Toronto Coun. Doug Ford would not rule out running to replace his brother as mayor if Rob Ford is barred from running as a candidate in a byelection ahead of the 2014 municipal election.
Rob Ford was ordered out of office on Monday after a judge ruled he violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.
The ruling allows Ford to remain mayor for another 12 days, but he can apply for a stay or appeal the judge’s decision.
If those moves fail to keep Ford in the mayor’s chair, city council has the option of appointing a new mayor or calling a byelection to replace him.
On Wednesday, Doug Ford would not confirm or deny a report in the Toronto Star that he would seek the mayoralty if his brother Rob was barred from running in a byelection.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," he told CBC News. "I'm not denying it, I'm saying I'm focused on Rob here. Rob's the mayor and I'm going to support Rob to the bitter end."
There is much confusion around whether Rob Ford would be permitted to run in a byelection. The decision issued by Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles T. Hackland says there are no restrictions on Rob Ford seeking office again "beyond the current term."
The meaning of "current term" is still up in the air — city solicitor Anna Kinastowski said it is the opinion of the City of Toronto's legal team that Ford would not be able to run for mayor until 2014.
But Alan Lenczner, Ford's lawyer, told CBC News that he believes the mayor could run in a byelection if one is called ahead of the 2014 municipal election.
The judge would have to be formally contacted by either Ford's legal team or the team representing Paul Magder, the complainant in the case, for him to rule definitively on the meaning of his ruling.
Lenczner told CBC News on Tuesday that a stay application would be heard in the case on Dec. 5. An appeal of Hackland's ruling could be heard by Jan. 7. On Wednesday, a notice of appeal was filed.
If election held today, 'Rob would be mayor'
Doug Ford also said supporters of the mayor have been calling and voicing their opposition to the judge's ruling.
"We have the base rallied like we've never had the base rallied before," he said. "If the election was held today, in my humble opinion, Rob would be mayor the next day after the election."
Karen Stintz, the chair of the Toronto Transit Commission, who had a very public falling out with Ford when she refused to support his subway transit plan, said she would prefer that a byelection be held.
"If an appeal is heard early, and it's in January, then I think the city benefits from having a mayor with a mandate. And the only way we get a mayor with a mandate is through a byelection," she told reporters.
When asked if she was considering a run in a byelection should one be called, Stintz said "all options are open if we have a byelection, but that's a decision that council needs to make."
She had previously said she would not challenge Ford if he ran again for mayor in 2014.
Rob Ford has said he will seek re-election at the earliest opportunity.