By Erin Eaton
With Mayor Rob Ford ordered ousted from office for violating the municipal conflict-of-interest act, council is being pushed to make a quick decision that will impact the future of the city.
When the seat is officially vacant in two weeks, council will have 60 days to determine how to permanently fill the mayor’s seat, according to municipal bylaws.
They must decide whether to hold a by-election or to appoint an interim mayor for the two-year duration of the current term.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday will become Toronto’s interim mayor during the 60-day decision period.
If the Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles T. Hackland’s decision holds through the looming appeal process, a by-election may cost Toronto citizens an estimated $7 million.
Ford announced in a brief press conference on Monday that he will be appealing the decision.
Though Hackland had the option of banning Ford from running for up to seven years, he refrained, leaving Ford with the ability to launch a re-election bid in 2014—an option Ford may take advantage of.
In August, Ford told CP24 that he had every intention of running again, regardless of how the conflict-of-interest case panned out.
“If the judge says I can run again and I lose my job, I guarantee I’ll just say, ‘When’s the next election?’ ‘cause I’ll be running for mayor. The next day I’ll start campaigning again for sure,” Ford said in an interview with Stephen LeDrew.
Matthew Blackett, one of the founders and creative directors of Spacing magazine, said Ford would have a difficult journey running for election in 2014.
“I think he’d have a real uphill battle if he decided to run again. He has a lot of things stacking up against him, on top of the failures that have marked his tenure so far,” he told Humber News.
Spacing has been consistently critical of the first two years of Ford’s term.
Don Wanagas, the director of communications for ex-mayor David Miller, said he’s concerned that Ford’s personal drama will continue to detract attention from important municipal issues.
“If he’s granted an appeal, this could drag on for quite some time—months, or even a year,” said Wanagas.
“What this whole thing does, it tends to throw everything at council into a tizzy at city hall. This is going to continue to be the focus of everything. Instead of speaking about issues that are of concern to the city, the whole debate and discussion is going to be around Ford.”
Sarah Rix has more on who might be Toronto’s next mayor.