toronto rob ford

Judge rules Rob Ford can run in a byelection

The Superior Court judge that ousted Rob Ford from office has ruled the mayor is able stand in a byelection before 2014 if his appeal is rejected in the new year. Justice Charles Hackland ordered the mayor removed from office at the end of a court case that Ford found spoke and voted on an item at council in which he had a financial interest.

This morning, Hackland decided to delete a portion of the ruling that suggested Ford would be blocked from running for office or being appointed mayor by council before the end of the current council term in two years.

The advice goes against what city solicitor Anna Kinastowski and her legal team told council on Tuesday based on the original wording of the document. Ford and his inner circle believed the ruling left the door open for a new election campaign should a panel of three judges decide to reject an appeal in January.

Alan Lenczner, Ford's lawyer, will request a stay next week that would keep the mayor in office until his formal appeal can be heard. In the unlikely chance he's unsuccessful, Ford will have just over a week left in office before being removed, perhaps temporarily.

It was rumoured earlier this week that Doug Ford might take a crack at the top job if his brother was prevented from doing so. It's not clear yet whether any of the other rumored contenders, councillors Karen Stintz and Adam Vaughan among them, will decide to step back.

UPDATE: 12:30

Looks like a group of Ford supporters are starting to organize a campaign. A video entitled "Respect Democracy" that began circulating online last night urges viewers to sign a petition to get the mayor reinstated and calls into question the fairness of the judge's decision, describing the origins of the court case as "politically motivated."

It's not clear who's behind the site at this stage, the company that registered the domain tells me the owner has opted to hide their details, but it doesn't seem to carry any official endorsements from the mayor or his team.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: "Rob Ford" by Oliver Plante in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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