Monday, July 7, 2014

Two Toronto city council seats filled by appointment

TORONTO - Toronto has two new councillors — but they won’t be around for long.

Council voted Monday to appoint Ceta Ramkhalawansingh as the new councillor for Trinity-Spadina (Ward 20) and James Maloney as the new councillor for Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Ward 5). The two will serve on council until the Oct. 27 municipal election.

Ramkhalawansingh — who worked as the city’s diversity manager until retiring four years ago — replaces Adam Vaughan who left his council seat before successfully running for the federal Liberals in Trinity-Spadina byelection.

Maloney — a Toronto lawyer — replaces Peter Milczyn who vacated his council seat after being elected to Queen’s Park as a Liberal MPP for Etobicoke Lakeshore.

“I really hope I can serve the constituents of Ward 20,” Ramkhalawansingh said after the vote.

She has lived in the ward for the last 43 years and stressed she will not be running in the Oct. 27 election.

“I’ve been very active in the community; I’ve gotten involved in municipal politics for a number of years with campaigns for councillor, for mayors,” Maloney said after winning the appointment. “It is four months, I can do this job and give back to the community.”

Maloney also assured council he doesn’t plan to run for the seat in the October election.

Etobicoke Councillor Mark Grimes applauded the appointment of Maloney — who was his council campaign manager in the last election.

“He knows the ground he walks on,” Grimes said.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong called the appointments “a complete waste of time” given that there are only two council meetings left.

“It would make a lot more sense if maybe those functions were taken over by the staff and we just left the seat open,” Minnan-Wong said.

“It is unnecessary to appoint someone.”

City officials advised council the seat couldn’t be left vacant until the next election.

Under the municipal elections act, council has to fill any vacancy within 60 days and council could only leave a seat vacant if election day was less than 90 days away.
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