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Excerpts from the Decision to Boot Rob Ford

TMC Reads the Legal Case So You Don't Have To

by Toronto Media Co-op

Excerpts from the Decision to Boot Rob Ford

Toronto - Justice Charles Hackland's decision to remove Rob Ford from office came out today.  The Toronto Media Co-op reads the report so you don't have to.

What the decision says

"In May 2010... at the relevant council meeting, the respondent recused himself, stating, “it’s a conflict of interest so I have to remove myself from the Chamber.” In his evidence at the present hearing, the respondent was unable to explain why he disqualified himself on that occasion, while speaking and voting on the present matter before Council on February 7, 2012."

What it means

Ford got caught red-handed.  The bulk of his case, that improperly voting on the matter was an "inadvertent error", was out the window.

What the decision says

"The respondent argues that the amount of money involved ($3,150.00) is very modest considering his salary as Mayor. It is stated at para. 59 of the Respondent’s Factum that, “No objectively reasonable person could conclude that the Respondent, a City Councillor for ten years and Mayor for two years would jeopardize his position for $3,150 ...”

The respondent stated, in his remarks at the Council meeting, “[A]nd if it wasn’t for this foundation, these kids would not have had a chance. And then to ask for me to pay it out of my own pocket personally, there is just, there is no sense to this. The money is gone, the money has been spent on football equipment….”

In view of the respondent’s remarks to City Council, I find that his pecuniary interest in the recommended repayment of $3,150.00 was of significance to him."

What it means

Ford's second line of defense, that the amount of money was so small that it didn't matter, again, gone, out the window.

What it says

"I recognize that the circumstances of this case demonstrate that there was absolutely no issue of corruption or pecuniary gain on the respondent’s part. His contraventions of the municipal Code of Conduct involved a modest amount of money which he endeavoured to raise for a legitimate charity (his football foundation), which is administered at arm’s length through the Community Foundation of Toronto."

What it means

The judge felt that the mandatory need to throw Ford out of office was a "sledgehammer" approach to the nature of his violation.  But he had no choice as it's a requirement under the law.

What it says

"[Ford] submits that he has followed the Integrity Commissioner’s direction to not use councillor letterhead or city staff in fundraising activities for the Rob Ford Foundation. The latter point was somewhat undermined by the respondent’s evidence in cross-examination that he often exchanges his city business card (Exhibit 2) with people he encounters in his work as Mayor and then often follows up with requests for donations from these people for his football foundation."

What it means

Contrary to what he was saying at other points on the stand, Ford has not learned his lesson.

What it says

"Several cases were cited in argument, in which the error in judgment saving provision was successfully relied on. These arise in situations involving reasonable mistakes of fact about whether the matter at hand engaged the elected official’s pecuniary interests and cases of novice elected officials relying on erroneous legal advice. In contrast, this respondent has served on City Council for 12 years, the last two years as Mayor."

What it means

Given his 12 years on council, Ford should have known better.

What it says

"The respondent has never acknowledged a key point addressed in the Integrity Commissioner’s report; that is, that it was not appropriate for the respondent to use his status as Councillor (or Mayor) for private fundraising, notwithstanding that the purpose was to benefit a good cause."

What it means

Ford was done in by his belief that if it felt right, it was right.  He felt that he should be able to use his status as Mayor to fundraise for a good cause.  He was wrong.

What it says

"In my opinion, a high standard must be expected from an elected official in a position of leadership and responsibility."

What it means

Self-explanitory.


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