NEWS

Rob Ford still in hospital as election deadline looms

09/12/2014 05:00 EDT | Updated 11/11/2014 05:59 EST
As Toronto mayor Rob Ford enters his third day in hospital for what doctors say is a tumour, questions remain over how the city's mayoral race will continue without him.

Ford received a tumour diagnosis at Humber River Regional Hospital and was moved Thursday, one day after the news broke, to Mount Sinai Hospital for more followups and treatment.

Dr. Zane Cohen, a colorectal surgeon at Mount Sinai and the lead physician on the mayor's clinical team, said Thursday night that the team is in a 'holding pattern' until the results of a biopsy are obtained. Results could take up to one week to arrive, and Cohen said it remains unclear how long Ford will remain in hospital. 

Coincidentally, the mayor's hospital stay is overlapping with the deadline to decide whether to run for mayor or council. The discovery of a tumour in his abdomen raises multiple questions about whether the mayor is fit to campaign, or even to return to work at all.

Will a Ford be on the ballot for mayor?

Ford has until 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon to decide whether he wants his name to remain on the mayoral ballot.

If he doesn't withdraw before the deadline, voters can cast a ballot for him whether he is healthy enough to resume the office or not. If Ford wins but is unable to perform his duties, those then fall to the deputy mayor in the new term.

A city spokesman on Thursday said Ford has so far not asked for any time off.

Another 2 p.m. deadline on Friday is for additions to the mayoral candidate list. Doug Ford, a city councillor and the mayor's brother and campaign manager, is rumoured to be interested in adding his name. Coun. Ford has neither confirmed nor denied his intention to run for mayor.

Ward 2 implications

Whatever happens, there will be at least one Ford name on the ballot. Mike Ford, the mayor's nephew, is one of 16 candidates running in Etobicoke North, Ward 2. It is the ward the mayor represented, starting in 2000, before he was elected mayor. Coun. Ford has represented the same ward since 2010.

Speculation, however, is that Mike Ford could retire his campaign to let the mayor run in the ward if he is unable to campaign for mayor. In that case, Ford would retain a voice at council by winning an election in which he has much healthier support — he last won his seat there by an approximate 50 per cent margin.

Campaign must go on, says rival

Ford opponents Olivia Chow and John Tory participated in a planned debate as the news of Ford's hospitalization was just emerging. 

There are debates scheduled all throughout the weekend as well.

And although Chow cancelled a planned news conference on Thursday morning, she said the debates, as well as the campaign, should go on.

"I don't think we should stop the campaign. The vote is coming up in October," said Chow on the CP24 television channel. "I think it should continue."

There have been previous debates when the mayor was not present, continued Chow, so why should they stop now?

Voters head to the polls on Oct. 27 to vote for both council and mayor.

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