No Conflict of Interest in my Wife’s Company, My Son’s Job : MAYOR-ELECT JOHN TORY
TORONTO (November 28, 2014) – “During the election campaign, I was clear with voters that if I was elected Mayor, I would follow all of the rules and act with the integrity, honesty and professionalism that the public rightly demands.
As I prepare to take office, I wanted to outline a number of steps I have taken with regard to my personal interests. Avoiding conflicts of interest is extremely important and that responsibility rests with me and my office. It is not the responsibility of the City Solicitor or City staff. I have asked George Rust-D’Eye, Clayton Ruby and Thomas Barlow to provide me with legal advice on these matters. I have also met with the City’s Integrity Commissioner and briefed her on my plans. She has responded (letter attached) providing some additional recommendations that I will consider.
Based on the advice of my external counsel, I intend to declare an interest arising out of the following three matters:
- My son’s job in the airline industry;
- My wife’s company; and
- My involvement in Rogers.
I also have personal and family investments in publicly-traded corporations, but the advice I have received is that none raises an issue under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act
On the first matter outlined above, my eldest son John is the Chief Executive Officer of Private Air Inc., an airline company headquartered in Thunder Bay with a regional office at Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport.
Consistent with the Act, a child’s financial interest is also the financial interest of the elected official. Therefore, so long as my son continues to work at Private Air Inc. I will declare an interest under the Act in respect of any consideration by Council or a local board of the proposal to permit jet service at Billy Bishop. I cannot in good conscience interfere with my son’s ability to earn an income and support his family because of my decision to seek public office. As a result, the above arrangement will be put in place.
On the second matter, my wife Barbara Hackett is the president of Stratheden Homes Ltd., which is in the business of designing and renovating residential property. I have shares in the company and am a director. I am not aware of any current matters between Stratheden and the City. However, it is conceivable that matters could arise in the future. Again, consistent with the Act that deems a spouse’s financial interest to be the financial interest of the elected official, I will declare an interest under the Act in respect of any consideration by Council or a local board of a matter involving property owned by Stratheden Homes Ltd. other than an interest in common with electors generally.
I said during the election campaign that I would resign from the Board of Directors of Rogers Communications Inc. because, in my view, one cannot hold the position of Mayor and also devote the appropriate time required to be a director of a public company. Accordingly, I have resigned from that position. I have also resigned from the Board of Metro Inc.
I am also a trustee and director of various Rogers family-related trusts and private boards, and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Rogers Control Trust. Before his death, I gave my word to Ted Rogers that I would act in this capacity so long as I was able, and out of a sense of moral obligation to my late friend, I do not intend to resign from these positions.
What I intend to do is declare an interest generally in any consideration by Council or a local board of matters involving a Rogers-controlled company, whether or not I am required to do so under the Act.
My office has developed a framework for monitoring and proactively addressing any potential issues that could arise on the matters outlined above with the assistance of the Integrity Commissioner and external counsel. I am confident, and my legal counsel agrees, that these steps allow me to be in full compliance with the law and, in some cases, exceed its requirements. I believe that’s what the public expects of its elected officials and as Mayor I intend to lead by example.”