Toronto Mayor Rob Ford "can't wait" for the appeal of a judicial order to vacate his seat after today's granting of a stay of the judgment.
Justice Gladys Pardu on Wednesday granted Ford's application to stay last week's ruling that he vacate his seat. Pardu's ruling means Ford can keep his job until the appeal process concludes.
"I’m just very glad I got the stay today. I can’t wait for the appeal," Ford told reporters immediately after the decision was released.
"I’m moving forward, returning calls and meeting with people and running this city just like people elected me to do."
When asked how much this legal battle is costing him, Ford replied, "Don't worry about it, it doesn't matter."
Ford's appeal of the removal order issued by Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles T. Hackland will be heard in Ontario Divisional Court on Jan. 7, with a decision expected soon after.
'Serious issues' to be heard in appeal
Pardu wrote in her ruling that she believes "the appeal is neither frivolous nor vexatious. It is apparent that there are serious issues to be determined on the appeal."
She wrote that it wouldn't be appropriate for her to "enter upon a prolonged discussion of the merits of the appeal."
The decision to grant the stay until the appeal is heard does not mean there will be any harm to the public interest, Pardu wrote.
"Stress is an understatement, but we’re going to move forward for the City of Toronto," said Rob Ford's brother, Coun. Doug Ford, when asked about the effect of the legal process on the mayor.
"There’s still a tremendous amount of work to be done at city hall."
Coun. Adam Vaughan, a vocal critic of the mayor, said Ford is not delivering the leadership the city needs.
"People are asking for some clarity, for some strong, intelligent leadership," he said. "Quite frankly they’re tired of a mayor who’s either on the football sidelines or the judge’s chamber."
Complainant doesn't object to stay
The application to stay the ruling was not opposed by Paul Magder, who lodged the complaint that led to Hackland's order, or by Clayton Ruby, his lawyer.
Magder argued Ford broke the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act by taking part in a February council vote that absolved him from paying back $3,150 he had solicited for his football foundation from lobbyists.
Hackland said in his ruling last week that Ford's actions amounted to "wilful blindness."
If Ford's stay application had been unsuccessful, he would have had to relinquish the mayoral position on Monday. Council would then have had to declare his seat vacant, and would have had 60 days to either appoint a new mayor or call a byelection.
Hackland has ruled Ford would be eligible to run in a byelection if he loses his appeal and council does not appoint an interim mayor.
"We believe in democracy, that the people elect our leaders. We’re going to bring it to the people if the appeal doesn't go through," Doug Ford said.