The Ontario Superior Court judge, who ordered Mayor Rob Ford out of office for violating conflict-of-interest rules, clarified Friday morning that Ford can run in a byelection if one is called before the 2014 municipal election.

Justice Charles Hackland ruled Monday that the mayor violated Ontario’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act when he participated in a council vote on Feb. 7 that excused him from repaying $3,150 in questionable donations from lobbyists to his personal football foundation, which solicited money using city letterhead and city staff time.

In his decision, the judge gave the mayor 14 days from Nov. 26 to vacate his seat and said that Ford couldn’t run again for the “current term.”

There had been some confusion since Hackland’s decision as to whether the mayor was eligible to run in a byelection, should his appeal fail and council call one before 2014.

Ford and his lawyer Alan Lenczner believed the mayor could run in a byelection after the 14 days, while the city solicitor and those who instigated the lawsuit took the “current term” to mean 2010-2013, which meant Ford couldn’t run until the end of the 2010-2013 term.

The matter was settled during a conference call with the judge on Friday morning, and Hackland’s decision now omits any reference to a term.

Many councillors have openly welcomed the idea of a byelection.

“I actually think a byelection is kind of urgent at this point,” Coun. Shelley Carroll said.

“We are in serious, serious trouble now. This has to end and there’s only one way to end it.”
 
And when asked if she thought she should be the candidate to replace Ford, she didn’t hesitate.

“Yes, yes, I am,” she said. “The time of being coy and being tasteful about this is done.

“I think I could run this city a damn sight better than the current mayor and abide by the law while doing it … This weekend a lot of very serious discussions are gonna go on.”

Ford has vowed to “fight tooth and nail” to keep his job and has sought a stay of the judge’s order until an appeal by a divisional court is completed.

The city solicitor told council if there’s no stay or if down the road the judge’s order is upheld, then council will be required to take certain actions. Council would have to decide within 60 days of an appeal decision whether to fill Ford’s vacancy either by appointment or byelection, Anna Kinastowski said.

A panel of judges will hear the request for a stay on Wednesday. The appeal will go before a panel on Jan. 7, 2013.

Below is Justice Charles Hackland’s clarification of his ruling.


With files from The Canadian Press