UPDATE: According to the Canadian Press, the lawyer who brought the conflict of interest breach against Ford has consented to a stay of the judge’s ruling, meaning Ford will remain in office until the conclusion of his appeal.
Lawyer Clayton Ruby said the stay was meant to give the city a “measure of stability” during the process.
Last week was a doozy for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. This one could be no better.
After being ruled offside in a conflict of interest case and being told he must vacate his seat as mayor by the start of next week, Ford took further beating as council allies distanced themselves and his beloved high school football team lost their championship game.
The week turned around near the end, when a judge clarified that Ford could run in a byelection, should one be held after he is removed from office.
This week, he'll learn how soon that will be.
The Toronto Star reports that Ford's lawyer will ask a Divisional Court on Wednesday to allow the mayor to remain in office until the end of his appeal.
Should the court decline the request, Ford will be removed from office on Monday, Dec. 10. The appeal will be heard on January 7 and a decision will come down weeks later.
Being removed from office would be a bad thing for Ford. Obviously. Not only because he would cease to be mayor for the time being, but also because it would be the first real chance to see city hall operate without Ford's antics pushing it off the tracks.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday would be tasked with proceeding with the Ford agenda. And say what you will about Holyday, he has never been accused of giving taxpayers the finger, literally or legally.
Ford, meantime, announced on his radio show that he would definitely run in a byelection, should one be needed. He also urged council to hold the vote, at a price tag of $7 million, rather than appointing a caretaker mayor for the remainder of the term.
"I'll put my life on it. I'm not quitting, I'm not resigning," he said, according to CBC.
Of course, Ford could end up having a good week. The court could decide on Wednesday to keep him in office through the appeal process, meaning he will not be removed from office on December 10 and the Rob Ford Countdown Clock gets put on pause.
[ Special section: Rob Ford fights to stay on as mayor of Toronto ]
It would also give more ammunition for the group of supporters rallying to keep Ford in office. A website called Respect Democracy is claiming the court's decision to remove Ford from office was undemocratic and subverted the will of the people.
A video connected to the site explains that while nearly 400,000 Torontonians voted to elect Ford, the decision has been "thrown out because of a politically motivated technical objection over how he raised money for underprivileged kids."
"Mayor Ford gained nothing. The city lost nothing," the video says, echoing Ford's own words about the conflict of interest case.
This is, of course, not true. As the National Post's Matt Gurney points out:
The matter that he voted on, improperly according to the MCIA (Municipal Conflict of Interest Act), was to spare Ford the need to repay $3,150 out of his own pocket. The $3,150 was money that Ford had collected for his charity, improperly, according to the city integrity's commissioner.
Regardless, this grassroots campaign to keep Ford in office should be considered a sign of strong public support for Ford's innocence, should it not? An equalizer to the dozens of "impeach Ford" petitions that have popped up over the years?
Should it matter that the Respect Democracy website in question was created by a public relations firm with ties to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office, as the Globe and Mail reports?
Either way, the city will soon learn whether Respect Democracy is another sideshow at the carnival that has been Ford's time in office, or the bones of his next election campaign.
On Wednesday, that carnival will take centre stage once again.