Toronto

John Tory picks transition team, prepares for new job

Mayor-elect John Tory has begun preparing for his new job at Toronto City Hall, assembling a transition team and pledging to work with the new council that will surround him.

Case Ootes to lead transition team for mayor-elect

Mayor-elect John Tory spoke to CBC News the day after his election win. 2:54

Mayor-elect John Tory has begun preparing for his new job at Toronto City Hall, assembling a transition team and pledging to work with the new council that will surround him.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that Tory will look to Case Ootes to lead his transition team.

Ootes, a retired 22-year veteran of city council, served as deputy mayor under Mel Lastman and also led Rob Ford's transition team in 2010. 

Ootes will "help me make the transition to office effectively and smoothly," Tory told reporters. 

The other members of Tory's transition team have also been announced:

  • Rod Phillips, the chair of CivicAction, will be the vice-chair of the transition team.
  • Christopher Eby will be the chief of staff to the mayor-elect.
  • Vic Gupta will be the principal secretary to the mayor-elect.
  • Joe Halstead, the city's former commissioner of economic development will be part of the team.
  • Nick Kouvalis, an adviser on Tory’s campaign, is also part of the team.
  • Other team members include Susan McIsaac, the president and CEO of United Way Toronto; Arthur Lofsky, who served as an adviser to former provincial cabinet ministers Greg Sorbara and Dwight Duncan; Shirley Hoy, the former city manager; Teresa Di Felice, the director of government and community relations for the CAA South Central Ontario.

Ootes will also be chairing a "transition advisory council," which will be advising Tory on transportation planning, congestion and gridlock, as well as housing.

Tory, who won the hotly contested race with a little more than 40 per cent of the vote last night, arrives at city hall with no experience on council, a point his rivals often raised during the campaign. 

Mayor-elect has 'homework'

Indicating a stack of binders, Tory said he has a lot of "homework" to do prior to his swearing-in on Dec. 2. 

Case Ootes, a retired 22-year veteran of city council, served as deputy mayor under Mel Lastman and also led Rob Ford's transition team in 2010. (CBC)

Tory said he has also reached out to his former rivals, including Doug Ford and Olivia Chow, in hope they will make a "continuing contribution" at city hall. He also mentioned David Soknacki and Karen Stintz, who dropped out of the race prior to election night. 

"These people showed ... that they are deeply committed to the city. They have ideas and passions for the city and I intend to reach out to all of them," Tory said. 

'It was very divisive'

On Tuesday, some veteran councillors said they expected or hoped for things to change under Tory as he leads a council that has gone through a tumultuous period under Rob Ford.

"There's going to be a very focused, a very professional approach in terms of doing things in the city. I think the drama is going to be minimized," said Coun. Michael Thompson, who was among the three dozen incumbents re-elected on Monday night.

Coun. Paula Fletcher said she hopes that when Tory builds his executive committee, he will select councillors from around the city.

"Mayor Ford had nobody from Toronto and East York on any of his committees, or chairing any of the committees, and it was very divisive," she said.

Coun. Jaye Robinson, also a returning incumbent, had endorsed Tory during the campaign.

"People are really looking forward to turning a page and moving into the next chapter," Robinson told CBC Radio's Metro Morning in a telephone interview.

Tory said he will work with everyone — including Ford, who has been elected as a councillor in Ward 2.

"He's a duly elected member of the city council and a former mayor, and I plan to treat him with just as much respect as I will treat all the other members of council," Tory said.

The council that surrounds Tory will largely be composed of veteran incumbents, though it will also welcome a handful of newcomers.

Tory himself will be a newcomer of sorts, as although he previously led the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, he has never had a seat on city council.

'Solid' support

Tory has often spoken of the need to reach across the city's political divides, which widened during the tumultuous term of outgoing Mayor Rob Ford, and which tend to follow geographic lines. 

The electoral map suggests the city remains divided — with the higher income centre having voted for Tory, while the lower income suburbs mostly favoured Ford. Ford also finished in a relatively close second place, with almost 34 per cent of the vote to Tory's 40. 

Tory deflected the suggestion his mandate was less than resounding, describing it as a "solid percentage." 

"You rarely see instances in which people have a majority of the votes cast, especially in a genuine three-way contest," he said, as heavy clouds overhead turned to rain. "I prefer to look at the glass as half full."

With a report from the CBC's Jamie Strashin

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.