Ontario Premier Doug Ford thanked John Tory for his years of service as Toronto’s mayor after Tory announced his abrupt resignation on Feb. 10 over an affair with a former staff member.
“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 in a statement on Feb. 11.
“He united Toronto behind an optimistic vision for the future and I will miss working with him to see it come to life. I wish nothing but the best for my friend in the days, weeks and months ahead.”
Tory, who had just been reelected to a third term as mayor in October, said at a press conference on Feb. 10 that he had notified the Office of the Integrity Commissioner of the relationship to review the issue, saying he believes it is important to avoid tarnishing the mayoral office over what he describes as an error in judgment on his part.
He said the relationship had developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ended by mutual consent earlier this year. The unnamed staff member is now working at another job.
Provincial legislation requires that a byelection be held within 60 days of the mayor’s office becoming vacant to elect a new mayor.
Toronto City Councillor for Ward 11 Diane Saxe said that the revelation about Tory’s relationship with the employee has caused “shock and disappointment.”
“It goes without saying that this is a serious ethical lapse unbecoming of the office of the mayor and, further, one that will cost Toronto taxpayers millions for a byelection during already financially precarious times,” Saxe said in a statement on Feb. 11.
Joe Milhevc, who represents Ward 10, said on Twitter that the time to consider the future politics of Toronto can “wait a moment.”
“For the moment, it is time to feel the pain of the moment, to wish and pray that Mayor Tory and all involved work this through in a good way,” he said.
Ontario NDP MPP Kristyn Wong−Tam, a former Toronto city councillor who often disagreed with Tory’s positions, said Tory’s decision to resign was the right move.
“[This] is not a simple, one-time lapse of judgement. Tory was her boss and this is an abuse of power,” Wong-Tam said on Twitter.
Josh Matlow, who represents Ward 12, said Tory’s resignation shouldn’t be a distraction to “delivering an improved budget” on Feb. 15.
Shelley Carroll, city councillor for Ward 17, said she respects Tory’s decision to resign and appreciates “his apology to the people of Toronto.”
“The people of Toronto will get an opportunity to elect a new mayor in the months ahead,” she said in a statement on Feb. 11.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.