On October 22, 2018, Giorgio Mammoliti was finally removed from Toronto City Council. That was one of the few highlights in a demoralizing municipal election. When Premier Doug Ford reduced the size of council from 47 to 25 seats in the middle of the election campaign, he undermined local democracy and the city’s authority to conduct fair elections. Bill 5 shut out many great candidates, especially young and diverse voices. Despite a last-minute challenge from former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat, John Tory cruised to an easy win for a second term as mayor.
The new larger wards saw many races where two incumbents ran against each other, including allies Paula Fletcher and Mary Fragedakis in Toronto-Danforth, and Josh Matlow and Joe Mihevc in Toronto-St. Paul’s. Sometimes it meant choosing between two good representatives (or a promising challenger), but in Ward 7, it meant finally getting rid of City Hall’s greatest embarrassment.
Under the approved 47-ward model, there were four candidates in Ward 7, represented for many years by Giorgio Mammoliti. Nick Di Nizio, who came in second place in 2014, registered to run again in 2018. They were joined by two young candidates of colour: TDSB trustee Tiffany Ford, and Keegan Henry-Mathieu. Henry-Mathieu ran in 2014, placing sixth.
In nearby Ward 8 (both wards had similar boundaries to the old Wards 7 and 8), incumbent Anthony Perruzza was up against seven other candidates. The most prominent challenger was Deanna Sgro, daughter of Liberal MP Judy Sgro. Deanna Sgro ran for the provincial Liberals in the June election, but lost to the NDP’s Tom Rakocevic. Sgro also carried some baggage: she was reprimanded by the Law Society of Upper Canada for professional misconduct at her debt collection firm.
Wards 7 and 8 (and a small part of Ward 9, represented by Maria Augimeri) were combined under Bill 5 to create a new Ward 7, with the same boundaries as the provincial and federal riding of Humber River-Black Creek. The ward includes York University and Black Creek Pioneer Village, as well as the Jane-Finch neighbourhood and large industrial areas west of Highway 400.
With the new ward boundaries, Anthony Perruzza became the front-runner against Giorgio Mammoliti. Several candidates, including Di Nizio and Henry-Mathieu, withdrew from the race.
Perruzza won Ward 7 with the support of 36.8 percent of the electorate, and he got 2,711 more votes than Mammoliti, who came in second place with 24.8 percent. They were followed by Sgro, who got 19.9 percent of the vote, and Ford, with 14.1 percent. There were four other candidates, none of whom got more than two percent of the total vote.
In the 22 election-day polls within the old Ward 7, Mammoliti’s old turf, he was still able to come in first place, taking 30.3 percent of the vote. Perruzza came in second place, with 28.8 percent, followed by Sgro with 24.3 percent, and Tiffany Ford at 13.1 percent. Despite Mammoliti’s notoriety, he still had the support of a plurality of his constituents.
Anthony Perruzza was able to win thanks to voters in his old Ward 8. Perruzza was the first choice in each of those 30 polls, and took 48.7 percent of the vote, followed by Ford with 19.9 percent. Mammoliti came in third, with 15.8 percent and Sgro with 14.0 percent.
Had Bill 5 not been introduced, there would have been a very good chance that Mammoliti would have been returned to Toronto City Council. If there was any good that came out of Doug Ford’s meddling, it was this.
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