The Ontario law that forced Toronto Mayor Rob Ford out of office is now under scrutiny, having been called a Draconian and unfair law that offers punishment that doesn't fit the crime.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland, the same judge who presided over Ford's case, called the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA) "a very blunt instrument that's attracted justified criticism."
In 2010, Ford used his status at the time as a city councillor to raise money for his football charity, Toronto's Integrity Commissioner reported.
The commission requested that Ford pay back the sum of the $3,150 raised, but he refused.
Ford was found to be in a monetary conflict of interest, even though he did not profit from the money directly.
The issue then came before city council and on Feb. 7, the mayor was part of a council vote that sought to remove his duty to pay that sum.
The act does not allow the person involved in the conflict of interest to discuss the matter, so the fact that Ford spoke and voted on the issue at council went against the law.
Although it is clear the law was followed to the letter, lawyer Stephen D'Agostino and others are arguing that the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act is a law that now needs to be changed.
"Essentially what the act says is one strike and you're out," D'Agostino said. "There's a lot of difficulties with it, not only the severity of the penalty for small cases of conflict."
Lawyer Maureen Whelton agrees.
"It needs to have a result other than the seat shall be declared vacant," Whelton said. "It needs to have another option for the court."
Paul Magder, the man who brought forward the lawsuit against Ford, told CBC's Power and Politics on Tuesday that perhaps the law was put in place for a reason.
But when asked if the punishment for Ford was fitting to the crime, Magder said he wasn't sure.
"I believe that's what the rule is. I'm not sure if it fits the offence, but that's what it is," he said.
"The fact that the law is written so that the consequences are the vacating of that seat, of the mayor’s seat … I don’t know why it's so extreme, but if it had been something else, then he would have had to pay whatever the penalty was."
Myer Siemiatycki, a political scientist from Ryerson University, argued that the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act is exactly what it needs to be.
"I actually think the act gets it right in the kind of zero tolerance approach it takes," Siemiatycki said.
Ford is not the only municipal leader facing such a tough ruling. Hazel McCallion, who has been the mayor of Mississauga, Ont., for 33 years, is also in the middle of a court case under the same conflict of interest legislation.
The Ontario government is currently reviewing the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, but a spokesperson says they will not be expediting the review as a result of the Ford case.
Related on HuffPost:
Sorry this #fordcourt verdict is taking so long. The judge was coaching football this morning and will get around to it soon.
Rob Ford got kicked out of mayors office? WOWWWWW!! Hes hopping on that gravy train right back home.
rip rob ford. stung by a hoard of vicious gravy wasps.
Now I await all Rob Ford memes. #topoli #comeatmebro
Oh, my. Rob Ford has been removed from his office as mayor. Toronto politics just got rather interesting. http://t.co/Ltpmkac6
Rob Ford needs new business cards asap!
Terrifying thought: Governor of the Bank of Canada job is open. Rob Ford is looking for a job. ARRGGHHH! #Cdnpoli
The Globe and Mail
BREAKING: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford found guilty of violating conflict of interest act, removed from office http://t.co/o0BBzIgp #topoli
#topoli Imagine if #toronto invested as much time and attention to transit financing as we spend distracted by @TOMayorFord latest antics.
Its a sad day for hard working comedians throughout Toronto. It appears Rob Ford's been booted from office (pending appeal) #RobFord #TOpoli
No more coach/mayor Ford! #topoli
How does it work in TO when a mayor finishes early? Is there a bielection or will the deputy step up as acting mayor? #fordcourt #TOpoli
Very exciting day in Toronto- and it has nothing to do with football. Let's fix this and make sure it never happens again. #TOpoli
Hey #Toronto, #RobFord might be out of office now so get yourselves educated about the issues and make informed choices. #topoli #onpoli
Who's going to drive the gravy train in the parade :(. #TOpoli #RobFord
Watching the Rob Ford circus is more fun, but Carney leaving Canada for England is bigger and more important news #topoli
Oh boy - we're gonna see Jabba the Mayor kick it into serious victim mode now! #RobFord #TOpoli
Jam Michael McDonald
Also, Rob Ford is trending worldwide. (Let's hope just this once and never again.) #TOpoli
If Rob Ford and Dalton McGuinty just traded positions, Toronto would have subways all over the place. #topoli #onpoli
I wonder if Rob Ford will appeal the decision or leave quietly with his last shred of dignity. #TOpoli
On the otherhand Doug Holyday will make an excellent Interim Mayor for #toronto #topoli #tocouncil
Let's hope Ford can and does run again soon. Then Toronto can turf his partisan, ignorant ass in the most clearly democratic manner. #TOPoli
Have You Driven a Ford (out of office) Lately? #topoli #fordcourt