Rob Ford is back in business, for now

Emma Teitel on three tests and the stay

Chris Young/CP

It was like an ancient parable. Toronto mayor Rob Ford (yes, he’s still mayor) had to pass three tests to win a stay and remain in power— until a judgment is made on his Jan. 7 appeal.

In order to win the stay Ford’s legal team had to prove that:

1. The case involves a serious question to be tried at appeal.

2. Refusing to grant the stay would cause Ford “irreparable harm.”

3. It is in the public’s best interest to do so.

“We have an elected official and we want to maintain the status quo so that the democratic way is maintained,” said Ford’s lawyer, Alan Lenczner, who looks and sounds a lot like Ron Paul.

Paul Madger’s lawyer, Clayton Ruby–the man responsible for the “Rob Ford did this to Rob Ford” axiom–didn’t say much at all,  because he too was in favour of the stay. In a press release issued yesterday he is quoted saying that he and Madger “are agreeing to this stay to give the city of Toronto a measure of stability, something that has been wholly absent during Mr. Ford’s term in office.” In other words, the best antidote to Ford-induced instability is more Ford. Makes perfect sense…

Ruby said that the third test–the public interest one– is the “most important.” He’s right. By-elections are expensive, and really, who cares what’s in Rob Ford’s best interest (test number two) when Rob Ford doesn’t even care what’s in Rob Ford’s best interest. Lucky for him, somebody does. Not just Don Cherry, but the judge presiding over today’s case:

Superior Court Justice Gladys Pardu declared that Ford’s case passed all three tests–yes, even number two (Ford “would suffer irreparable harm” were the stay not granted, she said).

She broke the news after a 30-minute recess. “There are serious issues to be determined in the appeal,” she said. “This is an appropriate case for a stay.”

It wouldn’t be a Rob Ford hearing, however, without a cycling activist.

Bob Brent, a Toronto-based “cycling and public transportation advocate” was sitting on the same bench as me. “I came as an observer,” he said. “He’s [Ford’s] come out with bozo bike statements, he has a real simple view of the world…he’s plunged the city into dysfunction.” Brent believes the court granted the stay partially because it “doesn’t want to be perceived as activist.” He hopes that Toronto’s next mayor will be “a collaborative mayor, like a Mel Lastman.”

Ford wasn’t in court today. But he looked relieved talking to reporters outside City Hall. “I’m very pleased with today’s decision,” he said.  “And I can’t wait for the appeal, and I’m going to carry on doing what the people elected me to do.”

And invariably, what they didn’t.




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