Doug Ford's head photoshopped onto Thanos. "Perfectly balanced…as all things should be."

2018 Municipal Election Postmortem

So after all the protests and petitions, court dates and emergency Council meetings, Doug Ford’s Thanos’ing of City Council went ahead. And it turned out the only way it could: a newly elected council even more homogeneous than the last one, and even less representative than the city it serves. I’m sure a lot of people are wondering, “Why even bother?” I know I am.

Anyway, I dashed off this quick summary of how everything shakes out, and a few remarks on what may happen this upcoming term. (Skip to Analysis if you want.)


Let’s break down the results. I’ve highlighted particularly interesting or significant results. “I” stands for “incumbent”.

  • Ward 1, Etobicoke North: Michael Ford (I), Doug Ford’s nephew, defeated fellow conservative Vincent Crisanti (I).

  • Ward 2, Etobicoke Centre: Stephen Holyday (I) defeated fellow conservative John Campbell (I). Some could discern differences between them, but to be honest, I mixed them up for a few years. They’re like one of those tricky genuses where you can only identify the species by carefully examining the genitalia under a microscope. This analogy’s gotten away from me.

  • Ward 3, Etobicoke–Lakeshore: Mark Grimes (I). Neighbouring incumbent Justin Di Ciano, also conservative, dropped out.

  • Ward 4, Parkdale–High Park: Gord Perks (I). Neighbouring incumbent Sarah Doucette, also progressive, dropped out.

  • Ward 5, York South–Weston: Frances Nunziata (I) defeated fellow conservative Frank Di Giorgio (I).

  • Ward 6, York Centre James Pasternak (I), a staunch conservative, defeated venerable progressive Maria Augimeri (I).

  • Ward 7, Humber River–Black Creek: Anthony Perruzza (I), a longtime NDPer known for bursting into dramatic if somewhat incoherent speeches in Council, defeated unmigitated ass-clown Giorgio Mammoliti (I).

    • Ward 8, Eglinton–Lawrence: Mike Colle jumped into the race when his son Josh Colle (I) dropped out. He defeated Christin “Her?” Carmichael Greb (I). I think for our purposes going forward we can treat Mike Colle as effectively interchangeable with his son, since apparently everyone else did.
  • Ward 9, Davenport: Ana Bailão (I), a Liberal who talks a good progressive game but in practice votes and works closely with the mayor. Neighbouring incumbent Cesar Palacio, a right-wing Liberal, dropped out.

    • Ward 10, Spadina–Fort York: Joe Cressy (I).

    • Ward 11, University–Rosedale: Mike Layton (I).

  • Ward 12, Toronto–St. Paul’s: Josh Matlow (I) defeated Joe Mihevc (I). For me, this was the most interesting race, and the only one I was uncertain about up till the very end. Both could be described as progressive. Mihevc’s social justice roots are deep, but he has been more willing to compromise with ideological opponents like John Tory, who endorsed him late in the game. Matlow started out as cartoonishly centrist, but has developed into a dogged opponent of Tory’s transit plans. His political career has a lot more potential to evolve, I think.

    • Ward 13, Toronto Centre: Kristyn Wong-Tam (I). Technically she was running against an incumbent, Lucy Troisi, but she was appointed quite late in the term.1

    • Ward 14, Toronto–Danforth: Paula Fletcher (I) defeated Mary Fragedakis (I).

    • Ward 15, Don Valley West: Jaye Robinson (I) defeated Jon Burnside (I).

    • Ward 16, Don Valley East: Denzil Minnan-Wong (I).

    • Ward 17, Don Valley North: Shelley Carroll (I).

    • Ward 18, Willowdale: John Filion (I). He had previously decided not to run again and endorsed runner-up Lily Cheng. Awkward.

    • Ward 19, Beaches–East York: Tory-endorsed Brad Bradford defeated former NDP MP Matthew Kellway.

    • Ward 20, Scarborough Southwest: Gary Crawford (I) defeated Michelle Holland-Berardinetti (I).

    • Ward 21, Scarborough Centre: Michael Thompson (I).

    • Ward 22, Scarborough–Agincourt: Jim Karygiannis (I), the no name brand version of Giorgio Mammoliti, defeated Norm Kelly (I), an ancient, shambling husk of a man, possessed by a hip PR agency. No matter who wins, we all lose.

    • Ward 23, Scarborough North: Cynthia Lai. Likely to be conservative, based on her Sun endorsement and real estate industry ties.

    • Ward 24, Scarborough–Guildwood: Paul Ainslie (I).

    • Ward 25, Scarborough–Rouge Park: Jennifer McKelvie defeated Neethan Shan (I). Ideologically speaking, McKelvie seems to be a mixed bag—in this case, not particularly different from Shan, a NDPer who cloaked subway pandering in social justice platitudes.


    • Incumbent councillors are so entrenched that the only ways to break the old-white-male stranglehold on City Council are a) redraw boundaries to create additional wards with no incumbents; or b) councillors stepping down.

      Both of these happened last term. With three extra wards and several vacant seats due to an unusual number of councillors having died in office or not running for re-election, the 2018 election was an unprecedented opportunity to create a more diverse, more representative Council—exactly what Doug Ford was afraid of. (Because conservatism is about concentrating, not redistributing, power and resources.)

      So the 25-ward election was pretty much designed to produce a heavily conservative, old-white-male Council, with only four newcomers. Incumbents were pitted against each other; promising newcomers who would otherwise have worked alongside them were forced to drop out. It was an ugly, dreary campaign.

    • The Star’s analysis categorizes the four newcomers as “unknown”, but I think they will all be mayoral allies. A few “right” councillors—Ainslie, Crawford, Karygiannis, Thompson—generally side with the mayor but will vote against him on particular issues that may or may not turn out to be important in the upcoming term, like arts funding, labour, and policing. Likewise, some “left” councillors, like Carroll, Matlow, Perruzza, and Wong-Tam, will break ranks occasionally.

      They predict a 9/4/12 split (left/unknown/right). I think it will work out to 9/16, an easy right-wing majority, with perhaps some close calls on votes that call for a two-thirds majority. This is pertinent because rewriting by-laws and procedures to deal with councillors’ vastly increased workloads will require a lot of two-thirds votes.

    • We’re going to have to figure out how committees and community councils are going to work, oh Jesus. There are a bunch of possibilities, but for example:

      • Parsimonious version: lots of business delegated to community councils; several standing committees get merged together and just have long-ass meetings

      • Generous version: community councils supplemented with neighbourhood-level citizens’ committees; standing committees supplemented with citizens appointed as members, like with the various advisory committees and boards.

      I am not an expert on City procedures, please take this with a grain of salt.

      Of course, all of this could be moot if Ford, as predicted, gives Tory “strong mayor” powers.

    • I expect that, like last term, Tory will appoint multiple “deputy mayors”. In practice, it doesn’t actually mean much. He’s touted Bradford as a “relief line champion”; we might see Bailão as the “housing champion”…okay, I don’t actually care enough about this to keep going.

    • In case it wasn’t obvious, Council’s broad direction for the next four years is going to be status quo—flatlining revenues while “kicking the can down the road”—but perhaps this warrants its own post.

    • If they make Nunziata Speaker again, I’m going to flip a fucking table.2

    1. Troisi was appointed in 2017 to replace the late Pam McConnell and got in largely because (unlike McConnell) she would be a reliable Tory ally. (Tory, in whipping this vote, broke from the tradition of respecting the councillor’s or councillor’s family’s preferred successor, and he has continued to successfully push for appointees who will side with him.) Appointed councillors are expected to promise not to run again, because they would effectively be taking advantage of being an incumbent without having been elected in the first place. Troisi made this promise and broke it, generally considered a very tacky move.  

    2. Almost anyone would be a better choice, but a more obvious one is Shelley Carroll, who served as Deputy Speaker in the past. 

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