On the day after Toronto’s election, 25 assorted thoughts on the results in honour of the city’s new 25-ward council (and after a concept from Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman).
1. There were four people of colour elected to the new city council, as reported by the Star on election night. There were four people named Michael elected to the new city council, as pointed out by writer Josh Labelle on Twitter.
2. (Scarborough Centre’s Michael Thompson occupies the centre of that particular Venn diagram.)
3. According to the 2016 census, 51 per cent of Torontonians identify as visible minorities.
4. The 15 per cent of council represented by visible minorities these four councillors make up actually sets a record high, as noted by Canadaland editor and longtime council-watcher Jonathan Goldsbie.
6. John Tory’s 63.49 per cent of the vote is as convincing an election victory as he could have hoped for. He won every single ward in the city.
7. That’s not quite, however, the biggest win since amalgamation. In 2000, Mel Lastman was re-elected with 79.96 per cent of the vote over challenger Tooker Gomberg. Lastman’s 483,277 votes in that election still also stands as a record, edging out Tory’s 479,659 on Monday.
8. I expect Tory will have little trouble forming a governing majority of councillors. Defining council allegiances is an inexact science, but Matt Elliott of CBC, longtime keeper of a council “scorecard,” notes 11 of the returning councillors were reliable Tory supporters last term, nine were frequent opponents, and one was a swing vote. A council majority now requires 14 votes, including Tory’s own.
9. Newcomers Brad Bradford of Beaches—East York (endorsed by Tory) and Jennifer McKelvie of Scarborough—Rouge Park seem likely candidates to be invited to play key roles in the mayor’s new administration, shoring up their votes.
10. However, the nature of appointments is likely going to change, since the smaller council means just as many committees and half as many people to fill them.
11. I ride the Harbourfront streetcar to work every day. There’s an inscription on the wall at Union Station marking its 1990 opening, including the name of the TTC vice-chair at the time: Mike Colle. Colle went on to serve as chair of the TTC from 1992-1994
12. The same Mike Colle was one of the “new” councillors elected Monday, in Eglinton-Lawrence. He succeeds his son Josh Colle, the outgoing TTC chair, in representing the area. Mike was first elected as a municipal councillor to serve that area in 1982.
13. As the most veteran of newcomers, it will be interesting to see what role Colle plays on council.
14. On the off-chance he were to be appointed TTC chair, Colle would be the first parent to follow his own child into that job.
15. He wouldn’t be the first chair to have served twice, however. William McBrien served 1931-32 and then again from mid-1933 until 1954.
16. Speaking of transit and incoming councillors, former real estate board president Cynthia Lai was elected in Scarborough North. Her main platform plank was extending the Sheppard subway line east.
17. Premier Doug Ford talked about extending the Sheppard line while campaigning in May. Returning Scarborough-Agincourt councillor Jim Karygiannis is enthusiastically in favour.
18. Re-elected Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti recently made expediting a Yonge subway extension into the 905 a talking point.
19. On election night, incoming Brampton mayor Patrick Brown talked about getting his city the kind of transit investment we’re seeing in Scarborough and Vaughan, which sounds a lot like subway talk.
20. It seems like this could get awfully expensive.
22. I think Joe Mihevc was the only candidate supported by both John Tory and the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. He’s been the kind of conciliatory lefty of whom it is said “he won’t take his own side in an argument.” That tone certainly won him the endorsement battle. But Josh Matlow, who has not recently shied away from being tenaciously combative, came out on top at the ballot box.
23. The second-place candidate in Toronto’s 2003 mayoral race went on to lead the provincial conservative party and is currently our mayor. The second-place candidate in 2014 also went on to lead the provincial conservatives, and is currently our premier. Steve Paikin of TVO has suggested maybe Jennifer Keesmaat look at picking up the rubble of the provincial Liberal party. That strikes me as an unlikely leap, and a thankless rebuilding task. Her decision may depend on whether this campaign spoiled or whet her appetite for embracing political long-shot challenges.
24. Further runner-up updates: the second place mayoral candidate from 2010 placed a distant second in Toronto Centre on Monday. The second place finisher in 2006 left the city and was elected warden of the Quebec regional municipality of Pontiac using her maiden name.
25. Unofficial turnout reports suggest about 41 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot. That’s a pretty sad number.
Edward Keenan is a columnist based in Toronto covering urban affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @thekeenanwire