John Tory facing integrity complaint over ties to Rogers, ActiveTO council vote
Posted July 27, 2022 7:08 am.
Last Updated July 27, 2022 11:59 am.
Mayor John Tory is facing an integrity complaint at city hall for his long-standing ties to Rogers and his city council vote to limit weekend road closures along the Lake Shore.
Civic activist Adam Chaleff has filed a complaint with the municipal Integrity Commissioner, saying he believes there was a conflict of interest when Tory voted and spoke about ending the Lake Shore Boulevard West ActiveTO road closure last month.
“A Rogers-owned company, the Blue Jays, contacted Tory directly to tell him that their business suffers because of a particular road closure,” said Chaleff on Twitter. “Tory should have immediately declared an interest and refrained from speaking.”
The president of the Toronto Blue Jays, Mark Shapiro, weighed in on the ActiveTO debate ahead of the June council meeting, arguing the closures made it more difficult for fans to get to the Rogers Centre for the team’s home games.
The mayor later voted in line with Shapiro’s request, along with a majority of councillors, to treat ActiveTO road closures on Lake Shore West as limited special events that are to be planned in advance, rather than a reoccurring weekend closure.
The Blue Jays are owned by Rogers Communications and Tory is a shareholder in the company.
The Blue Jays president faced some ire online following his statement in June, which prompted a response from Tory who said publicly he thought it was important to listen to both sides.
“I really found it so sad that Mr. Shapiro should write a letter, simply setting out the views of his business and the fact that he has 30, 40, 50,000 people coming to a game, and the abuse he took from people online,” said Tory at the time.
The complainant claims the comments and the mayor’s vote puts him in violation of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.
“In recent years, the law was amended to empower the Integrity Commissioner to sue a member of council for conflicts of interest so regular citizens don’t have to bear the financial burden,” argues Chaleff. “I believe this is a case where the Toronto Integrity Commissioner must act to preserve local integrity.”
“(Tory) castigated supporters of ActiveTO and critics of an executive of a Rogers-owned business before taking an active role in the council debate and voting on the matter. This was hardly inadvertence.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the mayor says their office has yet to receive a copy of the complaint from anyone other than the Toronto Star, who first reported it on Tuesday. Tory’s office says they have yet to receive any communication from the Integrity Commissioner.
“This vote was about a city program that the Mayor introduced and championed throughout the pandemic and this was a very broad public issue involving all road users in the city,” says Don Peat, spokesperson for the mayor. “The City staff report made no mention of that organization.”
“When the Mayor does have any conflicts, he studiously has declared them and he did not have one in this case.”
Tory has been on the Rogers family trust for over a decade and is paid $100,000 a year for his role.
Rogers Communications Inc. is the parent company of CityNews