Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks at city hall in Toronto, November 26, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/MARK BLINCH
TORONTO -- You'll have to pry his fingers off the chain of office, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said Monday.
"I'm going to fight tooth and nail to hold on to my job," Ford said after a judge ordered him removed from office for a conflict of interest.
"If they do for some reason get me out, I'll be running right back at them. As soon as the next election is, if it's a byelection, I'll have my name on the ballot.
"I'm going to appeal it and carry on with my job."
Justice Charles Hackland suspended his ruling for 14 days to give the city time to sort out what happens next, which is far from clear. Ford would need to win a judicial stay to remain in office while that appeal is heard.
Ford left no doubt about who he holds responsible for his unprecedented situation, which threw an already chaotic city hall into more confusion and turmoil.
"This comes down to left-wing politics," Ford said. "The left wing wants me out of here and will do anything in their power.
"I'm going to fight for the taxpayers of this city like I always have. The calls are coming in fast and furious, telling me to fight it, telling me to run. I'll never give up fighting for the taxpayers."
He might be looking over his shoulder, though, to see if anyone is following him -- his already shaky control of council slipped further with the departure of Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti from his executive committee.
Clayton Ruby, the lawyer who argued the conflict-of-interest case against Ford, said the fiscally conservative mayor need only look in the mirror for the man responsible for his downfall.
"Rob Ford did this to Rob Ford," Ruby insisted Monday. "It could have been avoided had Rob Ford used a bit of common sense and if he had played by the rules."
Hackland's ruling turned on why Ford voted and argued in his own defence during a February council debate on whether to accept an integrity commissioner report into his own behaviour.
That report ordered Ford to repay $3,150 in donations to his football charity, which he had improperly solicited on city letterhead.
Ford's lawyer, Alan Lenczner, had argued at the trial in September that Ford made an honest error of judgment.
Hackland said in his ruling, "It is difficult to accept an error in judgment defence based essentially on a stubborn sense of entitlement and a dismissive and confrontational attitude to the integrity commissioner.
"In my opinion, the respondent's actions were characterized by ignorance of the law and a lack of diligence in securing professional advice, amounting to wilful blindness."
Hackland also dismissed arguments Lenczner advanced about the jurisdiction of the integrity commissioner and the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.