TORONTO – City council has voted in favour of filling Doug Holyday’s vacant seat in Ward 3 by appointment at a special council meeting Monday.
Mayor Rob Ford had been pushing for a byelection to fill the spot left by Holyday, who served as deputy mayor as well as a councillor for Etobicoke’s Ward 3 before running for a seat with the provincial Tories.
“Byelection is the only way to let Ward 3 residents have true representation at these crucial debates,” Ford said at the special council meeting.
But council voted 22-11 to fill the seat by appointment.
“It’s straightforward. We have to start listening to what the taxpayers want in this city and this council does not do that,” Ford said.
Coun. Gord Perks was in favour of a byelection.
“I just believe in democracy,” he said. “It’s pretty straightforward.”
Others on city council said an appointment made more sense, given that the next municipal vote is little more than a year away.
“It is a good day for democracy,” said Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker. “We’ve done today what we’ve done for the last decade that I’ve certainly been on council and that’s appoint somebody who’s going to take care of the people in Etobicoke.”
“We saved taxpayers over $200,000 by giving an appointment.”
But Coun. Doug Ford thinks council made a mistake.
“What is so hard about letting the people decide?”
“This is the worst thing for democracy this city ‘s ever seen. It’s the council ignoring the will of the people.”
Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong — who typically votes in sync with the mayor — voted in favour of appointment.
“Byelections at the best of times have a very poor turnout. In November, when it’s very cold and people are preparing for the holidays, one has to really wonder how much democracy is going to be served,” he said.
Holyday was sworn in as the provincial member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore last week after winning one of five byelections held in the province Aug. 1.
Council will make the final decision on appointing a candidate at a meeting Oct. 10.