Coun. Karygiannis calls out potential rival over election flyer drop
The transition period between the 47-ward council that Torontonians thought they’d be voting for, and the 25-ward council that Premier Doug Ford is set to impose on the city has some councillors stepping on one another’s toes.
And at least one councillor, Ward 39 (Scarborough Agincourt) Coun. Jim Karygiannis is crying foul over a piece of literature that was apparently dropped by Ward 40 (Scarborough Agincourt) Coun. Norm Kelly in a neighbourhood that currently he is not registered to run in.
The literature, appropriately headlined WHOOPS!, is directed at residents in the Bridlewood neighbourhood that Kelly currently represents, telling them he will be running to represent them after all.
“Things have changed,” wrote Kelly in the letter, headlined Re-Elect Norm Kelly.
What things? It’s complicated.
Currently, candidates are registered to run in wards approved by council for a 47-ward council, which has different ward boundaries than the current 44-ward council.
On July 27, nominations closed for that council and the campaign period would have begun – except that same day, Premier Doug Ford announced legislation that would change the boundaries for a 25-ward council. To accommodate the change, the legislation extends nomination day for Toronto council until Sept. 14.
However, the legislation had not yet been approved when Kelly sent out the flyer – which he said was to correct an earlier communique he’d sent out, telling those residents he would not be representing them in the 47-ward configuration.
Bridlewood would be in the new larger riding, and Kelly wrote “that means I will be in a position to continue my service to you and your family.”
Karygiannis, who represents the northern part of the potential new ward, came across the flyer while canvassing in what would have been the future Ward 43. He said Kelly shouldn’t be doing any campaigning there, when Kelly is currently registered in the future Ward 42.
“We registered to run in the wards and we raised money to run in the wards,” said Karygiannis, who provided a copy of the flyer to Toronto.com.
“This is dropped in an area where he’s not registered to run. Who pays for it? It is inappropriate, it speaks to integrity, it speaks to playing fair and at the end of the day the voter will decide.”
Karygiannis, a former member of Parliament for the area, could be facing off against long-time councillor Kelly for the new seat.
For his part, Kelly said in an interview that he had sought staff advice as to whether he could campaign and where in fact he was registered.
“They’re not sure,” he said. “It’s chaotic. It’s a mess out there.”
Kelly said he believed he was within his rights to send the mailer out, because the changes to the electoral map will in all likelihood take place. He said the expenditure would be accounted for in his re-election campaign.
“Everything’s up in the air right now, and I assumed this would be my area,” said Kelly. “I can only tell you it was done in good faith. I thank Jim for bringing it to your attention and to mine. There was nothing duplicitous in intent. I sought guidance for it.”
Kelly said he would refrain from campaigning outside of the ward he registered to run in until the new legislation clarifies boundaries.