Rob Ford did something stupid, yesterday he was severely punished. The judge based his decision on a sort of the uglier ‘whole picture’ of Ford, instead of this case as just an anomaly and found him guilty. He had his hands tied by the law; stripping him of his office was the only punishment that could be handed out by the letter of the law. And that’s how Toronto now has no mayor to speak of.
Ford reacted in his typical fashion blaming the “leftists” on Council. But in reading this morning about Paul Magder, and Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler he may have a point. Chaleff-Freudenthaler has a long history around City Council; he served in the Mayor’s Youth cabinet, has a failed campaign for trustee, and has served on the Library board as well. As a member of the Library Board, he opposed the Ford cuts. Supposedly he, and Joe Mehevek also have a life-long relationship going back to Chaleff-Freudenthaler’s childhood. So, a known opponent of the budget cuts brings a conflict of interest charge against the Mayor, how can that not have political undertones? Not to mention the fact I haven’t heard of Chaleff-Freudenthaler, or ever seen Magder until the last couple of days. If you’re going to take down a sitting Mayor, it’d be nice to see your face every so often.
Ford is the author of his own demise here; he could’ve just paid the money back and apologized, but he didn’t. However something reeks about this situation. I can’t decide whether it’s the sense that politics played a larger role than anyone will admit, or the fact that an unelected judge has just fired the duly elected mayor of Canada’s largest city. It could also be the feeling that the punishment is probably too severe for the crime. It might even be the fact that two so-called “citizen activists” can use the judicial system, to take down a Mayor. And that has set a precedent here.
The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Stripping him of his office further destabilizes an already unstable council. The fact it ended with Ford’s removal indicates a need to look at introducing a middle ground in terms of punishment I think. I’d maybe look at a court order to pay the cash back, or a temporary suspension for Ford without pay. I think it also wouldn’t hurt to have a look at the City Of Toronto Act. I’d look at adding a Council/ Mayoral Code of Conduct, with penalties for breaking it. The legislation as it is now leaves it to Council, and that hasn’t exactly worked out.
Something reeks in the State of Toronto, and it’s up to City Council now to clear up the stench.