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Thread: Mayor Rob Ford's Toronto

  1. #6061

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    Quote Originally Posted by GraphicMatt View Post
    this ultimately about a guy raising money for a football charity.
    Actually, it is about a guy violating the law to avoid paying back over $3,000 that he improperly collected. I understand that that spin will be about the charity, but this is not about that -- it is about what borders on corruption, and certainly abuse of power.

    I sympathize with the notion that this isn't the political win that ideally progressives would get. But I think it would also be a grave error not to pursue what seems a clear violation of the law just because this isn't an ideal win. Do you really want to let Ford abuse the rules at will, and only fight him in the court of public opinion?


  2. #6062
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    As much as I am not a Ford fan, I think that the punishment may be out of proportion to the offense. Technically, he might be formally guilty. However, I really don't think the guy was acting in bad faith or malevolently, or trying to pull a fast one - this particular time, anyway. I think that this, like so many of his errors happened because he is forthrightly stupid.

    I think that the punishment should be in proportion to the crime. If he had been trying to do something more harmful and covert, I think we'd have a real problem worthy of his losing his position. As others here have stated - despite the law being coldly correct, this is not going to go over well. It will add tons of fuel to the 'everyman' fire, the 'red tape' scare, the notion that City Hall is an inhumane, impersonal setup designed by eggheads and maintained by bureaucrats to trip up the little guy with heart.
    That said, if he's guilty of breaking the law as it stands, so be it. I imagine public opinion will be soothed in the next few years if someone like Holyday more calmly and clearly is steering the ship.

    Watching Ford reminds me of that old SNL skit, "Lone Wolf McCord" - a send up of Chuck Norris movies. Pulled before the court for repeatedly breaking the law, McCord is in tears and sobs, "I don't want to be a lone wolf...but...the rules are so hard to follow!"

    I think the real problem here is that he has not been properly called on any of the verifiable problems he has been causing since he got into office. From the Transit City cancellation debacle, with it's attendant fees and terrible confusion, to having Don Cherry alienate half the city for him and disgrace the council chamber, to the hackwork service cuts and wretched budget drama, his forcible alienation of the LGBT community, the public firing of Gary Webster. etc., etc. Too much to list right now. However, I would rather see him be in court over, say, Transit City cancellation fees and suppressing the Sheppard report, than a doltish issue like this. It's like nabbing Al Capone for not getting a lemonade stand permit.

    That said - Ford uses stupidity, his gut feelings and his bumbling hoser-elite persona to get away with a lot. If he's called on this I won't shed any tears. It's a cold way to go. In truth, I feel kind of sorry for the guy. I think he's in way over his head. However, Conservative or Liberal, we badly need someone in office who knows how to think, speak and act.
    Last edited by CanadianNational; 2012-Mar-12 at 15:17.

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    Just speculating here, but the knives might be out for Ford while the right pushes a new candidate for mayor. It's no secret that Ford very likely cost them the provincial election (or at least was a factor) and he could be a major detriment to Harper in the future. The federal Cons, opportunists to the end, might rightly see him as a liability and try to run a more palatable right-winger in 2015.

  4. #6064

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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianNational View Post
    As much as I am not a Ford fan, I think that the punishment may be out of proportion to the offense.
    But the punishment is set by the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act -- if there is a problem with proportionality, blame Queen's Park.

    Technically, he might be formally guilty. However, I really don't think the guy was acting in bad faith or malevolently, or trying to pull a fast one - this particular time, anyway. I think that this, like so many of his errors happened because he is forthrightly stupid.
    That's supposed to be a defence -- a man who has served in city council for 12 years is too stupid to have learned the basic conflict of interest laws?

    I really do get that the optics of this is not good, but it is also terrible optics to let a mayor get away with this kind of abuse of power, whatever their political stripe. And it would be an especially bad precedent for someone who otherwise shows such blatant disregard for procedure and rules -- if not this issue, then what? What kind of violation would be appropriate to pursue?

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    The argument about ignorance has no merit here. He was warned and acknowledged these warnings many times.

  6. #6066
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    That's supposed to be a defence -- a man who has served in city council for 12 years is too stupid to have learned the basic conflict of interest laws?
    Well, that's a good point.

    I'm not defending any breakage of the law. I was thinking more along the lines that perhaps the punishment should be more gradually shaded than all or nothing, depending on the severity of the crime. Yes, I would look to Queen's Park for that.

    I believe that Ford's cretinous idiocy is as stalwart as it is continuous. I believe he was stupid enough to not fully understand or care about the law's proper application from issue to issue. But, now that you mention it, yes - maybe he was trying to pull another fast one. I seem to have deliberately forgotten that he's been with us all this time.
    Correcting him on this would be an excellent instructional for those seeking office as well - much as watching council re-assert itself over the transit issue has been an instructive and reassuring exercise.
    Last edited by CanadianNational; 2012-Mar-12 at 15:57.

  7. #6067

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice_Burn View Post
    The argument about ignorance has no merit here. He was warned and acknowledged these warnings many times.
    The issue isn't whether he knew that his solicitation of donations was improper, which is what the linked article addresses. The legal point is instead whether he knew that him voting on whether he had to return the money was a conflict of interest. You'd think that the answer would be obvious to practically any novice chess club president, much less someone who had spent 12 years on the council of a city of 3 million people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tulse View Post
    The issue isn't whether he knew that his solicitation of donations was improper, which is what the linked article addresses. The legal point is instead whether he knew that him voting on whether he had to return the money was a conflict of interest. You'd think that the answer would be obvious to practically any novice chess club president, much less someone who had spent 12 years on the council of a city of 3 million people.
    I believe he's recused himself from votes where he had a conflict of interest in the past (according to the OpenFile article) so that argument gets tossed as well.

  9. #6069

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice_Burn View Post
    I believe he's recused himself from votes where he had a conflict of interest in the past (according to the OpenFile article) so that argument gets tossed as well.
    That is my understanding as well -- I was speaking to the (admittedly very narrow) issue of whether the linked-to article was germane to the specific legal issue at hand. It may seem picky, but it's important to be very precise where the law is concerned (especially when the issue is so politically charged).

  10. #6070
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice_Burn View Post
    The argument about ignorance has no merit here. He was warned and acknowledged these warnings many times.
    Just to clarify: this isn't about whether Ford was right to accept donations for his football charity from lobbyists. Instead, this is about whether Ford violated conflict of interest laws when he neglected to recuse himself from the debate and vote on the integrity commissioner item relating to the charitable donations.

    It's an important distinction.

    I'm not a judge or a lawyer, but I'm reluctant to believe that Ford sat in council that day and decided to purposefully ignore conflict of interest guidelines. He had no real motive to do that -- he wasn't going to lose this vote either way.

    He either got bad advice from staff or made a dumb judgment call. Either way, I don't believe he should be removed from office because of this.

  11. #6071

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    Quote Originally Posted by GraphicMatt View Post
    He either got bad advice from staff or made a dumb judgment call.
    I seriously don't see how either of those is a plausible defence. Ford has been on city council for 12 years. Surely he should realize that him voting on whether he should personally pay back money is a dumbfoundingly obvious conflict of interest.

    I don't believe he should be removed from office because of this.
    I don't necessarily disagree, but that is completely irrelevant as to the legal issue of whether he broke the law. It's not right to say that someone isn't guilty of something just because you don't like the punishment. In my view, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act is probably too inflexible, but at the same time, the law is the law, and it would be a terrible precedent to let a mayor get away with amounts to illegal corruption and abuse of power (however minor they may seem).

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    I'm not defending any breakage of the law. I was thinking more along the lines that perhaps the punishment should be more gradually shaded than all or nothing, depending on the severity of the crime.
    I don't think getting fired is "all or nothing". Getting fired from your job in this case would be "with cause", and perfectly appropriate. Some people go to prison for breaking the law. Unlike Ford firing Webster "without" cause, just because there was a clause in his contract that allowed them to do it (with a golden handshake of course).

  13. #6073
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    If Ford loses the mayoral seat, what is the likelihood that we see a softer Conservative win?

  14. #6074

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tulse View Post
    The issue isn't whether he knew that his solicitation of donations was improper, which is what the linked article addresses. The legal point is instead whether he knew that him voting on whether he had to return the money was a conflict of interest. You'd think that the answer would be obvious to practically any novice chess club president, much less someone who had spent 12 years on the council of a city of 3 million people.
    Exactly, thats the issue, not the fact he used city letterhead to raise money. But the real issue will get lost

  15. #6075

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    Hopefully the case will end without Ford being pushed out of office, and that it'll just tie up his hands for the next while or so.

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