After a municipal race contested by 31 mayoral candidates, voters in Toronto have elected incumbent John Tory to a third term at the head of city council.
Tory was confirmed as the winning candidate leading with 62 per cent of the vote. Gil Penalosa sits in second place with around 18 per cent.
“Tonight is a great night as we look ahead to a third term,” Tory said, speaking at the Fairmont Royal Hotel in Toronto.
John Tory re-elected for 3rd term as Toronto mayor
Tory said he is looking forward to a third term with a “strong mandate.”
He also congratulated those who secured seats on the city’s council. “I look forward to working with all of them,” he said.
As Toronto’s 2022 to 2026 mayor, Tory will be the first head of council to wield strong mayor powers.
The powers, granted by the province, will give the mayors of Ottawa and Toronto the power to veto certain bylaws that conflict with provincial priorities such as housing. Council can still override the veto with a two-thirds majority.
It will also give the mayor responsibility for preparing the budget, appointing the city’s chief administrative officer and hiring or firing department heads.
Tory campaigned on a message of continuity and stability, telling voters his experience would deliver key subway infrastructure projects and much-needed housing.
He also promised to keep property taxes below the rate of inflation.
Many of his challengers, including prominent urbanist Gil Penalosa, said standards in Toronto have declined under Tory’s leadership. One example raised is issues with washrooms and water fountains in city parks.
Matti Siemiatycki, a professor at the University of Toronto, previously explained the role parks played in the campaign to Global News.
“In part it’s very literal, like that people want to have access to water fountains and washrooms,” Siemiatycki said. “I think it’s (also) clear that it’s being tied to something much broader around questions about austerity — questions primarily about effectiveness of actually providing those services.”
Tory himself touched on the challenges and criticism.
“We’re going to make sure that city hall is focused on the nuts-and-bolts services that you and all the people of Toronto rely on every single day,” Tory said, adding, “I am not satisfied that some of those basics are not as they should be.”
Penalosa said in his speech on election night that Toronto’s third-term mayor could implement the ideas of his opponents.
“So, John Tory has the opportunity in the next four years to make (Toronto) good for everyone,” he told supporters. “Too many people are leaving Toronto because they cannot afford to live here. Teachers, nurses, artists, chefs — everybody’s leaving Toronto.”
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Tory has hinted at the possibility of using strong mayor powers to pass some of his proposed housing plan if it faces opposition.
The re-elected mayor’s other campaign promises included a commitment to the city’s $28-billion transit plan, led by the province.
In his third term, Tory will have to deal with the city’s estimated $857-million pandemic-driven budget shortfall.
Tory served as Progressive Conservative Party Leader between 2004 and 2009, working in radio after his resignation.
In 2014, he won his first term as Toronto mayor, defeating Rob Ford’s brother — and current Ontario Premier — Doug Ford.
— with files from The Canadian Press
&© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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