Bonnie Crombie takes Mississauga, Linda Jeffrey wins Brampton.
By Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, The Times of Sri Lanka
60 year-old John Tory crossed the finish line a winner to wear the Toronto Mayoralty hat for the next four years. It was a decisive win laced with all the ingredients that pushed voters to the edge given a choice of continued chaos or stability? John Tory captured slightly more than 40 per cent of the vote, beating Doug Ford by 6 percentage points and 64,000 votes. Mayor – elect John Tory takes office December 1 as Toronto’s 65th mayor. Tory, a lawyer, businessman, former corporate executive, CFL chairman, provincial politician, and radio broadcaster, edged out controversial city councillor Doug Ford and former NDP MP Olivia Chow, the one-time front-runner. In the end, Tory finished with 394,444 votes, while Doug Ford had 330,652, and Chow had 227,002.
Tory will replace controversial Mayor Rob Ford, who dropped out of the race in September after he was diagnosed with cancer. Rob Ford won a seat on council in Ward 2 instead. The 60-year-old Tory, who vowed to bring stability and professionalism to city hall after four tumultuous years under Rob Ford, spoke of the need to unite the city in his victory speech.
"Torontonians want to see an end to the division that has paralyzed city hall for the last few years," Tory said to cheering supporters. "You want results and together with the city council, we will deliver."
Voter turnout surged as Torontonians waited in lines to cast their ballots. More than 61 per cent of voters went to the polls, up 19 percentage points from the last municipal election. Tory won with 40.3 per cent of the vote, followed by Ford with 33.7 per cent of the vote. Olivia Chow captured 23 per cent. Voter turnout set a new record with an impressive 64.3 per cent — or 974,363 votes — up from the previous record of 50.6 per cent in 2010. Ari Goldkind, the Toronto lawyer who drew attention as an outspoken, long-shot candidate in the closing weeks of the election, came in fourth with just under 4,000 votes, or 0.4 per cent.
In a dismissal of the past four years and an expression of hope for the four to come, Toronto’s voters have elected John Tory as their next mayor. He is fully entitled to celebrate, having never taken victory for granted, successfully come from behind in the polls, and banished a defeat-prone political image. And Torontonians have good reason to cheer as well.
They finally have a mayor fit to be a leader instead of just serving as a punch-line.
The result was closer than many had expected, with Doug Ford delivering a strong second-place showing. It’s a testament to the resilience of so-called Ford Nation. Olivia Chow, who started out the marathon campaign as the front-runner, ended it a distant third. Had she run a stronger campaign she might well have drained enough votes from Tory to allow Ford to slip into the mayor’s office. The city is lucky that didn’t happen. Had Olivia Chow dropped out of the race, it is likely John Tory would have won by a far larger margin.
Tory congratulated Doug Ford for having the courage to put his name on a ballot, but had particularly kind words for Chow, who immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong at the age of 13. Tory said her personal story personifies what is possible in Toronto.
"Olivia, you offered a vision of Toronto that appealed to the best in a lot of us," he said.
The gruelling, 10-month campaign drew a record number of Torontonians to the polls, with 60.4 per cent of eligible voters casting ballots, up 10 percentage points from 2010.
For John Tory, his triumph was the crowning achievement of a career that had been marred by political disappointments, including failed runs for mayor in 2003 and premier in 2007. He looked ecstatic as he walked his way through hundreds of cheering supporters at the Liberty Grand in downtown Toronto.
There was never a doubt in this writer’s mind that John Tory was by far the best candidate to win the race. He portrays stability and astute leadership. He is not a flashy politician! The mayor-elect has a proven track record in business and corporate management. He is armed with a whole lot of political savvy having cut his political teeth working for former Ontario Premier Bill Davis. His new role as steward of Canada’s largest city will call for John Tory to roll up his sleeves and take Toronto to its full potential. Given the fact that he has a 4-year mandate, Tory needs to first garner the confidence and support of the councilors and shake off the “Ford” dust that has settled within the hallways of Toronto’s City Hall.
Tory, the eldest of four, was born in Toronto, Ontario, to Elizabeth "Liz" (née Bacon) and John A. Tory, president of Thomson Investments Limited and a director of Rogers Communications. His grandfather was lawyer John S. D. Tory and his great-grandfather founded Sun Life of Canada. Tory has two brothers, Michael and Jeffrey, and one sister, Jennifer. John Tory is married to Barbara Hackett, since 1978 and they have four children.
Tory, like his father and grandfather, attended the University of Toronto Schools, a private high school affiliated with the University of Toronto. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Trinity College, University of Toronto in 1975. He received his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1978 from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. He was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1980.
According to a news item in the Toronto Star, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne let out a "Hallelujah" after John Tory emerged victorious from Monday's Toronto mayoral election. The premier is on a trade mission to China when reporters told her that the former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader, whom she defeated in the 2007 provincial election in Don Valley West, had taken the mayor's chair, The Toronto Star reported.
"Congratulations to John. I'm very pleased for him and I look forward to working with him," she said.
Wynne was particularly complimentary of Tory's SmartTrack transit plan, which would add 22 stops and 53 kilometres of subway track with "no new taxes."
"I think it's got a lot to recommend. It's something that we can work with," she told the newspaper.
Though Wynne was officially neutral on Toronto's mayoral race, members of her government openly supported Tory, The Globe and Mail reported. One of them, Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid, was with the premier in China.
We enter a new era and Toronto is poised to go in a new direction, with Tory promising stable, competent, sensible and accountable leadership. That will be a welcome and refreshing change. It is an accepted fact that he is blessed with excellent inter-personal skills and will effectively work with our federal and provincial leaders to achieve a common objective. Sadly, this is what Toronto lacked in the last four years. The focus was more on “Ford Nation” and less of building Toronto. As we all know, words are cheap and we Torontonians heard all kinds of stories of how the outgoing regime stopped the gravy train and all that. The veracity of these words is of course highly questionable.
Let us wish John Tory the very best as he embarks on a challenging journey that will take four years to complete.
Bonnie Crombie & Linda Jeffrey wins in Mississauga and Brampton
It is interesting to analyze the results of the rest of Ontario. Loud music played as winds of change blew through Peel Region on Monday night, with Brampton and Mississauga voters electing two new civic leaders — the first time in years that either city has had someone new sitting in the mayor's chair. Mississauga has a population of 713,443 as of the Canada 2011 Census and is Canada’s sixth-most populous municipality. On the other hand Brampton enjoys a vibrant population of 523,911 as of 2011 census.
Bonnie Crombie cruised to an easy victory to become Mississauga’s first new mayor in 36 years succeeding Hazel McCall ion who decided to retire at age 93. Linda Jeffrey took Brampton and ended the 14-year tenure of Mayor Susan Fennell. After securing the support of long-time mayor and political legend Hazel McCallion – the most valuable endorsement in town – Bonnie Crombie rose to victory in Mississauga on Monday night, becoming the city’s next mayor. The former Liberal MP and Ward 5 councillor won with an overwhelming 64 per cent of the votes according to unofficial results, more than double that of her chief opponent, Steve Mahoney. Interestingly, in 2011 Montreal and Toronto began to turn dramatically against their own chief executives but MayorHazel McCallion was found to be the most popular mayor in Canada. And now, with Mayor McCallion finally retired at the age of 93, the people of Mississauga have elected her chosen successor. Bonnie Crombie was 18 when her predecessor was first elected mayor of Mississauga. Next to Toronto, Mississauga is considered the next big city and the infrastructure boom that began in 1990s has reshaped this city and Mayor McCallion’s influence for 36 years has been tremendous.
In Brampton, Linda Jeffrey, recently a cabinet minister in the provincial government, won the mayoral race after resigning her Queen's Park seat to take a run at mayor Susan Fennell's job. Linda Jeffrey, who had consistently been the frontrunner throughout the campaign, was elected mayor with almost 50 per cent of the vote. According to a news report in the Toronto Star – last August an audit found Mayor Susan Fennell filed more than $172,000 in expenses that breached city policies, though some $41,000 were repaid. On Friday, days before the election, she announced that an arbitrator’s report had revealed $3,000 in improper spending versus the nearly $200,000 cited in a forensic audit and found that Deloitte “misinterpreted expense policies.” Fennell said the arbitrator was hired by the City of Brampton. Brampton has become home to many Sri Lankans who have made this city their home.
Incumbents were re-elected in Vaughan, Oakville, Milton, Burlington, Halton Hills, Markham, Richmond Hill, Oshawa, Ajax and Pickering.
Vaughan faces many new development projects and saw fit to stay the course by re-electing Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua. The planned Vaughan Metropolitan Centre will connect to the Toronto subway and eventually host 25,000 residents and 11,000 jobs. Metrolinx is lining Vaughan with a series of dedicated “rapidways” to speed up public transit in the region and Vaughan Mills—already one of the largest shopping malls in Canada—announced plans last year for an $87 million redevelopment and expansion project. Mr. Bevilacqua first took the office in 2006 by easily toppling incumbent Linda Jackson, who was dogged by a series of election spending controversies. Since filing papers for the 2014 mayoral race, his re-election was never really in doubt.
Markham may not have liked the idea of building an NHL-sized hockey arena with city money, but they have held onto the mayor who helped to suggest as much: On Monday night, Mayor Frank Scarpitti easily clinched his third term with as much as 80% of the vote. After first joining Markham city council in 1985, Mr. Scarpitti has seen Markham’s population more than triple during his time in city politics, and in 2006 easily became the successor to long-term mayor Don Cousens.
The total tax increase for the past six years is the lowest among 25 GTA municipalities
Outside Markham, Mr. Scarpitti is best known for overseeing a plan to build a $325 million arena that—despite having no tenant or private sector funding—was billed as a sure-fire way attract an NHL franchise to the city. Although Mayor Scarpitti supported the plan to the end, city councillors voted to shelve the arena last December after hundreds of residents clogged a marathon meeting to voice their displeasure for the project.
But Mr. Scarpitti does keep taxes down. As per his own campaign literature, “the total tax increase for the past six years is the lowest among 25 GTA municipalities.”
This election, Richmond Hill briefly joined its GTA neighbours in hosting an unusually contentious race, although incumbent Dave Barrow ended election night with easy victory. First elected in 2006, Mayor Barrow was recently subjected to accusations from rival Sridhar Methuku that he had violated city regulations by failing to declare a conflict-of-interest over a council resolution to have him personally repay a $10,000 over-expenditure of a city account. The Ontario Superior Court soon vindicated the mayor, and Mr. Methuku quickly abandoned his run at the mayor’s job. Monday night, Mr. Barrow won the vote by about 65%, with Councillor Carmine Perrelli coming in second. He has said his focus is on Richmond Hill traffic, and plans to get a subway to the city by 2018.