Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he will be in court Monday for his last-ditch fight to stay in office, but he was coy about whether he’d prefer to be appointed mayor or run in a by-election if he loses the appeal of his conflict of interest conviction.
He told reporters Friday an appointment would save taxpayers’ dollars.
“Regardless of what happens, I guarantee I’ll be running in the next municipal election, whether it be a by-election or the 2014 election,” Mr. Ford told reporters at the opening of the Earl Bales Ski and Snowboard Centre’s new ski lift.
In December, Mr. Justice Charles Hackland of the Ontario Superior Court ordered that Mr. Ford be removed from office after concluding he violated Ontario’s conflict-of-interest law when, at a council meeting last February, the mayor spoke to and voted on a motion that excused him from repaying $3,150 in improper donations to his football foundation.
Mr. Ford won a stay of Judge Hackland’s decision until a three-judge panel rules on his appeal.
If Mr. Ford’s appeal is successful, he’ll remain mayor. If not, council will have to decide whether to call a $7-million by-election or appoint a replacement to serve until the next general election on Oct. 27, 2014. Council could choose to apppoint Mr. Ford, or someone else.
If they decide on an appointment, Mr. Ford said “obviously that would save a lot of money,” although he said the decision is “whatever council wants.”
Mr. Ford had little to say to reporters about Jose Canseco, the former Blue Jays slugger who threw his hat in the mayoral race early Friday morning via Twitter.
In a back-and-forth on Twitter with Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale just after midnight, Mr. Canseco wrote: “Ford too much trouble to be effective gotta (sic) fix budget, traffic, get new $ not from taxes, get more businesses, and help schools.”
Mr. Canseco’s dreams to “fix” the city were short-lived though and the former American League rookie of the year, who has previously admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs and recently filed for bankruptcy protection in Nevada, reportedly withdrew his candidacy via email to Mr. Dale because of “the citizen thing” a little over 12 hours after his original announcement.
Although, in a post to his Twitter page Friday afternoon, Mr. Canseco wrote, “Need exact guidelines of what I need to run for Toronto mayor and how long it takes to claim residency. #yeswecanseco.”
Regardless, Mr. Ford said he’s not going to underestimate potential competition. “I guarantee my name will be on that ballot for mayor and… whoever wants to run I encourage them to run,” he said.
In between talking to young skiers and snowboarders on the hill and reminding them to “ensure you wear a helmet and play safe,” Mr. Ford also told reporters he doesn’t intend to take the two per cent pay salary increase for councillors that’s included in the city’s 2013 budget.
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