It’s official, Tory resigns and Toronto will elect a new mayor this spring

Following a raucous city council budget meeting that went into the late hours of Wednesday evening, Mayor John Tory official resigned his post effective at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

Tory is out, but not without some begging and pleading by certain conservative city councillors who were hopeful they could convince him to stay. They couldn’t.

Particularly surprising in this display were comments made by councillor Frances Nunziata, who dropped some clichéd drivel asking who initiated the affair, as if the power imbalance in the relationship, given the woman was employed in Tory’s office and half his age, meant nothing.

But, it’s over now, and Tory kept some semblance of damaged dignity about the entire thing by completing the budget, deciding not to exercise any strong mayor veto, and exiting via resignation following the completion of the meeting.

Now, onto the mayoral race.

According to the city, unless a special meeting is called, city council will declare the mayor’s seat vacant at the next council meeting currently scheduled for March 29, jumpstarting a by-election process.

Here is the process outlined by the city.

By-election overview

Nominations for a by-election open the next business day after Council passes a bylaw authorizing the by-election.

Throughout the nomination period, eligible individuals can file a nomination at Toronto City Hall. Those pursuing nomination must be eligible electors and show identification demonstrating that they reside in Toronto.

Under the Municipal Elections Act, the City Clerk establishes the date for the close of nominations between 30 and 60 days after the passing of the by-election bylaw. Candidates may withdraw up to the close of nominations.

The by-election is held 45 days after the close of nominations.

Until the by-election results are certified, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie “automatically assumes certain rights, powers and authority given to the Mayor by Council following a Mayor’s resignation until the Declaration of Office for the successful by-election candidate is complete.” She is not the interim mayor, or the mayor, she remains deputy mayor.

These rights are as follows:

  • Acting as the Chief Executive Officer of the City
  • When the Speaker or Deputy Speaker are not doing so, presiding over Council meetings so that City business can be carried out efficiently and effectively
  • Providing leadership to Council
  • Representing the City and Council at official functions
  • Speaking first or last on an item at City Council meetings
  • Adding new business to Council meeting agendas
  • Duty to answer questions at Council meetings when provided
  • Presiding over Committee of the Whole
  • Calling and cancelling Council meetings
  • Designating key matters during Council meetings
  • Being a member of all Council committees when present, except Community Councils, and being a member of other committees and local boards to which the Mayor was appointed by Council (i.e., Debenture Committee)
  • Exercising all other powers granted by Council to the Mayor

According to the city, the “Deputy Mayor does not assume the special powers and duties of the Mayor under Part VI.1 of the City of Toronto Act (“Strong Mayor powers” added by the Province of Ontario’s Bill 3 and Bill 39).”

Potential candidates

There are a number of potential candidates sussing out whether or not to run.

So far we do know that 2022 runner-up Gil Penalosa is running again, along with fourth-place finisher Blake Action, Frank D’Angelo and Kevin Clarke.

What we are keen to find out is who amongst the current crop of city councillors or those that decided not to run in the last election will throw their hats in the ring.

On council currently, potential candidates could include Brad Bradford, another Tory loyalist, as well as official thorn in the side of Mayor Tory, Josh Matlow. There’s also first-term councillor Alejandra Bravo who made a controversial move of attempting to take away funds from the increased police budget to keep warming centres open to help the city’s most vulnerable.

Of those who left council following the last election, there is a lot of talk regarding Ana Bailao’s potential bid. A former deputy mayor, Bailao was an important part of the Tory team, and is said potentially to be supported by controversial power broker Nick Kouvalis.

In addition, although Kristyn Wong-Tam is currently a sitting MPP, there is speculation she is considering a bid. MP Michael Coteau is also considering a bid.

There is no shortage of potentially very good candidates and, of course, many controversial ones.

Stay tuned.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO