Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to remain in office, until the next thing

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was cleared today to run again for mayor in a byelection, should one be held ahead of the 2014 municipal election

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will remain in office until his appeal of a conflict of interest ruling is heard early next year. It was a decision that had the support of even his most ardent opponents, some merely begging for a shred of consistency with which to run the city.

Reuters reported that Ontario Superior Court Justice Gladys Pardu granted Ford a stay until his appeal has been ruled upon. The appeal process is set to begin on January 7, with a decision likely to come down in January or February.

Ford said he was relieved by the decision, but this is far from the end of his problems.

Frankly, Wednesday's decision was the least tumultuous thing to happen at city hall since Ford was ordered from office early last week.

The citizen who brought the conflict of interest suit against Ford agreed he should remain in office through his appeal, and his lawyer Clayton Ruby did not submit an argument against the motion. Even vocal Ford opponent Adam Vaughan agreed there was no benefit on tearing him from office now.

"In cases where there is an automatic right of appeal it is ... the judicious thing to do," Vaughan told CTV News.

"We have to wait to see what the courts decide on this and I think it would be unwise to plunge the city into any more turmoil or ambiguity than it already has been by the mayor."

Justice Pardu took only 30 minutes to come up with her decision, stating that "significant uncertainty" and expense would be incurred should Ford be removed, specifically if a replacement mayor was named and Ford ended up winning his appeal.

[ Special section: Rob Ford fights to stay on as mayor of Toronto ]

This space compared that potential outcome to a "Game of Thrones"-type standoff weeks ago, and the position hasn't changed. Nothing good would come from having a sitting mayor and a vindicated Ford both laying claim to the seat.

At the time, this writer suggested Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday man the helm until Ford's long-term fate had been determined. That solution could be extended through the remainder of the current term, should Ford lose his appeal.

The Toronto Star's Thomas Walkom offered a well-considered option on Wednesday, recommending council name Rob Ford as his own replacement. It would appease those who feel his ouster was undemocratic, avoid a $7 million byelection and would allow the "experiment … to play itself out."

Whatever the path forward, Toronto won't need to replace Ford until January at least. It ought to give us a month or more of calm before the eventual storm.

Although it likely that a few waves will hit before the appeal is heard. If Toronto has learned one thing over the past two years it is that.

Always expect the waves.

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