It’s official: Long-time Mayor of Toronto John Tory is resigning as of Friday at 5 p.m.
The long-time mayor of Toronto announced last Friday he would resign from his post after having an affair with a staffer.
Speaking to reporters late Friday evening, John Tory read prepared remarks where he admitted to the affair and subsequently announced his resignation.
Noting the relationship ended “by mutual consent” sometime in 2023, Tory says the employee found another job and left their position at City Hall.
Tory, who has been married to his wife Barb for over 40 years, says he is stepping down to be with his family — the same people he betrayed with his infidelity.
While Tory admitted to the affair in his remarks, he also made clear he wouldn’t be speaking further on the matter.
“I’m usually known for taking as many questions as you want,” Tory said, inaccurately. “But on this occasion, I’ll let my statement speak for itself.”
A lawyer and political strategist, the 69-year-old began his political career in 2003, losing to David Miller in the Toronto municipal election. Tory went on to become the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party in 2004, where he remained until 2009.
Tory spent the better part of a decade as Mayor of Toronto after succeeding Rob Ford in 2014. At the time, Tory beat the soon-to-be Premier Doug Ford, as well as then-MP and wife of the late Jack Layton, Olivia Chow.
Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie is set to serve as interim mayor until a by-election is held later this year.
Tory’s resignation marks the second consecutive Toronto mayor who battled allegations of adultery, after Ford was accused of offering oral sex to a female staffer in November 2013.
At the time, Ford made headlines for his response, saying “I’ve got more than enough to eat at home,” referring to his “happy” marriage.
Tearing up Tory’s budget
In a tweet Friday night, Ontario NDP MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam called for the Toronto city council to “tear up Tory’s budget.”
“It’s time to go way beyond plugging potholes and start permanently fixing Toronto’s structural problems,” said Wong-Tam, the official critic for the Attorney General and 2SLGBTQIA+ issues.
They also called for 24-hour warming centres to be opened immediately, and pushed for homelessness to be declared a humanitarian crisis.
“Tory could have used his veto powers to pass his budget this week,” Wong-Tam said. “There’s no reason why council should proceed now. Instead, they should ask staff to rework the budget to accurately reflect the real needs of Toronto.”
But Tory’s decision on when to formally resign allowed him to oversee the budget process on Wednesday, spoiling any opportunity to reform Toronto’s 2023 budget.
Tory was unphased by his glaring conflicts of interest, sitting on the Toronto Police Services Board while also serving as mayor.
Tory’s position on the police board wasn’t his only glaring conflict of interest. The mayor also sits on the Rogers Control Trust, a job that pays $100,000 annually. That’s on top of the earnings Tory has acquired as a Rogers shareholder.
The mayor’s affiliation with Rogers is likely to face renewed scrutiny as the Toronto Star reports the woman involved in the affair got a job at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) — a business Rogers Communications has a 37.5 per cent stake in.
Questions remain about the staffer’s departure from City Hall and whether Tory played a role, directly or indirectly, in securing her new job.
While the news of Tory’s prompt resignation made headlines across the country, the intrepid reporters who uncovered the scandal have gone largely uncredited.
The three journalists who broke the scoop are the Toronto Star’s David Rider, Ben Spurr and Alyshah Hasham.
Tory’s Toronto policing legacy
While Tory’s infidelity will make headlines for weeks, it’s important to remember the real story: the increase he gave Toronto Police on his way out.
In the last month alone, Tory recommended giving Toronto Police an extra $48 million in the next budget.
On Monday, the abolition advocacy group No Pride in Policing Coalition (NPIPC) issued a press release calling Tory’s resignation “good news.”
NPIPC urged municipal politicians to reject Tory’s proposed budget, and instead venture on an economic transformation that reflects the needs of poor, queer and trans, unhoused, Black, Indigenous, racialized, and all working-class people.
“He showed his unfitness for office long before the current scandal, through his attacks on unhoused people and his expansions of policing, among many other decisions. It’s well past time for him to go,” the NPIPC statement reads.
NPIPC called for city councillors to implement a 50 per cent reduction to the police budget, along with a plan for police abolition and real community safety.
That community safety component would see more funding for housing, libraries, parks, shelters, accessibility, seniors services and improvements to transit.
“As we say good riddance to Tory, we remain focused on moving beyond his reckless legacy,” The NPIPC states.