Toronto confused about whether or not John Tory is actually resigning as mayor
So, is John Tory actually stepping down as Mayor of Toronto? Or was his speedy resignation announcement on Friday night more of a ploy to gauge public opinion after news broke that he'd had an affair with a 31-year-old (now-former) staffer?
Residents of Canada's largest city are confused, and with good reason as Tory continues to attend City Hall like nothing is amiss, effectively doing the same job he's been doing for eight years and four months... minus any of the sex stuff, one would hope.
As it stands right now, the 68-year-old lawyer and longtime Rogers executive has yet to formally submit his resignation, meaning that he's still Toronto's "strong" mayor.
John Tory is the George Costanza of mayors because he quit but is still showing up for work. #cdnpoli #Toronto— John Smith (son of Harry Leslie Smith) (@Harryslaststand) February 14, 2023
Tory's office confirmed on Monday that he will remain in office until the city's 2023 budget is finalized — a process that could take weeks — and that he "will be working to ensure it is approved."
"This is an incredibly important budget for the City of Toronto after a challenging time, and we need his leadership," said Tory's budget chief, Councillor Gary Crawford, on Monday.
"He has been a strong leader for this budget, a strong leader for this city. He needs to continue doing that. I do not want to play politics with this budget, it's too important."
John Tory last Friday night: “I’m resigning as mayor of Toronto immediately”— Dale Thompson (@daleethompson) February 14, 2023
Tory on Saturday: “I’m stepping down on Monday when City Hall opens”
Tory on Sunday: “I just want to let everyone know I’m still resigning”
Tory today: “I’m sticking around for the budget, that’s it”
Meanwhile, rumours are swirling that some of Tory's allies at City Hall (and potentially elsewhere) have been urging him to reconsider his stated plans to step down for fear of losing the wins they might gain under his provincially-granted strong mayor powers.
"Sources close to Tory, speaking confidentially to discuss internal matters, say he is listening closely to those urging him to stay, and is not ruling out the possibility he will look for a way to rescind his resignation," reports The Toronto Star.
And then there are the robocalls.
So our landline rang this evening, and we received this #TOpoli poll.— Gil Meslin (@g_meslin) February 14, 2023
(I started recording on the third question) pic.twitter.com/DMFeIqvQ4B
People all over Toronto started to report on Monday night that they'd received an automated phone call (or several) asking them to take a survey about whether or not Tory "deserves a second chance" after his cheating scandal.
"Do you feel John Tory is making the right decision by resigning as mayor of Toronto, or do you feel he should not resign and remain in office?" states a robotic male voice in a call recorded and shared to Twitter by Toronto social scientist Gil Meslin Monday evening.
"If yes that he made the right decision by resigning, please press two."
The survey goes on to ask such questions as "Do you feel John Tory deserves a second chance to be mayor, despite making a personal mistake?" and "Do you believe John Tory should resign immediately as Mayor of Toronto or finish his term in office?"
The robot voice also asked respondents if they were aware of Tory's plans to step down, if they voted for him in the last election, and if they would consider supporting him in a future by-election for Mayor of Toronto.
☎️National Public Research - IVR Poll (Feb. 13, 2023), seven landline questions about #JohnTory resignation in #TOPoli including = "Would you support John Tory running in a Mayoral By-election in 2023?"— Mark J. Richardson (@mjrichardson_to) February 13, 2023
Both Tory's office and the City of Toronto have denied orchestrating the phone polls.
"Mayor Tory and the Mayor's office have nothing to do with any of these polls," said Tory's press secretary, Taylor Deasley, on Tuesday.
"Right now, the mayor is focused on getting the 2023 budget approved so that we are making needed investments in housing, transit and community safety."
So who is behind the polls?
A phone number suggests that the survey was conducted by the Canadian polling firm Mainstreet Research, but it has yet to be revealed who commissioned it.
Lots of Toronto Tweeps I follow got this phone survey last night.— rouquinne 🇺🇦🌻 (@rouquinne) February 14, 2023
😱@JohnTory - just resign. As the saying goes, no take-backs. https://t.co/CuJWf7I3EQ
Many on Twitter initially assumed that the mayor himself was paying for the robot phone calls, while others think it may have been another individual or organization that would benefit from Tory remaining mayor.
"Sounds like the Big Blue Ontario Machine hard at work," wrote one Twitter user, referring to the provincial PC party. "Michael and his team are worried about a left of centre Mayor who would talk circles around Ford."
"This poll was obviously directed by Doug Ford," wrote another.
So either he is having second thoughts because the reaction has been fairly meh by the public or Doug Ford is quite worried about if someone else will not be his lap dog.— Alison (🇨🇦) (@ggreeneyes1975) February 14, 2023
Whoever's behind the survey, people are hating it and the idea of Tory walking back on his promise to resign.
"I love that John Tory is running an Elon Musk survey by phone," tweeted one local. "If your public profile is in the toilet you can push it right into the sewer by 1) calling people 2) to ask if they like you."
"Answered the phone to get an extraordinarily weaselly robo poll, asking me if John Tory (after making a 'personal' mistake) should stay out his term, run in a byelection, or otherwise be allowed to stay on instead of actually resigning," tweeted another.
"HE RESIGNED. NO BACKSIES."
Torontonians need to flood the phones. On what planet do you quit your job then walk back in and sabotage the place on your way out? @johntory wouldn't tolerate this at Rogers. He would be walked out there.— 🎶🌈Amber Waves🌈🎶 (@dancescatharsis) February 14, 2023
Clearly he owes Doug Ford some "Strong Mayor" budget favours https://t.co/VONJDEdKtE
Tory hasn't confirmed anything beyond his intention to lead the City Council budget meeting on Wednesday.
It is expected that the mayor will attempt to push through the budget he had a major role in drafting before resigning, as only he has the "strong mayor" powers to veto any changes proposed by council.
Tory will have ten days following any council amendments to his budget to toss down his veto, at which point council has another 15 days to vote to override it.
Depending on how smoothly things go (or don't go,) Tory could remain in office for many weeks to come before actually resigning — if he still does, in fact, intend to step down as mayor over his sex scandal.
Join the conversation Load comments