He was joined by a new group of councillors that looks a lot like the previous one.
With bagpipes opening the proceedings, City Hall’s inaugural session is unlike any other in the term.
To begin with, it’s mostly ceremonial. The 44 incoming councillors, of whom 37 served last term, wore white flowers, and each received a commemorative plaque to hang on their office wall. This was for show, of course—the city clerk swore the councillors in yesterday—but today’s invitation-only event was a time for friends, family, staffers, and the odd lobbyist to share a proud moment.
The inaugural council session does not offer much in the way of substance—council committees, which forward items of business to the general council, have not yet been formed—but they do give an indication of what the tone of City Hall will be like over the four years to come. Such was the case at Rob Ford’s 2010 inauguration, which included some memorably divisive remarks by Don Cherry: “put that in your pipe, you left-wing kooks.”
Cherry did not appear at today’s ceremony, however. Instead, Tory invited Bill Davis, the former Conservative premier under whom Tory served as chief of staff in the early 1980s, as a special guest. Also invited was Louise Russo, who founded the non-profit Working Against Violence Everyday after a stray bullet shattered her spine in 2004.
Despite or because of the desire to move beyond the past four years of Fordian rule, Tory took time in his remarks to pass an informal “motion” to thank Ford for his continued public service and to wish him a speedy recovery from his illness. Following a chorus of yeas, the new mayor declared the motion to have passed unanimously.
The notion of a unified city has returned to council’s chamber, but it’s unclear whether that will be reflected in the way councillors conduct the business of City Hall. hall. The new council meets for the first time in for formal session on December 11.