Photo Credit: The New York Times
The answer is yes
Aramayah Ocol, Contributor
Shortly after the Toronto Star released a published investigative piece surfacing Tory’s affair with a former staffer, John Tory publicly announced his resignation. This announcement comes early into his third term as mayor. Although only having announced his resignation after being outed by the Toronto Star, Tory acknowledged whether his affair transgressed an ethical code by giving the public a timeline of how and when his affair took place.
In his statement, John Tory states that the new relationship began during the pandemic when his duties separated him from his wife for prolonged periods. While the former mayor’s actions were not only in extremely bad taste, they also involved an unquestionable abuse of power. However, his act of admission was respectful to the dignity held by the office of the mayor. Tory’s public statement did not seek any justification. His admission acknowledges that he violated workplace standards and abused his power as mayor over a subordinate.
However, why is John Tory’s resignation from the office of mayor necessary?
Gillian Hnatiw, a Toronto lawyer and principal of the feminist litigation firm Gillian Hnatiw & Co, interviewed by CTV News, states that “. . . the subordinate in the relationship realises that certainly their professional life [and] often their career path is at the mercy of a person with whom they’re now trying to end a relationship.” What is undeniable is that John Tory himself says that, “the employee decided to pursue employment outside the city hall and secured a job elsewhere.”
While the employee’s reasons for leaving are left unmentioned, the imbalance of power is explicit. The woman left her professional position while John Tory stayed on as mayor. The ramifications of Tory’s affair have jeopardised her career. His position of power over her made it the “logical” decision for her to leave instead of him, regardless of any potential coercive behaviour on his part. However, the ramifications of the affair for the employee at the time she left the mayor’s office are unbalanced.
In Canada, we commit ourselves to being progressive and equal in our treatment of everyone. Tory’s affair with a younger employee reduces the Canadian claim to these standards. As a mayor of Toronto, John Tory was a figure that represented our values as a country.
John Tory announced his resignation as mayor of Toronto and a representative of Canada immediately in a way that was only right given the circumstances. With or without intent, his position of power and secrecy transgressed the ethical codes of the workplace. Therefore, it was both warranted, right, and respectful for John Tory to step down.