On August 26, 2013, Toronto City Council held a special meeting to decide on how the Council seat in Ward 3, vacated by Doug Holyday’s election to the Provincial Legislature, would be filled. In my view, this was a difficult decision. Giving voters in Ward 3 a chance to have their voices heard in a by-election would naturally be given weight in our democratic system. However, we as Councillors must also be mindful of all municipal spending and determine whether taxpayers are truly getting value for that money. In this case, a by-election would have cost taxpayers an estimated $225,000.
During the course of the debate it became increasingly clear that there would be little value to a by-election so close to the registration date for the 2014 general elections. In fact, though a by-election date would have been November 25, 2013 the formal campaign period (including post-campaign audits etc.) would extend into the time in which candidates can register to run and begin actively campaigning again (January 1, 2014).
Given that there would be almost no break between by-election and general election campaigning, I voted with the majority of Council to support appointment. Under the appointment process Etobicoke Community Council will recommend an appointee to council. This will in all likelihood be a fiscal conservative (in the Doug Holyday mode) who promises not to run in the 2014 election. I will definitely support a fiscally conservative caretaker appointee, as Doug Holyday has suggested. Mr. Holyday was elected many times in Ward 3, and though we did not always see eye to eye politically, one can presume that he reflects values of the majority of the voters in that area.