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Rob Ford vows to run again for mayor if court dismisses him

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks at a press conference following a meeting with Premier Dalton McGuinty to discuss the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy. The mayor says he is committed to stamping out gun violence in the city.

Michelle Siu/THE CANADIAN PRESS

If Toronto mayor Rob Ford is booted from office for flouting conflict-of-interest rules, he will try to get his old job back as soon as the law allows.

"If they dismiss me from office ... I will be running again," Mr. Ford told CP24 host Stephen LeDrew on Wednesday. "If the judge says I can run again and I lose my job, I guarantee I'll just say, 'When's the next election?' because I'll be running for mayor. The next day, I'll start campaigning again, for sure."

The Mayor dismissed as "all politics" a lawsuit that alleges he broke the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act by addressing and voting on an issue related to his personal football foundation.

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On Feb. 7, city council voted to reverse an earlier decision ordering Mr. Ford to repay out of his own pocket $3,150 in donations that the Rob Ford Football Foundation had received from lobbyists, their clients and a corporation that does business with the city.

Council voted 22-12 to drop the penalty.

Instead of recusing himself from the debate and vote, Mr. Ford delivered a passionate defence of his football charity and voted with the majority to let himself off the hook.

Mr. Ford is scheduled to testify at a legal hearing beginning next Wednesday. He will be grilled by renowned criminal lawyer Clayton Ruby, who took on the case pro bono on behalf of a politically active resident with ties to opponents of the mayor.

"I can't really get into it, but it is all politics," Mr. Ford said on CP24.

"I truly believe that. I've fund-raised probably close to $50,000, $60,000, $70,000. I don't know what the number is. But I know I've started off about 13 football programs in high-needs areas and underprivileged areas where the kids need the most help and it's been very, very successful."

If the Ottawa judge overseeing the case concludes Mr. Ford broke the law, the mayor would automatically lose his job.

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The judge has the latitude to bar Mr. Ford from running again for up to seven years.

If the court finds the mayor guilty but does not impose a ban, Mr. Ford could toss his hat into the ring for a possible by-election.

Council would decide whether to appoint a replacement to serve out Mr. Ford's term, or call a mayoral by-election.

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Health reporter

Kelly Grant is a health reporter with The Globe and Mail. More

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