Archived columns and blog posts by Matt Elliott

City Council Scorecard: How often is your councillor voting with Mayor John Tory?

By: Metro Published on Fri Apr 24 2015

Now that Mayor John Tory has some city hall experience under his belt, it’s time to ask how he's handling council.

To answer that, I’ve resurrected my slightly-famous City Council Scorecard. The Scorecard tracks the results of Toronto City Council votes that I deem newsworthy or important, and then calculates how often the 44 ward councillors have voted with or against the mayor. You can read more about it here.

Tory’s scorecard is interesting. On one hand, the numbers say he’s doing pretty well. He’s won 81.25 per cent of votes, and can count 25 councillors as solid allies on what I’ve called “Team Tory.”

On the other hand, however, I expected him to do a bit better.

Whether it’s because of his obvious frustration with the council meeting process or because his staff are still learning how to win friends and influence people at city hall, Tory is not wielding the kind of control over key council votes I thought he would. Five months in, Tory has just three more council allies than predecessor Rob Ford had at about the same time last term.

After five council meetings — three regular meetings and two special sessions, including the city budget debate — here’s how Tory’s scorecard looks.

You can view the full detailed breakdown of all votes included on Google Drive, or as a PDF.

A few highlights:

  • For all the media hype about him being Tory’s “official opposition,” Coun. Rob Ford has mostly gone along with Tory on important votes, with a Team Tory percentage of just under 82 per cent. If the former mayor really is attempting to be Tory’s opposition, he’s doing a lousy job.
  • Speaking of Ford, just two councillors so far are tracking to be less loyal to Tory than they were to Ford: Coun. Frank Di Giorgio, who served as Ford’s budget chief, and Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti, who I won’t even attempt to describe.
  • Coun. Gord Perks and Coun. Janet Davis were the two councillors most opposed to Ford last term. So far, they are also the two councillors voting most often against Tory. Points for consistency.

The biggest change so far between Ford and Tory? Tory’s council isn’t as polarized. In April of 2011, my scorecard showed Ford having 22 solid council allies,16 opposing councillors and six fence-sitters. Tory, on the other hand, currently has 25 allies, six councillors in solid opposition and 13 fence-sitters.

In other words, Tory’s council hasn’t devolved into a ideologically-divided warzone. Not yet, anyway!

Going forward, Tory’s challenge will be more consistently winning over at least a few of those councillors in the middle. Most of them lean to the left side of the political spectrum, though there are some true centrists and conservatives in that group.

Fair criticisms, all. But Tory needs to do more than just complain. If he wants a more functional council — and a council that listens to him — he’s got to propose some real and concrete changes to the process.

Some stronger leadership probably wouldn’t hurt either.

This post was originally published at on 2015-04-24T00:00:00.000Z

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Matt Elliott

City Hall watcher, columnist and policy wonk in Toronto.
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