Tory puts key allies, newcomers in powerful positions at City Hall

Toronto Mayor John Tory announced his picks for key committee roles at Toronto City Hall Thursday. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Toronto Mayor John Tory announced his picks for key committee roles at Toronto City Hall Thursday. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Mayor John Tory has unveiled his picks for key committee roles at City Hall, putting trusted allies in place to help build housing and infrastructure, while appointing some new faces on the Board of Health and his powerful executive group.

In an email to councillors this morning obtained by CBC News, Tory announced his appointments ahead of the city's striking committee meeting, which has to confirm them. Tory announced he's selected ally Jennifer McKelvie, who is also the city's deputy mayor, to head the Infrastructure and Environment committee. Coun. Brad Bradford, also a key ally of the mayor, will act as the city's housing champion.

"Throughout this process, I have been focused on placing people in the City government in positions where they can best contribute to the agenda that the people of Toronto have elected me to implement," Tory said in the email.

"I campaigned on getting more housing built, getting our approved transit plans built, keeping our city safe and affordable, and making sure City Hall is focused on nuts and bolts services that people rely on every single day."

The city's committee structure vet and debate most bylaws and resolutions that come to the council floor. They also hear most deputations from citizens.

New TTC chairman

Tory has appointed ally Jon Burnside, a former Toronto police officer who was just re-elected to council, as TTC chairman. He will take over the role from Jaye Robinson, who will take up a special role championing the FIFA World Cup.

"I believe he will continue the strong stewardship of the TTC we saw from Jaye Robinson that has led to record investments in service and state of good repair," Tory said in the email. "And we will all rely on him to work non-stop to welcome ridership back to the TTC that was so harshly impacted by the pandemic."

The mayor is turning to newcomer Chris Moise, the former Toronto District School Board trustee who was elected to council last month, as his pick for chairperson of the Board of Health.

"I am recommending [Moise] be appointed to the Board of Health and, while the Chair is selected by the Board of Health, I am publicly declaring my support for him becoming the next Board of Health chair," Tory said. "I look forward to working with Chris as we navigate what we all hope will be the end of the pandemic."

New faces on executive committee

The mayor is also recommending newly elected councillors Amber Morley and Lily Cheng for spots on his Executive Committee. The powerful group that helps shape the council agenda ahead of every meeting is often seen as a place where mayors appoint their allies. It's not clear how either councillor will work with the mayor or his allies on council.

"I welcome their new voices and look forward to working with them on the important matters that come to the committee," Tory said. "I am confident both councillors will approach these new appointments in a spirit of collaboration and partnership."

Coun. Gary Crawford will return as the city's budget chief. Tory said he wants him re-appointed in the role because he understands the importance of the budget process and "the need to invest in and protect key City services while at the same time keeping tax increases low and life in our city affordable."

Coun. Stephen Holyday will return to chair the city's Audit Committee and newly-elected councillor Jamaal Myers will serve as vice-chair.

Coun. Shelley Carroll will lead the Economic and Community Development Committee, while Coun. James Pasterak will head up the General Government and Licensing Committee.