Ontario Premier Doug Ford expressed his backing for Toronto Mayor John Tory on Wednesday, claiming that if he follows through with his resignation and a “lefty” mayor is elected, it would be “a disaster” for the city. Ford, who was speaking in Brampton, Ontario after making an unrelated announcement, said Tory has been a “phenomenal partner” and now is not the time to change the leadership of the city since everything is going “tickety-boo”. Ford referred to Tory as “the best thing we have in Toronto”, adding “let’s not upset the apple cart for a personal issue he’s dealing with”. He then went on to say “If a left-wing mayor gets in there, we’re toast. I’ll tell you, it’d be a disaster in my opinion.”
Tory, 68, made his unexpected resignation announcement Friday after admitting he had an “inappropriate relationship” with someone who used to work in his office. Tory’s office has said he will stay on as mayor to see his budget debated at city council Wednesday. The premier did not comment on the reason Tory announced his resignation, saying what happens in the mayor’s private life is “strictly up to the mayor and their family”.
The city budget meeting Wednesday was disrupted twice almost as soon as it began due to multiple disruptions from the gallery. After a 45-minute recess shortly after the meeting started, Tory stepped up to the podium to deliver remarks only to be met by chants of “kick John Tory out the door”, leading to a second recess. The budget is the first Tory prepared under new “strong mayor” powers granted by the provincial government. Those powers grant Tory a veto over changes and the ability to push through his fiscal plan with only one-third council support.
Tory deflected questions from reporters about his plans to resign as he walked into the meeting, saying he was going to “deal with the budget” and “get that done”. The premier’s support adds to the calls from Tory’s council allies, who are urging the mayor to stay on despite stating his intention to resign. Coun. James Pasternak, speaking to reporters alongside Coun Frances Nunziata before Wednesday’s meeting, said their recommendation is for Tory to take some time off, wait for the integrity commissioner’s report, and then a decision will be made. Coun. Gord Perks, a vocal critic of the mayor, said he must follow through with his resignation, saying Tory could not take a leave of absence from his responsibilities. “He has to own it,” Perks said.