Monday, 24 June 2013

Ford "Vindicated", Learns Nothing


Much to the chagrin of untold citizens of Toronto, Rob Ford will not be taking the fateful trip to Ottawa that many had hoped. The Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal from a Divisional Court decision which restored Ford to his mayoral seat after a conflict of interest issue caused Justice Hackland of the Superior Court to vacate Ford’s mayoral seat. Why the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal is a matter upon which one can only speculate – as is its custom, the Court did not give a reason for declining to hear the appeal.[1]

Of Paul Madger who set the wheels of this legal odyssey in motion when he filed suit against Ford for violating the Municipal Conflicts of Interest Act, Ford has said: “…they did everything they could to stop me from moving forward with my agenda.” Presumably this means that Ford has every intention of moving forward with his old agenda, an agenda which includes demonizing labour groups under the guise of necessity and fiscal austerity.

Though ultimately attaining the result he desired, one would think this may have been a sobering process for Ford, a hint that his manner of doing business is deeply flawed, at best. But humility seems to escape him. His Deputy Mayor has even said that Ford’s participation in a vote in which he had a vested interest and which resulted in the loss of his mayoral seat, albeit temporarily, was nothing to apologize for. The Deputy Mayor explained: “if anyone should apologize it should be the integrity commissioner or council.”[2]

The Ford administration’s lack of insight into the authorship of its own troubles is so complete as to be almost fascinating.  Of course, the integrity commissioner (or any integrity commisioner for that matter) should find no cause to apologize when raising an issue over a mayor who votes in his own favour in a vote concerning allegations made against him. Nevertheless, a sense of indignation remains and Ford appears to have emerged from his legal contest unaffected by modesty and proudly impervious to personal growth.

While Ford’s reign will continue for the moment, there is a bright spot amidst all of this grey for the working men and women who would prefer a change in leadership: the vote. Councillor Adam Vaughan offered this consolation: “there are lots of reasons to get rid of this mayor and the best way to do it is at the ballot box.”[3] Indeed – with the power of the ballot box on their side the people will eventually have the chance to remove Ford from office in a way he can’t appeal.    

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