Friday, July 19, 2024
"Who cares who John Tory sleeps with?" laughs Neil Shorey of City Taxi. "Who believes that's really why he resigned?" Photo: BlogTO
Feature/ProfileOpinion/ColumnRide Hailing newsTaxi industry news

Tory back at Rogers: no one is surprised

Revisions to Municipal Act came too late to help Taxi owners

RWN/Taxi News publisher Rita Smith

John Tory has rejoined the Board of Directors of Rogers Communications, the Globe and Mail reported on March 22nd.

This cannot come as a surprise to anyone in Canada with a pulse. However, it is a particularly bitter announcement for any of the 5,500 Taxi owner/operators whose businesses were decimated when John Tory permitted Uber to operate outside of regulation and without insurance for years while he worked to get an entirely new by-law written to legalize their business model.

“Rogers” and “NewsTalk1010” were to top responses to this 2023 quiz after John Tory resigned as Mayor. Image: Taxi News

“The connection between Tory and Roger’s was undeniable right from beginning, Uber couldn’t function without availability of data and a smart phone, so Rogers was there to provide them and Tory was a political catalyst to move the project forward,” says Taxi operator Behrouz Khamseh.

Khamseh was so disgusted by the blatant favouritism then-Mayor John Tory showed Uber that he filed a complaint with Toronto’s Integrity Commissioner (IC) Valerie Jepson in 2015.

“I wish to file an official complaint over the unethical and extremely inappropriate behaviour of Mayor John Tory with regard to his public support for the Uber group of companies, especially during the very period that City of Toronto staff are in court requesting an injunction to stop Uber from conducting business illegally in Toronto.

“I believe that Mayor John Tory is in violation of sections 8, 9, and 10 of Toronto’s Code of Conduct for City Councillors,” Khamseh wrote in his complaint.

Read Khamseh’s full 2015 ethics complaint about John Tory

“The Mayor of Toronto, whose campaign manager works for Uber;

● whose corporate partners promote with Uber;

● whose bureaucratic staff have taken the extraordinary action of going to court to ask for an injunction to prevent Uber from doing business illegally in Toronto;

Is behaving unethically when he insists upon promoting one private sector business over another in Toronto’s marketplace, during the very period this case is before the court, and should be censured.”

Much to Khamseh’s disappointment, the Integrity Commissioner’s 2015 reply noted that her office did not have the regulatory authority to investigate Conflict of Interest complaints. However, Ontario’s Municipal Act was revised over the next few years and revisions to Section 223 came into force March 1, 2019, giving the IC the needed authority to investigate exactly these complaints.

By the time Section 223 of the Municipal Act was re-written, Khamseh had lost the stomach to continue fighting City Hall and did not re-file his complaint.

Then in 2022 John Tory surprised everyone by announcing he’d had some kind of affair – emotional, or physical, or sports-related – with one of his office staff and resigned.

In 2023, in a 122-page report, Toronto’s new Integrity Commissioner Jonathan Batty concluded “that Mr. Tory had broken ethics rules, both by having an affair with a subordinate and by voting on a proposal for the city to pursue a World Cup deal with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, since by this time MLSE employed the woman he’d had an affair with. (Rogers and BCE Inc. together own 75 per cent of MLSE, the parent company of Toronto’s professional hockey, basketball, soccer and Canadian Football League teams.)”

City Taxi’s Neil Shorey scoffs at the idea Tory resigned over an office affair: “Who cares who John Tory sleeps with? Who believes that is actually why he resigned?” Shorey laughs. “He became Mayor to get some things done; he got them done. Why stick around to deal with all the problems he created? He never really left Rogers, did he?”

Shorey makes an interesting point: why did Tory ACTUALLY resign? Time will tell. I came across some compelling items while I was researching this article.

Re-read Jonathan Batty’s 2023 report on Tory’s “Conduct Concerning a Personal Relationship.”

Except, never mind anything about the personal relationship. Focus on Issues 3 and 4, all concerned with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and the FIFA World Cup.

When Toronto taxpayers get slammed with the entire cost of the World Cup, Olivia Chow will get the blame. If this were a hockey or soccer game, it would be considered a great deke.

Jonathan Batty’s 2023 report on John Tory’s “personal relationship”