Toronto Mayor John Tory calls the process of appointing interim city councilors “complicated” and “unusual,” following the hiring and subsequent resignation of a candidate to replace Michael Ford after homophobic social media posts surfaced.
Just hours after being appointed to succeed Ford as the Ward 1 city councillor until the end of the current term, Rosemarie Bryan resigned the post after a journalist highlighted several homophobic posts Bryan had shared on Facebook between 2015 and 2018.
“I am so devastated that past social media posts I have made are now being thrown against my decades of commitment to the community,” Bryan said in a statement Friday evening. “I do not want to make anyone in our city feel like they are not loved and not part of our community.”
The resignation raised questions about the city’s process for appointments and who is responsible for properly vetting candidates for the interim positions
On Monday, ahead of a meeting with Premier Doug Ford, Tory indicated it was Michael Ford — who vacated the ward after being elected as an MPP in York South Weston — who made the recommendation.
“The recommendations that we receive when it comes to these appointments that are made very late in the term have generally come from the outgoing councillors, because we thought they best knew how we can have a measure of continuity, and they know their communities better than anyone else does and we rely quite often for the recommendations from these councillors,” Tory told journalists.
The premier — who had been rankled with questions about nepotism after naming his nephew, Michael Ford, as Ontario’s minister of multiculturalism — was asked why Ford would make that recommendation in the first place.
“I can’t speak for Michael, but I will tell you, you know, the comments that I’ve heard… there’s no room for comments like that here in Ontario,” Ford told reporters. “She did the right thing. She stepped down immediately. And she’s no longer there.”
While Tory said the issue is being reviewed, he called the situation complicated.
“If you had the city clerk, for example, going over people social media — do you want a public servant making judgements about people who are offering themselves up for public office? Do you want the Mayor’s office doing that because that’s not really the best answer either,” Tory said.
“We’ll have to have a look at the process to make sure that it works, but there’s no simple answer.”
Michael Ford has not publicly addressed the controversial appointment or why he recommended Bryan as his replacement.