Many of you have written or spoken to me about the ongoing and disturbing events surrounding the Mayor and I appreciate you reaching out to me. Each day brings a new headline, a new troubling allegation followed by the same pattern of denial, deflection and belated admission.
That is why, six months ago, I took a leadership role on this issue by being the first one to speak out and ask the Mayor to step aside and address the headlines about his actions honestly, definitively and transparently.
From the beginning, two goals have guided my approach: avoiding disruption and refocusing attention on the city’s agenda, from transit to planning reform to the upcoming 2014 budget debates.
Last week, I spearheaded a petition signed by 30 City Councillors asking the Mayor to step aside and address his challenges privately, outside of the public eye. I presented the petition at the beginning of last Wednesday’s City Council meeting. My aim was to avoid more spectacle and distraction.
Unfortunately, the Mayor refused to step out of the spotlight.
Earlier this week, City Council voted overwhelmingly to shift the Mayor’s non-statutory duties and responsibilities to the Deputy Mayor.
These measures are unprecedented but so is the situation we face. Misleading the city for months, hiring old friends with six figure city salaries to coach football, sending his staff on liquor runs and other personal errands, erratic public behaviour, failing to show up to city events, deplorable conduct in City Council, refusing to cooperate with police and, earlier today, Bloomberg reported that the Mayor’s actions have driven up Toronto’s borrowing costs – the Mayor has lost the ability to push city business and our fiscal agenda forward and City Council had to act.
The good news is that the measures passed with overwhelming support from across the city and the political spectrum. City Council is working together to shift city business back into the spotlight. It is time to put this issue behind us.