in. I think all of Toronto is as weary of this behaviour as I am," he told the radio station.
While the Ford’s fate remains up in the air, it does seem like things are getting back to business at city hall. For better or worse, Ford is at it again. And the chances that he’s not finished just got a lot better.