On Friday, November 28, 2014, John Tory declared a conflict of interest over city matters dealing with the Billy Bishop Toronto Centre Airport (BBTCA) recused himself from taking part in the Toronto Port Authority’s expansion plans. As the Toronto Star and CTV report, Valerie Jepson, the integrity commissioner, advised that since his son, John Tory Jr., has a business at the airport, the senior Tory should seek legal advice in not only the expansion question but in all BBTCA matters.
However, NoJetsTO acting chairman Norman Di Pasquale expressed concern about John Tory’s principal secretary Vic Gupta. As the Globe and Mail reported Mr. Gupta and John Tory’s chief of staff, Chris Elby, both worked for Sussex Strategy, the lobbying firm hired by Porter Airlines to persuade councillors to vote for the BBTCA expansion.
For a full record from the City of Toronto Lobbyist Registry of the lobbying over the BBTCA airport expansion plans, including by Sussex and John Tory Jr. (John AD Tory) start at http://app.toronto.ca/lobbyistsearch/disclaimer.do, click on ‘Search’ at the bottom of the page and on the next screen replicate the input information in the illustration below.
The search results include not only Sussex but all the lobbying concerning the expansion plans at the BBTA up to and after council’s April 1, 2014 vote. On the search results page, click on the ‘Subject Matter Registration No.’ links at the left-hand side to get details of each contact.
While Mr. Gupta or Mr. Elgy may no longer feel beholding to plug for the BBTCA expansion, there are others, including some on council already jockeying for position.
On October 9, 2014, as the recent election race was getting seriously under way, the Toronto Sun reported that a key councillor, Denzil Minnan-Wong, endorsed John Tory for mayor.
On November 28, the Globe and Mail in its article, John Tory warns of council shakeup, cites several sources as saying that John Tory is ‘seriously considering’ Denzil Minnan-Wong for deputy mayor. Councillor Minnan-Wong has voted in the past for motions that support the expansion plans.
It appears that if John Tory does support airport expansion, he can afford to recuse himself. There are others close to him that could easily take up the torch.