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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Removed From Office

Rob Ford when running for mayor in 2012
Rob Ford when running for mayor in 2012. Image: Shaun Merritt

A judge has ruled that the mayor of one of the largest cities in North America has to step down.

Toronto’s Mayor, Rob Ford, has been removed from office–in other words, forced to stop being the mayor. The judge’s decision takes effect two weeks from now. That’s when Ford must be out of his office.

Ford was elected in 2010 and had another two years to go, in his term as mayor.

Ford was found to have violated “conflict of interest” laws. That’s because when Ford was a councillor, he raised some money for the football team he coaches, using City Hall stationery. The city’s integrity commissioner — the person who advises elected officials about ethics — told Ford he had to give the money back. Ford refused.

When he became mayor, Ford asked council to reverse the decision. In other words, he asked councillors to vote to let him keep the money and not have to give it back. Ford also voted in that vote (although it would have passed even without his vote).

The judge said that the mayor voting in this way was a conflict of interest. (You can read more details here.)

The judge then removed the mayor from office. Ford won’t be able to finish out his term of office, and he won’t be able to sign up for re-election during that time. He will be allowed to run for re-election after two years.

The mayor said he will appeal the ruling and he’ll fight to keep his job. In an “appeal,” the person who lost asks the judge to reconsider his decision, often on the basis of legal technicalities.

Ford blamed “left-wing” politics for the decision. He said the people who don’t like him “want me out of here.” He said, “I’m going to fight tooth and nail to hold onto my job.” He said if he isn’t able to keep his job, he’ll “be running right back as soon as the next election is… I’ll have my name (as the) first one on the ballot.”

One of the mayor’s opponents on Toronto council is councillor Joe Mihevc, who told reporters, “Justice was done. There is not a law for people with power and those who don’t have power–it’s the same law. If you are the mayor of this city you have to respect conflict of interest legislation.”

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said he’s worried about what will happen to the city, with the mayor gone. “We’ve got to figure out how to come together and run the city and we’ve got to do that together as a council,” he told reporters.

In the next two weeks, councillors will have to figure out how to run the city. There are a number of possible options, including appointing an “interim” or “caretaker” mayor who would run the city for the next two years; Rob Ford could be granted a “stay” of the ruling, which would allow him to continue being mayor while he’s appealing the ruling; or the city’s Deputy Mayor could be asked to fill in for Ford.

No one’s quite sure what will happen, but all eyes will be on Toronto’s City Hall as the situation unfolds.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
When discussing this situation, lawyer Clayton Ruby, explained that “Rob Ford did this to Rob Ford.”

Rob Ford, however, disagrees and says that people who have “left-wing” political beliefs are to blame for this decision.

Who do you agree with? Do you think the issue is two-sided or are there other angles to consider?

Reading Prompt: Demonstrating Understanding
This situation is quite complex. In order to make sure you understand the story, retell this article in 5 sentences. Make sure to include the main idea and at least two supporting details.

Demonstrate understanding of a variety of texts by summarizing important ideas and citing supporting details (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex texts by summarizing important ideas and citing a variety of details that support the main idea (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Grammar Feature: Synonyms
Synonyms are words that are different but have similar meanings. There are synonyms in this article to describe Rob Ford’s situation. For example,

“Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Removed from Office.”
“A judge has ruled that the mayor of one of the largest cities in North America has to step down.”
“Toronto’s Mayor, Rob Ford, has been removed from office–in other words, forced to stop being the mayor.

What other synonyms can you think of to describe Rob Ford’s circumstances.