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Ford wants snap council meeting to address Holyday vacancy

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford does the gravity test on a Blizzard, during an event for Dairy Queen's Miracle Treat Day in support of the Children's Miracle Network, August 8, 2013, in a Toronto Dairy Queen. Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson and six year old Sarah Watkin, the ambassador of SickKids, were also in attendance.

Brett Gundlock/The Globe and Mail

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford wants to call a snap council meeting later this month to fill the vacancy created by Doug Holyday's provincial by-election victory last week.

Mr. Ford has been clear he favours letting Ward 3 voters, rather than city council, pick Mr. Holyday's replacement. At a charity event Thursday where he served up Dairy Queen ice cream with newly acquired Maple Leaf David Clarkson, Mr. Ford said he does not want to wait until the next regular council meeting in October to decide how the new councillor will be chosen.

"Hopefully we can get a special council meeting in August and deal with this as soon as possible," Mr. Ford said.

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Getting quorum for such an impromptu meeting in mid-summer will be a challenge, but the mayor speculated that some councillors might cut short summer holidays for the vote. "We've got to see if people are here," he said. "We are going to have to bring some people back from vacation and deal with it."

Mr. Holyday won a tight race as the Tory candidate in Etobicoke-Lakeshore against fellow councillor Peter Milczyn. His council seat is expected to be declared vacant in the coming weeks.

Once that happens, council must vote on whether it wishes to appoint his replacement or call a by-election to fill the position. If council waits until its next meeting in October to make that decision, it would mean a possible by-election would be held less than one year before the 2014 municipal vote. Some councillors have said they are unwilling to spend money on a by-election when the winner would sit for less than a year in office.

Mr. Ford said a vote is the only way to decide. "I want a by-election. The people in Ward 3 want a by-election," he said. "I think it is only fair that the people of Ward 3 have their say on who they want."

Mr. Ford also was asked Thursday about his involvement in police investigations related to the drugs and gangs case known as "Project Traveller."

Earlier this week, the man linked to attempts to sell a video of Mr. Ford allegedly smoking crack cocaine appeared in court on weapons and drug charges as part of that investigation.

The mayor was asked if he has been questioned by police in relation to Project Traveller. "I am not going to comment on that," Mr. Ford said.

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Mr. Ford also indicated there is a chance he will be returning to coaching football this fall, telling reporters he has been approached by three Toronto high schools.

"Absolutely, I'm considering it. Absolutely," he said.

Mr. Ford was removed from his coaching duties at Don Bosco High School in May and banned from taking up that a similar post at any school in the Toronto Catholic board.

Mr. Ford's devotion to the game has caused tensions at city hall and at the school board. The mayor was criticized for skipping meetings for games and using city phones, cars and staff for his coaching efforts.

His removal from the post followed complaints from parents and teachers that Mr. Ford's repeated description in the media of his players as troubled teens from broken homes was damaging the school's image.

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