Mayor John Tory calls on smaller city council to 'work together'

After a controversial and abbreviated election, Toronto's drastically reduced city council was sworn in for the start of its new four-year term.

The new council's first agenda is expected to stretch into Thursday

Toronto's new city council officially began its four-year term Tuesday. (CBC)

After a controversial and abbreviated election, Toronto's drastically reduced city council was sworn in for the start of its new four-year term with a call for togetherness from Mayor John Tory.

The new 26-member council, represents the city's new 25 ward map in addition to Mayor John Tory.

The council was originally expected to include 48 members, before the Progressive Conservative government redrew the city's wards to align with federal and provincial standards.

Longtime councillor Frances Nunziata has been elected speaker. She was first elected to the role in 2010, while councillor Shelley Carroll has been named the deputy speaker.

In his first address to the new council, Tory thanked his colleagues for offering themselves for their public service.

"Public service, as we know, including the holding of elected office is a noble pursuit but it also requires fortitude, it requires endurance, it requires energy," he said.

"So let me thank you for that and thank you in advance for the work that we're going to do here together."

Tory calls for 'adaptation'

The mayor also called on councillors to put aside how Toronto got to a 25-ward system and work together to get things done.

"Adaptation is required here at city hall just as it has been required in recent years by just about everyone else in the city of Toronto," Tory said.

"I ask that we take a good hard look at the reality we find ourselves in and that we recommit ourselves to working together, even if it takes a few more late nights and early mornings, to deliver on what the people asked us to do and what we promised we would do."

'Too many tears over lives cut short'

The mayor said councillors must also focus their attention on making their communities safer.

"All of us went to far too many vigils and memorials last year, and shed far too many tears over lives cut short and families devastated by different acts of violence ... and I think we would all agree, it has to stop, it has to stop."

While calling for support from partners and other levels of government, Tory noted that city leaders have a duty to do their part to tackle gun violence and its causes, so that people not only are safe, but feel safe.

The mayor also renewed his call on the federal government in particular, to consider ways to more strictly control the supply and availability of guns in the city.

The new council's first agenda is expected to last into Thursday.


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