One of John Tory’s first appointments in his role as mayor was his eyebrow-raising nod to Frances Nunziata as Speaker. City Hall observers may remember her as the Ford era mouth in charge at council meetings that spent a lot of time yelling at a council that she could barely manage. The voice of decorum she was not.
Hot on the heels of that questionable lack of judgement, John Tory appointed Deputy-Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong to the Waterfront Toronto Board of Directors. There is reason to be concerned. Minnan-Wong is the councillor who created the fuss over costs at sugar beach. He completely ignored the bigger picture. In so doing, he appears to be an example of Oscar Wilde’s observation on knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Even more ominously, Minnan-Wong argued that he was trying to initiate an “important discussion” about the future of the organization. Waterfront Toronto, a widely respected organization that welcomes community input and eschews jets at the BBTCA.
Denzil wants airport expansion
In addition to Minnan-Wong’s eye on Waterfront Toronto’s future, he is a staunch airport expansionist and would make a powerful stand-in for John Tory who has declared a conflict of interest in BBTCA matters. The appointment raises questions about the Tory-led council when the second-in-command can take the lead on the expansion file.
Even without the mayor wading in, returning councillors who in the past voted pro-expansion, already know where they stand. The only serious impediment in the way of their yes vote is a negative Toronto Port Authority’s Environmental Assessment (EA), a highly unlikely event given the port authority’s history conducting EAs. With a positive EA and pressure from Deputy-Mayor Minnan-Wong representing the man with the power, it stands to reason that the fresh faces on council as well as the mushy-middle will go along with an expansion vote. No doubt the Porter Airlines’ lobbying machine will do its part to make sure.