Councillor Doug Ford is urging Toronto’s integrity commissioner to resign for her role in the chain of events that nearly ousted the mayor from office.
City council discussed a report from integrity commissioner Janet Leiper and the city solicitor on Thursday. The report was written in response to an appeal-court ruling that allowed Mayor Rob Ford to remain in office.
The mayor had been ordered removed in November for an earlier vote to let himself off the hook for failing to repay $3,150 in improper donations to his football foundation. The appeal court ruled last month that city council did not have the authority to order the mayor to pay back the money.
Councillor Doug Holyday, the deputy mayor, told council that Ms. Leiper – who recommended the mayor pay back the funds so as not to punish the charity – should apologize.
Councillor Ford later met with reporters and went one step further.
“If it was up to me, I’d ask her to step down,” Councillor Ford said. “Through her lack of due diligence, she has almost destroyed a family. The least she could do is apologize.”
Councillor Ford, who has been asked by the integrity commissioner to apologize for his conduct on multiple occasions, said there was no reason for the matter to ever go to court.
Mr. Holyday said there was also never any reason to make the mayor pay back the funds.
“There was no justification for the action that council took,” he said. “For that matter, the actions of the integrity commissioner also weren’t justified. I think at the very least, madam integrity commissioner, the mayor is owed an apology and he also might be owed some money,” he told council, with Ms. Leiper present.
The city solicitor told council the mayor could be reimbursed for his court costs if he files an application. He could also recover costs from the applicants in the case.
Clayton Ruby, the lawyer who led the charge against the mayor, has said he’ll seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. He has until late March to file an application.
Ms. Leiper declined to comment when approached by reporters.
Councillor Gord Perks told council he was “appalled” Mr. Holyday “would so profoundly misunderstand the importance of testing a new area of law in court.”
“It’s a difficult area of law, a new area of law, an area of law we’re still developing, we’re on the forefront of,” he said. He added that the fact the trial judge and appeal judges disagreed shows the complexity of the case.
Mr. Perks said the most egregious error was the mayor accepting improper donations for his charity in the first place.
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