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'A serious ethical lapse': Doug Ford, councillors react to Tory resignation, affair

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford and a number Toronto city councillors have responded to John Tory’s abrupt Friday resignation announcement.

Tory's decision to resign comes after he admitted to engaging in a relationship with a staffer at the office “in a way that did not meet the standards to which I hold myself as mayor and as a family man,” the mayor said during an abruptly held news conference Friday night.

On Saturday morning, Ford thanked Tory, whom he referred to as a friend, for his “many years of public service” and wished him “nothing but the best in the days, weeks and months ahead.”

“John will be remembered as a dedicated and hard-working mayor who served as a steady leader during the most difficult days of the pandemic,” Ford said. “He united Toronto behind an optimistic vision for the future and I will miss working with him to see it come to life.”

Toronto city councillors Shelley Carroll and Diane Saxe also issued statements Saturday.

“At a time when our city is facing so many challenges, we need stable leadership,” Carroll wrote. “I respect Mayor Tory’s decision to step down and appreciate his apology to the people of Toronto.”

Saxe called the relationship a “serious ethical lapse unbecoming of the office of the mayor, and further, one that will cost Toronto taxpayers millions for a byelection.”

“This is a time for council members to be unified and focused on the work at hand,” she said.

After Tory’s announcement on Friday evening, Paula Fletcher, councillor for Ward 14–Toronto Danforth, told CTV News’ Adrian Ghobrial while leaving city hall she was “shocked” by Tory’s “terrible lapse of judgement,” after hearing the news of his affair.

“It was a terrible lapse of judgement by the mayor during the pandemic and perhaps to have even decided to have run for a third term knowing that this affair had taken place,” she said.

“But you know what, this is happened now, and hopefully we will have a byelection.”

On Saturday afternoon, councillor for Ward 12–Toronto–St. Paul's Josh Matlow said the news of Tory's relationship and subsequent resignation must not be allowed to "distract focus from delivering an improved budget this Wednesday."

"I will continue working with my colleagues to ensure that every Torontonian has a warm place to go, the TTC is truly safe and reliable, we address the roots of health and safety of our communities, repair our crumbling infrastructure and roads, and finally make the necessary investments in well-maintained parks and the services residents rely on," Matlow added.

With the mayor solely responsible for the budget, it is to be seen what will happen to Tory's proposal, which includes a contentious increase in the police's budget.

Gil Penalosa, who ran against Tory in the recent elections, also took to Twitter to say it was “not just a serious error of judgement.” & ended after the campaign. As 'secret' as negotiating mayoral powers. Either would have changed the result of the election for mayor of Toronto. Fortunately, now Torontonians have a chance to elect better,” Penalosa tweeted.

Penalosa also announced his intention to run in a 2023 byelection on Saturday.

Under the City of Toronto Act, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie is poised to take over the job until a byelection can be held.

She is likely to remain in the job for a period of months, as the City of Toronto Act requires that candidates be given a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 60 days to file their nomination papers after a byelection is formally declared.

Election day would then come 45 days later.

With files from CP24’s Chris Fox 

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