By Gerald V. Paul
New Mayor John Tory wore his late father’s tie and in the presence of family, friends, and a wide cross-section of community members said: “We are one Toronto – one for all and all for one. None of us can be satisfied with the snapshot that has emerged in recent years, of a city unfairly and unjustly divided by income, class and geography.”
Tory who had his mentor present, former Brampton mayor and premier Bill Davis, said “None of us can rest easy knowing that 150,000 Toronto kids are growing up in poverty- or that 15 neighbourhoods have poverty rates of 40% or more.”
He said he has devoted a good part of his adult life to combating this and believes the job he now has gives him the best chance to continue to do so.
Tory said that a Toronto with these levels of poverty is not the Toronto we remember and it cannot be the Toronto we leave to our children.
“As mayor I ask you to join me in ending the neglect that leaves too many citizens behind in our city’s most isolated neighbourhoods,” Tory said.
He also called on the audience to join him in tackling “our unacceptable youth jobless rate.”
Tory, who kept Councilor Michael Thompson on as economic development chair, told him to “Sell. Sell. Sell.”
He asked council to “work with me to build a strong, inclusive city of opportunity from Etobicoke to Scarborough and from North York to the waterfront.”
Tory said Toronto is a city where every single resident, without exception, should feel confident in their government, confident in their police, and confident in their own future.
The mayor plans to sit on the Toronto Police Services Board but will drop Thompson from the board. Thompson was appointed by former mayor Rob Ford as his designate on the police services board in 2010.
Ford dropped out of the mayoralty race due to health concerns but was elected Etobicoke Ward 2 councilor. Tory moved a motion at the first council meeting to thank Ford for his contributions as mayor.
“Our goal in the next four years must be to unite us as one Toronto and turn a good city into a truly great one. A place where there is opportunity for all – all in all corners of the city,” Tory said.
He said he envisions a safe, prosperous, caring, fair, humane place to work and live, a place where, in reality, “we really don’t leave anyone behind.”
“I know we can act in common to achieve some uncommon results. Better days are ahead. Together, let’s finish the job that voters began on Oct. 27 and build one great City, one Toronto,” Tory said, echoing his campaign slogan.