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Mayor Rob Ford granted stay of ouster from office today

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford faces media in Toronto on Wednesday December 5, 2012, after learning a judge's decision to grant him a stay while he appeals an earlier court decision to eject him from office. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO - Mayor Rob Ford can stay in office for the time being, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Divisional Court Justice Gladys Pardu took about 30 minutes before granting Ford a stay of his ouster to allow his appeal to play out.

"You've got to always, always be prepared for the worst," Ford said after the decision.

"I'm just very glad I got the stay."

In putting the ouster on hold, Pardu said it was clear Ford would suffer irreparable harm if he was thrown out of office and subsequently won the appeal.

There was also no issue of corruption at play, she said.

Last week, Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland ordered Ford removed from office for violating conflict of interest laws by voting on a matter in which he had a financial interest.

The vote was on whether the mayor should repay $3,150 he had solicited from lobbyists for his private football foundation using official city letterhead.

Hackland put his ruling on hold for 14 days to allow the city to make arrangements.

Ford's lawyer, Alan Lenczner, spent about 15 minutes urging the stay, arguing among other things that Hackland's ruling was flawed.

He argued that Ford's decision to take part in the council vote was a genuine error in judgment or simply an honest mistake — something Hackland had rejected.

Clayton Ruby, the lawyer who brought the action against Ford on behalf of city resident Paul Magder, did not oppose the stay request, saying it was in the public interest to grant it.

If Ford loses his appeal — expected to be heard January 7 — he has said he will run in a byelection if council chooses to call one.

"I'm looking forward to the appeal," Ford said. "I can't wait until January 7th."

Council has the option to appoint an interim mayor to do the job until the next municipal election in 2014 or call a byelection at an estimated cost of $7 million.


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