Ford eligible to run in byelection

The judge who ordered Rob Ford removed from office over a conflict of interest violation has specified the mayor can run if council calls a byelection to fill the vacancy, the mayor's spokesman said Friday.

George Christopoulos said Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland issued the clarification in a call with lawyers.

"From my understanding from our lawyers, Justice Hackland's decision was not intended to preclude the mayor from running in a byelection or holding office before 2014," Christopoulos told The Canadian Press.

"There's also an appeal process that we're moving through."

There had been some confusion since Hackland's decision on Monday as to whether the mayor was eligible to run in a byelection, should Ford's appeal fail and council call one.

In his decision, Hackland booted Ford from office for breaking conflict of interest rules for taking part in a council vote on an issue in which he had a financial interest.

Hackland said Ford could not run again for the "current term."

Some, such as the city's top lawyer and Clayton Ruby, who acted for the businessman who brought the action against the mayor, took that to mean Ford could not run until the end of the current council term in 2014.

However, Ford and supporters argued his term would end with his expulsion from office, if the pending appeal fails, meaning he would be eligible to run in any byelection.

Hackland's clarification apparently now omits any reference to a term.

In a brief interview, Ruby refused to discuss the clarification.

"I can't comment at all," he said.

"There's an appeal pending, there's a stay pending, and it's just not appropriate to comment."

Next week, Divisional Court is expected to hear Ford's application for a stay of Hackland's judgment -- which the justice put on hold for 14 days -- until the appeal has been dealt with.

The full appeal is expected to be heard Jan. 7.

Christopoulos said he could not discuss the issue any further given that Ford's position as mayor is before the courts.

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