Everything you’ve done wrong

At first, the judge’s decision appeared virtually airtight. Credible authorities had difficulty finding any clear error of law or fact in Justice Charles T. Hackland’s reasons for tossing Mayor Rob Ford out of office.  Two National Post columnists (Christie Blatchford and Marni Soupcoff) put forward rebuttals they attributed to unidentified lawyers who’d gotten in touch with them, but those didn’t count.


A few days later, in the same paper, I lashed out at the questionable journalism: “No knowledgable expert or commentator has yet offered a legally sound explanation of how the judge may have made an error in law — and, in the meantime, all we have are unsolicited submissions from anonymous lawyers, to whose ill-informed opinions this newspaper’s columnists have given undue weight.”


To dispute my claim that no named source had yet poked holes in Hackland’s decision, Financial Post editor and Ford fan Terence Corcoran dug up a blog called Administrative Law Matters, authored by Professor Paul Daly of the Université de Montréal.  Corcoran cited it extensively and triumphantly.


In one post, Daly examined the purpose of the Municipal Conflict Of Interest Act (i.e., routing out corruption) and argued that its application in the Ford case was inappropriately literal; that is, although Ford violated the letter of the law when he voted to save himself the money he’d been ordered to repay, he did not run afoul of its spirit. In a second post, Daly examined whether the order to repay the money had been legal in the first place.

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This content has been updated on August 23, 2014 at 12:19.