Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was on hand to welcome 40 new Toronto firefighters hired on to the city.
Credits: Dave ThomasToronto Sun/QMI Agency
The fact Mayor Rob Ford exceeded his campaign spending limit in the 2010 mayoral race by 3% — $40,000 on a $1.3 million budget — hardly sounds like a firing offence.
A compliance audit of the type released Friday by Froese Forensic Partners on the Ford campaign would no doubt find some spending irregularities in most political campaigns. By their very nature, election campaigns don’t lend themselves to perfect record-keeping.
That said, the auditors also found a number of other “apparent contraventions” of the Municipal Elections Act — including improper loans to the campaign from Ford family businesses, inappropriate corporate donations totaling $6,000, some individual cash donations above the $25 limit, and fundraising events in which no costs were recorded.
These findings will all be turned over to an independent, three-person compliance audit committee later this month, to determine if non-criminal charges should be laid against Ford for violating the Municipal Elections Act.
While proven offences could result in Ford’s removal from office, historically this is rare.
Unlike the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, this legislation has a broad range of lesser penalties that can be imposed.
In any event, there is a process in place for dealing with these issues and it is going to take months to play itself out.
In the interim, Ford remains mayor and needs to focus, along with council, on what taxpayers really care about — ensuring that Toronto’s annual $9.4-billion budget gives them good value for money spent.
We don’t need a repeat of the months-long circus that only ended last week when a three-judge Divisional Court panel overturned an earlier decision by a judge to remove Ford from office for violating the MCIA.
Finally, let’s not kid the troops.
Everyone knows these legal attacks on Ford are being fueled by a small group of left-wing political activists who are attempting to do through the law what they were unable to do at the polls in 2010 — defeat Ford.
While they are within their rights to do so, enough is enough.There is a legal process for dealing with these latest controversies. It should be followed. But it’s long past time for everyone at City Hall to get back to work.