Mayor 'knew 100 per cent' that Crisanti supported Ford family, ousted deputy says

John Tory “knew 100 per cent” that he supported the Ford family politically when the mayor asked him to be his deputy mayor for Etobicoke, Coun. Vince Crisanti said Wednesday, a day after he was ousted from the job.

John Tory replaced Vince Crisanti with Stephen Holyday as deputy mayor for Etobicoke on Tuesday

Coun. Vince Crisanti called the decision to oust him as deputy mayor for Etobicoke 'shocking and surprising.' (Vedran Lesic/CBC)

John Tory "knew 100 per cent" that he supported the Ford family politically when the mayor asked him to be his deputy mayor for Etobicoke, Coun. Vince Crisanti said Wednesday, a day after he was ousted from the job.

On Tuesday, Tory announced that he was replacing Crisanti as his deputy in Etobicoke with Coun. Stephen Holyday. The move came days after Crisanti, who was appointed to the deputy post in 2014, attended Ford Fest last Friday and voiced his support for Doug Ford, who that night announced he will run for mayor in the next election.

In a statement, Tory said he was making the change because, based on Crisanti's "words and actions over the past few days, he has clearly stated he does not support my administration" and will campaign for another candidate.

On Wednesday, Crisanti called the move "shocking and surprising" because Tory knew when he appointed him that he supported former mayor Rob Ford in 2010, and both Fords in 2014. He has also attended Ford Fest in previous years.

"Mr. Tory acted like he just found out about it and he was shocked," Crisanti told CBC Toronto. "But what he didn't take into account is that I've done a great job up until now and that I would continue that to the end of the term. So Mr. Tory lost me now as someone that he could depend on."

He was also upset that Tory informed him of the change in a brief phone call, rather than a face-to-face meeting.

"I would have expected that he would have given me the respect to discuss his concerns with me in person before he made any decision," Crisanti said. "Mr. Tory had choices."

Crisanti said he conducted himself "professionally" while in the role, and his constituents will remain his priority as he continues to serve as councillor for Ward 1, Etobicoke North.

Tory stands by decision

On Wednesday, Tory defended the move, saying he did what he felt "is the right thing."

"You can't have somebody who's supposed to be your partner, who's then saying in the same breath that they're going to be out trying to undermine your efforts to move forward," Tory said when asked about the move during a housing announcement Wednesday morning.

Mayor John Tory addresses his move to oust Coun. Vince Crisanti as deputy mayor for Etobicoke at a housing-related news conference on Wednesday morning. (John Sandeman/CBC)

"And I'm so determined to move forward on these issues of housing and transit and traffic and jobs, that I've got to be able to focus on that without looking that somebody who's sitting supposedly as my partner beside me is trying to undermine me."

Tory's 'true colours' showing, Ford says

Also Wednesday, Doug Ford responded to the move, praising Crisanti as a hard-working councillor and a strong advocate for Etobicoke at city hall.

"You see the true colours of John Tory now. He knew exactly when he appointed him that he supported myself, that he supported Rob in the past, and he was very clear that he was going to do it in the future," Ford told CBC Toronto.

He added that over the course of his campaign, he is "going to expose the real John Tory," but did not elaborate on what that meant.

Doug Ford stepped into the mayoral race in September 2014 after his brother was forced to drop out following a cancer diagnosis. He finished second to Tory with about 34 per cent of the vote.

With files from Philippe de Montigny and Shanifa Nasser