Deputy mayor 'never thought' Rob Ford would be ousted

Deputy Toronto Mayor Doug Holyday said he never anticipated that Mayor Rob Ford would be ousted from office in a conflict-of-interest challenge, an improbable scenario that came true Monday and has left council trying to understand what happens next.

"I never thought that the mayor would lose his job over this. I honestly didn't," Holyday told CBC Radio's Here and Now on Monday afternoon.

While the judgment doesn’t come into effect for 14 days, Holyday said, the mayor is likely to file an appeal.

"What will likely happen is that the mayor will appeal and he’ll ask for a stay," he said. "And the judge anticipated this, I think. So he’s allowed 14 days before the action actually takes place, so this doesn’t happen right away."

When council meets on Tuesday, Holyday said, the goal should be to push on with city business as usual.

"Well, it’ll be a distraction, but the fact is that it doesn’t take place for until 14 days from now, so the clerk will have to rule on some of these interruptions as people try to enter them into the debate," he said.

"We've got an agenda tomorrow and we’ve got work to do on behalf of the taxpayers, and there’s no reason why we can’t get on with our work."

On Monday, Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti resigned from the mayor’s executive committee.

"This was just the nail that was driven into the coffin," he told CBC News in an interview.

But Holyday said that Mammoliti had previously indicated his desire to step down from chairing a standing committee, a position that made him an automatic member of the executive committee.

"He got to be an executive member because he was chair of a standing committee and the standing committee chairs are appointed by the mayor and they are automatically members of the executive," Holyday said.

"But he had told the mayor that he didn’t wish to be the chair of that standing committee any longer — now this wasn’t today, this was a week or two ago."

As Coun. John Parker tweeted on Monday, all that can be certain in the wake of the ruling involving the mayor is that "we are entering the unknown" as council tries to figure out how to proceed.

The case began in March, when Toronto resident Paul Magder filed an application accusing Ford of breaking the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act when he spoke and took part in a February vote that absolved him of having to pay back funds that he solicited on behalf of his private football foundation.

Ford later was forced to testify in court in September, when the mayor revealed he had never read the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, nor the handbook given to councillors that explains how conflicts should be handled.

On Monday morning, Justice Charles T. Hackland released his decision in the case, finding that Ford had indeed broken conflict of interest rules.

The judge disqualified Ford from running again during this term of office and put his declaration on hold for 14 days to give the city time to make plans to deal with the situation.

After the ruling, Ford vowed to fight his pending ouster, blaming the “left wing” for a campaign to remove him from office.

"This comes down to left-wing politics. The left wing wants me out of here, and they'll do anything in their power to [do that]," he said Monday.

Coun. Josh Matlow rejected the mayor's perception of his predicament.

"I find it sad that he would suggest something like that," Matlow told CBC News in an interview on Monday afternoon.

"This is the kind of language and the kind of behaviour that I would submit got him into all sorts of trouble in the first place."

Matlow said the decision the judge handed down Monday was based on the laws that are in place.

"The judge is an impartial jurist. He made a decision based on his interpretation of legislation," Matlow said.

Coun. Joe Mihevc said the judge’s ruling was "not a political decision, this was a decision made by the judiciary after a fairly long trial and a few months of deliberation."

Mihevc said the ruling proved that politicians will be held accountable if they don’t follow the rules, but it was a "sad day” in other respects.

"It's a good day for the judiciary, it’s a good day for respect for law and order in this city of ours," he told reporters.

"It's a sad day for Torontonians that it had to come to this — that sooner or later, you are going to get caught and you are going to be held accountable if you are misusing the powers that are given to you as mayor. And to that extent, it is a sad day that our chief magistrate has been found in violation of those laws and in that decorum."

But Mihevc said "there are a lot of moves" ahead before it will be clear what the mayor will be allowed to do in terms of entering another mayoral campaign.

Coun. Karen Stintz tweeted that the mayor is entitled to pursue an appeal and "we should calmly allow the process to run its course," while Coun. James Pasternak called on councillors "to get back to city building and let the mayor's appeal process take its course."

Coun. Janet Davis said that "we have to just step back," without being rushed into any decisions about who will be sitting in the mayor’s seat in the days ahead.

"The mayor obviously has a right of appeal. And we are going to have to consider what all the options are," she told reporters on Monday.

While acknowledging the mayor's right of appeal, Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam questioned whether Ford ultimately wanted to be mayor of Canada's largest city.

Following the release of the judge’s decision, Wong-Tam tweeted that she had "one question" for him.

"Despite appearances, do you really want the job?"

Coun. Adam Vaughan said it will be necessary for council to consider the full effect of the decision and the mayor's removal.

Vaughan said that when city council meets on Tuesday, it may be time to begin that conversation.

"I hope that the deputy mayor, who has responsibilities now, puts on the agenda a conversation with the city solicitor and with the clerk about what the next steps are and what the path forward looks like," he said.

"Clearly, Rob Ford, as a citizen, has legal avenues open to him. We need to understand those, we need to understand what the city’s role is as that happens, because we have no idea how long that could take, and in the interim, we have a budget that’s being launched this week."

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