Toronto Mayor John Tory is resigning after admitting a relationship with a former employee
Toronto Mayor John Tory announced Friday that he was leaving office after admitting a relationship with a former employee.
“During the pandemic, I developed a relationship with a staff member in my office in a way that didn’t meet the standards I hold to as mayor and as a family man,” Tory said during a brief statement at City Hall.
Tory said the relationship ended “by mutual consent” earlier this year.
The employee found employment outside of his office during the relationship, he said.
“I recognize that developing this relationship was a serious mistake on my part.”
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Tory said the relationship came at a time when he and his wife, who was more than 40, were “living through many long periods apart as I carried out my responsibilities during the pandemic”.
Tory apologizes to ‘those harmed by my actions’
The mayor said he will take time to reflect on his “mistakes” and work to rebuild his family’s trust.
“I am deeply sorry and offer my unreserved apologies to the people of Toronto and anyone who has been harmed by my actions, including my staff, my City Council colleagues and civil servants, for whom I have such respect,” Tory said.
“Most of all my apologies go to my wife Barb and my family whom I have let down more than anyone.”
Tory said he informed the integrity officer of the situation and asked the office to look into it. He said he will also be working with the city manager, city clerk and Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie to ensure an “orderly transition” in the coming days.
“While I deeply regret having to step down from a job I love, in a city I love even more, I believe that in my heart, it’s best to devote myself wholeheartedly to the work that… is needed to restore these most important relationships,” he said.
“Also, I think it’s important that the office of mayor is not clouded in any way and that the city administration itself is not drawn into controversy for a long time by this misjudgment, especially on my part, given the challenges we face as a city.”
Tory thanked Torontonians for their trust in him as mayor.
“It was the job of his life,” he said.
In a Friday night report, the Toronto Star said the woman, a former employee, is 31 and works as a consultant at his office.
Kristyn Wong-Tam, a former inner-city councilwoman who is now the provincial NDP MPP, said Tory must step down.
“It’s no secret that John Tory and I have had many political disagreements,” Wong-Tam tweeted Friday night.
“I totally agree that he should resign. This is not a simple, one-time misjudgment. Tory was their boss and this is an abuse of power.”
Based on the City of Toronto Act, there is likely to be a by-election in the coming weeks or months. City Council will meet on Wednesday to vote on this year’s budget, a spending plan that Tory has introduced and championed.
City councilors are shocked
count. Paula Fletcher, representing Ward 14 at Toronto Danforth, said she was “absolutely shocked” when she heard the news. She spoke of a “terrible” misjudgment.
“I get texts and calls. I think everyone is in shock right now,” she told reporters at City Hall.
Fletcher said it’s unclear when Tory will step down and McKelvie is at a conference in Ottawa.
“I really think this is the moment where the Council needs to show its stuff, as it has done in the past.”
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She said the council needed to step in and take the reins when Rob Ford was mayor. She added that the budget will be presented to the council next week.
“It’s the mayor’s budget. I have no idea what that will look like, but I think all councilors need to step up at this very difficult time and have the best interests of the city at heart until we have a by-election, which I’m pretty sure we will have they will have.”
count. Jamaal Myers, representing Scarborough North, said he was shocked and “very sad” for Tory’s family and the mayor. He said Tory was well respected “on all sides”.
“We’re all just shocked and very, very sad,” he said.
Myers added that the council must lead the city through the mayor’s resignation
“It’s really important that we have a strong council and not a strong mayor,” he said.
Myers said he appreciates Tory taking personal responsibility for his actions and prays for him and his family.
Tory has enjoyed strong support throughout his tenure
Tory faced re-election in last October’s local elections and enjoyed strong support for most of his tenure.
He first won in 2014, beating today’s Premier Doug Ford and Olivia Chow. In 2018, he won again, defeating the city’s ex-chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat.
Tory first became mayor in the turbulent period following Rob Ford’s tenure and seemed focused on instilling a sense of stability in the city.
He kept wealth taxes at the rate of inflation while taking pride in building relationships with other levels of government. That has served him well in some places — Ford’s government recently gave him “strong mayor” powers over the council — and handicapped him in others.
He once complained of feeling like a boy in “shorts” as he approached Queen’s Park for more benefits, such as the ability to toll the city’s two main freeways: the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway.
In a statement Saturday morning, Ford thanked Tory for his public service and said he “will be remembered as a dedicated and hard-working mayor who has served as a consistent leader during the most trying days of the pandemic.”
“I wish my boyfriend nothing but the best in the coming days, weeks and months,” Ford said.
Tory is leaving office with some of his old projects still ongoing. SmartTrack, his 2014 plan to bolster the city’s rail system with commuter lines, has been reduced to a shadow of its original promise. The construction of Rail Deck Park, another signature plan, seems unlikely.
However, Tory guided the city through the peak of the pandemic, holding several press conferences a week. He also helped with some reforms within the police department and was on the winning side of the lion’s share of the city council votes.
Tory will also keep moving as mayor. He attended several events throughout the city each day and was frequently in the media.