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Toronto Mayor John Tory to officially resign on Friday

Toronto Mayor John Tory has made his resignation official after days of controversy and a long, tumultuous day at city council that saw the approval of his 2023 budget 

Tory announced late Wednesday night he will step down on Friday at 5 p.m. after spending the next two days meeting with Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie and city staff to “ensure an orderly transition.” He filed his letter with the city clerk shortly after the city budget was finalized.

You can read Tory’s full resignation letter at the bottom of this story.

Tory’s resignation follows the shocking admission late last week that he had an affair with a former member of his staff. In the days that followed, his allies on council and other political figures, such as Ontario Premier Doug Ford, urged him to stay on.

But in his letter to the city clerk, Tory expressed regret in much the same way he did when he announced he would step down last Friday. 

“I want to thank the people of Toronto for trusting me as mayor since 2014,” he said.

“I continue to be deeply sorry and apologize unreservedly to the people of Toronto and to all those hurt by my actions without exception.”

Tory said he plans to continue to be a “contributing citizen” but did not provide specifics, saying only that he will “never stop believing in Toronto and all of the residents who make it up.”

Budget includes largest property hike in decades

Tory’s final budget includes the largest property tax increase in decades amid a flurry of protests at a chaotic meeting overshadowed by the sex scandal swirling around Mayor John Tory. 

Council adopted the 5.5 per cent property tax hike and the 1.5 per cent increase in the city building levy. Councillors also adopted the full $16-1 billion spending package, which included controversial increases to the police budget and service cuts to the TTC.

Tory stressed that the tax increase was a difficult choice, but was needed to help fund city services and to increase community safety.

“These are very, very challenging times for the budget and for the city,” Tory said. “And I think for us to have come together and made as much progress as we have. … shows a government working at its best.”

The day was a showcase of the conflict and scandal that has now embroiled city hall following the mayor’s admission he had an affair with a former staffer, and his sudden announcement on Friday he would resign. 

Council passes last-minute amendment

But in the end, council came together to approve a motion to amend the budget, splitting up $7 million to make last-minute changes. The motion, which passed 25-1, provides funding boosts to address homelessness, TTC safety and to boost the city’s Rent Bank program.

Tory noted he would not use his veto. 

Council agreed to spend $800,000 to open one additional warming centre to help the unhoused until April 15. That comes a week after councillors spiked a bid to open all four city warming centres 24/7 until that date. 

Coun. Shelley Carroll said the city will look at this centre as a pilot to help determine the best way to approach the program, possibly on a permanent basis.

“So if we’re going to proceed with that model, we’ll really know what the challenges are in real time,” she said. 

Councillors also voted to spend $500,000 to create a one-year pilot that provides a mental health support team to help the unhoused.

“We’re able to actually negotiate and will hire mental health outreach workers to help address some of these needs,” Coun. Chris Moise said.

“These are critical services.”

Protesters disrupt meeting

The meeting began with a raucous session earlier in the morning that saw little progress, with protesters forcing council to go into recess twice before the session began in earnest.

Protesters shouted at Tory as he attempted to begin his remarks, disrupting the session three times, and causing it to be paused twice to clear the council chambers.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Tory, you do not get to speak, we do not trust your integrity,” the demonstrator yelled, interrupting him.

“We’re going to have to ask you to leave,” said Coun. Frances Nunziata, who serves as speaker in the council chamber.

WATCH | Ali Chiasson breaks down what’s transpired today on the council floor:

toronto mayor john tory to officially resign on friday

John Tory and Toronto’s tense budget day

5 hours ago

Duration 2:55

Ali Chiasson breaks down a tumultuous day on the floor of Toronto city council, which even saw some members of the public kicked out of the chambers.

Nunziata then adjourned the session and asked security to remove the woman, who refused to leave.

Chambers full of spectators

The council chambers were packed with spectators for what is one of the most important council votes of the year. Security cleared the chambers entirely while several senior city staff members were seen talking with the demonstrator. 

A second attempt to start the meeting failed when Tory was booed by some in the crowd and they began to chant in unison. 

“House the homeless, feed the poor, kick John Tory out the door,” they shouted together.

Council adjourned again as security cleared the chamber for the second time. Nunziata threatened that the public could be removed from the chamber for the remainder of the meeting if there are further disruptions.

John Tory watches during a budget meeting at Toronto City Hall on Feb. 15.
Mayor John Tory presented his controversial 2023 budget at a council meeting Wednesday. Demonstrators interrupted the morning’s portion of the meeting. (Michael Wilson/CBC)

The meeting then resumed with some spectators who refused to leave allowed to remain in chambers. As Tory began speaking once again, a woman could be heard repeatedly chanting “John Tory resign!”

Coun. Brad Bradford, a key ally of Tory and a potential candidate to be his successor, said the disruptions weren’t helpful.

“You know what, it’s a little hot,” he said of the atmosphere in the chambers. “I think we can all acknowledge it’s a little hot.… But there’s always protests and people have a right to protest.”

A focus on the budget

Bradford said the disruptions were not helpful, but ultimately the city needed the spending plan wrapped up.

 “People want us to get on with city business, get this budget passed to protect those frontline services, build the housing, keep our communities safe. That’s what this document and this process is all about.”

A spectator is escorted out of council chambers during a budget meeting at Toronto City Hall on Feb. 15.
A spectator is escorted out of council chambers during a budget meeting at Toronto City Hall on Wednesday. (Michael Wilson/CBC)

Coun. Josh Matlow said in spite of the distractions around Tory, council had to keep its focus on the budget.

The budget is built on hundreds of millions of dollars in assumed contributions from the province and federal government, and that’s something that must be discussed, he said.

“It’s not really a balanced budget,” Matlow said. “It’s creative accounting. At the bare minimum I’d like to see a budget where Torontonians who are vulnerable are not left out in the cold when they need a warm place to go.”

Councillors started to propose amendments to the budget late Wednesday afternoon. Coun. Stephen Holyday urged council to pause collection of the city building levy, which adds another 1.5 per cent to the city’s current plan to increase property taxes by 5.5 per cent. 

Holyday said the tax hikes come at a time when inflation is raising prices on everything. People can’t afford to pay more, he said.

“If there’s a way for us to offer a tiny little bit of relief, perhaps we should look at this,” he said. 

Here’s Tory’s full resignation letter:

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