John Tory’s boy scout image is in tatters after he told shocked reporters Friday that he would resign as Mayor of Toronto after the Toronto Star broke a story about an inappropriate relationship between Tory and a staffer. The Star had questioned Tory about the affair with the 31-year-old woman and received confirmation Friday from Tory’s lawyer. The Star reports the woman had accompanied Tory on several trips to the US and Europe between 2018 and 2020 and resigned from the mayor’s staff in early 2021. The scandal ends what had been a distinguished career in business, politics, broadcasting and sports for the 68-year-old. Born into wealth and prestige, John Tory was the son of John A Tory who was president of Thomson Investments, Tory’s grandfather was the founder of the large Toronto law firm of the same name.
John Tory graduated from the University of Toronto and studied law at Osgoode Hall, graduating in 1980. While studying law, Tory worked as a journalist for Ted Rogers, a family friend. He then worked as chief of staff for Premier Bill Davis. Later he became campaign chair for Brian Mulroney and managed the ill-fated campaign of Kim Campbell. He is blamed for the decision to run attack ads that mocked Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s facial paralysis. Then it was back to Rogers with stints heading the broadcast division and later the cable division while serving as CFL commissioner for part of that time as well. Tory became leader of the Ontario PC party in 2004 winning a safe seat in a byelection in 2005. But in the 2007 election Tory decided to run in his home riding of Don Valley West and was defeated, in a campaign that was hobbled by his promise to extend funding to religious schools. He led the party into 2009, but when he failed to win a seat in a by-election that year, he resigned the party leadership and returned to broadcasting.
He was elected Mayor of Toronto in 2014, defeating Doug Ford who had run to replace his late brother, and Olivia Chow. He was re-elected in a landslide in 2018 and again in 2022 by a large margin.
In his Friday statement Tory wrote:
I want to update Torontonians on a difficult personal matter.
During the pandemic, I developed a relationship with an employee in my office in a way that did not meet the standards to which I hold myself as mayor and as a family man.
The relationship ended by mutual consent earlier this year.
During the course of our relationship some time ago, the employee decided to pursue employment outside city hall and secured a job elsewhere.
I recognize that permitting this relationship to develop was a serious error in judgment on my part.
It came at a time when Barb, my wife of 40-plus years and I were enduring many lengthy periods apart while I carried out my responsibilities during the pandemic.
As a result, I have decided I will step down as mayor so I can take the time to reflect on my mistakes and to do the work of rebuilding the trust of my family.
I will be working with the city manager, the city clerk and deputy mayor Jennifer McKelvie to ensure an orderly transition in the coming days.
While I deeply regret having to step away from a job I love, in a city I love even more, I believe in my heart it is best to fully commit myself to the work required to repair these most important relationships.
As well, I think it is important for the Office of the Mayor not to in any way be tarnished and not to see the City government itself put through a prolonged period of controversy, arising out of this error in judgment on my part, especially in light of the challenges we face as a city.
I am deeply sorry and apologize unreservedly to the people of Toronto and to all those hurt by my actions including my staff, my colleagues and the public service.
Most of all, I apologize to my wife Barb and my family, whom I have let down more than anyone else.
I hope the privacy of all of those impacted by my actions can be respected and that includes me.
I think as you know I am a naturally private person notwithstanding some of the jobs I have had and I hope you will respect that, and the privacy of everyone else as well, especially my wife and family.
I have made the Integrity Commissioner aware of the relationship and asked him to review it.
I want to thank the people of Toronto for trusting me as mayor.
It has been the job of a lifetime, and while I have let them and my family down in this instance, I have nonetheless been deeply honoured by the opportunity to serve the people of this wonderful city and I believe I did some good for the city I truly love particularly during the pandemic.
I’m usually known for taking as many questions as you want, but on this occasion, I’ll let my statement speak for itself.
Under legislation a by election must be called within 60 days
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