ABOVE: Province and City essentially powerless to force Ford from office. Alan Carter reports.
TORONTO – Mayor Rob Ford refused to resign Thursday. But can anything be done to force him out of office?
Short Answer: No. Unless he is incarcerated.
Ford made the announcement Thursday afternoon, almost four hours after Police Chief Bill Blair announced he’d seen a video of Ford whose contents was consistent with images “previously reported in the press.”
“I have no reason to resign,” Ford told reporters outside his City Hall office. “I’m going to go back and return my phone calls, I’m going to be out doing what the people elected me to do. And that’s save taxpayers money.”
And if the mayor won’t resign, city council can’t force him to. Premier Kathleen Wynne avoided commenting directly on Ford but did say “it’s up to the justice system to deal with the issues.”
The justice system may be the only way to remove Ford from office.
Read more: Complete coverage of the Rob Ford story
“There’s certainly no mechanism in law that would require the mayor to stand aside,” Toronto-based municipal law expert Stephen D’Agostino said in an interview Thursday.
However, D’Agostino noted: “If the mayor were to become incarcerated, if he were charged and convicted of a crime that required incarceration, then he would no longer be eligible to be an elected official.”
Police seized the video during the Project Traveller raids in June. It had been deleted from its hard drive but police forensic officers were able to recover it.
“It’s safe to say the mayor does appear in the video,” Blair said Thursday.