Photo by Cheol Joon Baek.
In case you hadn't heard, on Friday Rob Ford won the appeal of the conflict of interest ruling that booted him out of office last fall.
An hour after the news broke, the mayor held a press conference at City Hall where he told assembled reporters that he had been chastened by his legal ordeal. But he also explained that the biggest lesson he's taking away from the experience is that he is still popular among Toronto voters.
"I'd like to begin by saying this has been a very, very humbling experience," he said. "I have enormous respect for the judicial system, and I'm very, very thankful for the decision they've made today."
Flanked by his brother, Counicllor Doug Ford, and Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, Ford thanked his family and his supporters, and said he was looking forward not only to finishing his current term but also securing a second so that he could "continue fighting for the great people of this city for the next six years."
As his job hung in the balance the past two months, many at City Hall, including his council allies, had said they hoped that Ford would learn to avoid the kind of missteps that landed him in legal trouble.
But anyone who thought the mayor might commit to changing his ways on Friday might have been disappointed.
One reporter asked what he's learned from the court case that almost cost him his job.
"What I've learned is, there's so much support from the people out there," he responded, "even a lot of whom said, ‘I didn't support you the last time, but you've proved me wrong.' They weren't happy with how the first [court] decision was made.
"I want to thank them. It's very humbling to know how many people out there supported me, and support their city."
Ford said he believed "95 per cent of the people out there" backed him during the conflict case.
Meanwhile, Clayton Ruby, the lawyer who represented Toronto resident Paul Magder against Ford, issued a press release declaring he wasn't giving up the fight to have the mayor removed from office.
"The Court has let Rob Ford off on a technicality," the release said. "We find that disappointing, particularly since the Court found that Mr. Paul Magder was right on the facts."
Ruby intends to ask the Supreme Court to review the appeal verdict, although many experts say it is unlikely the court will agree to hear the case.