One day after a judge’s ruling ordered him out of office, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will try to enjoy a day drenched in football, a sport he loves but that played a key role in the conflict of interest case that led to his political fall.
Justice Charles T. Hackland ruled Monday that Ford’s council seat be vacated in the case that began when Ford solicited donations for his football foundation using city letterhead.
On Monday evening, hours after the ruling to oust Ford made international headlines and sparked a media frenzy at Toronto City Hall, Ford was seen wrapped in a hooded sweatshirt against near-zero temperatures while running a practice of the high school team he coaches, the Don Bosco Eagles.
Tuesday’s front page of the Toronto Sun continued the Ford-football theme, featuring a cartoon caricature of Ford tumbling head over heels Charlie Brown-style after a missed kick under the headline: "Good Grief." Playing the role of Lucy and snatching the football away at the last second was Hackland.
On Tuesday morning, Ford will help the city celebrate the Toronto Argonauts' Grey Cup win with a downtown parade that will end in a celebration at city hall. Ford will join the city to revel in Sunday’s victory, even though he officially has only 13 days left in office, pending any possible appeals or stay applications.
Ford's team plays in Metro Bowl tonight
On Tuesday night, Ford's team plays in the Metro Bowl, the citywide high school championship, which will be played on the same Rogers Centre field where the Argos captured the CFL championship.
In recent weeks, Ford has been criticized for leaving council meetings to coach his team. Earlier this month, football landed Ford in hot water again when he called the Toronto Transit Commission boss to request that a bus pick up his team after a near brawl broke out on the field. Paying passengers were asked to leave the bus in inclement weather to make the trip. TTC boss Andy Byford was not happy about the incident.
Things won't get any easier for Ford when city council meets Tuesday. Squabbling is sure to ensue as the budget process gets underway, as will the political manoeuvring as council members try to prepare for a possible future without Ford as mayor.
But like a quarterback back whose team needs a big play to save the game, Ford the football fan has vowed to continue fighting.
Ford has said he will contest Hackland's decision using every legal option available to him. He has also vowed to run again as soon as possible, whether that’s in a byelection or in the next municipal election in 2014.
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