News / Toronto

John Tory’s deputy mayor backs Doug Ford in 2018 race

Vince Crisanti, long a Ford ally, was named to Tory’s inner circle early in the mayor’s term, but introduced Tory’s rival at the annual Ford family BBQ in Etobicoke on Friday.

Deputy Mayor Vincent Crisanti introduces Doug Ford at the annual Ford Fest on Sept. 8.

DAVID RIDER / TORONTO STAR

Deputy Mayor Vincent Crisanti introduces Doug Ford at the annual Ford Fest on Sept. 8.

One of John Tory’s deputy mayors has endorsed Tory’s rival Doug Ford in the 2018 mayoral race, leveling a major blow in a campaign that has not even officially begun.

In an interview with the Etobicoke Guardian’s David Nickle, Deputy Mayor Vince Crisanti, who represents Ward 1 (Etobicoke North), said Tuesday he will support Ford.

“My stripes ain’t no different. So next year, come election time, I’ll continue to do what I’ve done in the past and support Doug Ford,” Crisanti, a long-time Ford ally told the paper.

“We still have a year and a bit left in this term. I’m confident I can continue doing my job supporting this administration without hesitation. But come election time, I don’t see why anything should change.”

Crisanti did not immediately return the Star’s requests for comment.

The councillor’s allegiances came under questioning after he appeared centre stage at the annual Ford family BBQ, dubbed “Ford Fest,” held at Ford’s mother’s home in Etobicoke on Friday.

“Wow! Let me say this: if anyone doubts the power of Ford Nation, come here tonight,” Crisanti told the crowd Friday. “I’m honoured to be here tonight. I’m honoured to always support Ford Fest, and here we are supporting the Ford family any way we can. I was thinking to myself about Rob Ford. Rob Ford is with us. He is everywhere tonight. I had such a great, very close relationship with Rob. I was first elected in 2010 with the support of Rob Ford and I’m here today because of the Fords.”

Rob Ford talks to Vincent Crisanti (left) and Cathy Thom, City Planing department rep at the consultations in January 2013.

Rene Johnston/ Toronto Star

Rob Ford talks to Vincent Crisanti (left) and Cathy Thom, City Planing department rep at the consultations in January 2013.

On Monday, Tory was asked whether a deputy mayor could support a different mayoral contender.

“I would expect they wouldn’t, to be frank,” Tory told reporters. “When that appointment is made, I think it carries with it the expectation that you’re an important part of the team.”

Tory wouldn’t say whether Crisanti would continue to be afforded the status of deputy mayor. His office did not immediately provide additional comment Tuesday.

Tory named four deputy mayors in 2014. North York Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong weilds the official powers of deputy mayor, while the appointments of Crisanti, Scarborough Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker and the late downtown councillor Pam McConnell were largely symbolic. The appointments followed a campaign promise of uniting a city, often divided along urban and surburban lines, under the banner of “One Toronto.”

As deputy mayors, the four have represented Tory at various functions and — with the exception of McConnell — have been largely loyal to Tory within the council chamber on major policy votes.

Crisanti came to city hall under Rob Ford’s administration with the mayor’s support, beating incumbent Suzan Hall after two unsuccessful attempts in 2000 and 2003.

He supported the Fords in important moves including ousting former TTC CEO Gary Webster when he opposed the push to extend the Sheppard subway and on failed votes such as the held on a downtown casino.

The 2018 campaign does not start until May 1, when the nomination period begins.

Ford declared his intentions to launch a rematch with Tory, who has always promised to run for a second term, at Ford Fest on Friday.

With files from David Rider and Emily Mathieu

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