The Hamilton Spectator
Tory’s affair, resignation blow up mayor’s legacy as stable leader
Professor says former elected official could have left public life respected
Tory stunned the city he’d led for more than eight years when he admitted to having an ‘inappropriate relationship’ with a former member of his staff
John Tory’s recently disclosed affair with a former staffer and resulting resignation as mayor of Toronto have brought a blowout ending to the straight-laced, button down moderate conservative’s otherwise uneventful tenure in the city’s top job.
Tory honed that reputation over the course of his business and broadcasting careers, as well as two relatively drama-free terms he served at city hall. The third mandate he easily secured in October’s municipal election seemed to promise more of the same, but those hopes came crashing down on Friday evening. That night, Tory stunned the city he’d led for more than eight years when he admitted to having an “inappropriate relationship” with a former member of his staff.
Tory originally promised to only run for two terms and could have left public life in the fall respected by people across the political spectrum, said Zachary Taylor, an associate professor at Western University’s political science department. Instead, he decided to run for a third term — a decision Taylor said has now placed his legacy in a very different light.
“He has admitted to doing something that is very much contrary to his image as a squeaky clean, ethically clean mayor who never raises his voice, never does things that are unreasonable,” said Taylor. “He had this image of being the only grown up in the room while council squabbled around him. Now we’ve seen that image kind of blow up.”
Tory’s whole raison d’etre was stable, calm leadership with no drama following the scandal-plagued mayoralty of his predecessor Rob Ford, said Peter Graefe, an associate professor of political science at McMaster University.