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Ford and friends want a municipal by-election in Downsview. Get ready for a “referendum” on the mayor’s term so far

Maria Augimeri and Gus Cusimano

Last week, the Ontario Superior Court ruled that Maria Augimeri’s narrow Ward 9 victory (89 votes!) in last October’s municipal election was invalid because of irregularities in the voter list. City staff are saying they’ll appeal the case, but if the court’s decision stands Toronto could be heading for a by-election in North York that would be a showdown between a Rob Ford critic and a Rob Ford supporter—in this case, we’re assuming Gus Cusimano will be running again. To make the situation even more juicy, the man credited for getting Ford elected—erstwhile electoral mastermind Nick Kouvalis—has offered to run Cusiamo’s campaign, should the by-election go ahead.

According to the Toronto Star:

“Augimeri isn’t keen on implementing Ford’s agenda,” Kouvalis said in a phone interview Monday, adding he plans to frame the by-election as “referendum” on Ford’s progress, with a plea to give him another vote to expand contracting-out, cut the budget and other conservative initiatives.

“Augimeri votes with the left on most occasions and, if we can replace her with somebody who votes on the center-right on most occasions, that would be a huge victory for the mayor,” Kouvalis said.

Calling this as-yet-theoretical win for the mayor “huge” suggests that either Kouvalis has never heard the words “diminishing returns” or he thinks that Rob Ford’s position on council is weaker than advertised. Adding one more vote to Ford’s 2:1 advantage on council isn’t going to make or break the mayor’s agenda. The Star reports that the mayor’s inner circle is worried about council’s “mushy middle” turning against them. But if that’s the case, it’s going to be because of the coming showdown over next year’s budget, not Maria Augimeri.

Aside from the grudge-match, Ford and his allies are eager to turn this in to a referendum on Ford’s performance as mayor so far. The question is: has the wave of inchoate rage that carried Ford to office receded yet? Can a man still run as an anti-incumbent gravy-hunter when his name is preceded by the words “His Worship”?

• Ford team eager to go up against Augimeri [Toronto Star]

(Images: Augimeri,; Cusimano, Facebook)

  • Nick

    Whether Augimeri wins a byelection really has no bearing on council or on the opinion of the public.

    She was already reluctant to implement Ford’s agenda. If she wins, nothing changes. Ford has had no problem pushing the agenda through, with or without Augimeri. If she loses, then perhaps Ford gains an ally but once again, Ford has had no problems so far in his tenure as mayor.

    And if the vote was so close to begin with, would anyone be surprised if Augimeri came out with a win? I certainly would not be surprised at all.

    I look at this as another recount. Ford and Ford’s agenda are safe, no matter what the result is. Sorry “Torontolies”…this is once again, a non-story.

  • Missy

    I agree with your comment, but it sure would speed up things at city hall if she did lose. One less whiner to listen to! hahahahah

  • Vince

    I just wonder if Maria Augimeri was crying over this.


    The elections must be a level playing field. We don’t play by the rules of the connected, the rich or the dishonest.
    Getting there by cheating is an indication of what you will do in office. There are several other who need a close look but likely won’t get it.

  • Matt

    @Tim. Cheating? That is a fairly bold statement. To my Knowledge Mrs.Augimeri has been on Council for 20+ yrs. That would mean a lot of cheating don’t you think?

  • Ted

    Yes, she has held her seat for 20 odd years, but if you look at the trend (especially the last election) her support has erroded to the point where she supposedly won by less then 100 votes, and for the Supreme court to ok a by-election they have seen some very convincing evidence.

    Maria waited till the last minutes to get involved in this, as soon as she was told she would have to vacate her seat she pushed the panic button.

    At least one good thing, this will keep her mind occupied on how to survive and stop her from hurting us as a city by contunally voting for the left and their roque mayor.

    I believe Adam Vaughan is the Rogue Mayor, and he will make his move soon to take control of City Council.