Oct. 23, 2017
By Arianne Robinson
Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon spoke to media inside the city’s elections office on Monday morning, announcing she will not be running for city councillor again and advocating for councillors to have term limits on council.
“I brought [term limits] forward twice. Once in the first term and it was killed, and once in the second term and I received 11 votes,” McMahon told media.
McMahon did bring the issue to council this term, but it was though an amendment to another item and wasn’t considered at Executive Committee. According to the online record of motions brought to committee and council, McMahon brought the issue to council through debating it at Executive Committee and as a member’s motion in her first term under then-mayor Rob Ford, and not under Mayor John Tory.
In 2013, McMahon wrote a letter supporting the item before then-mayor Ford’s Executive Committee that “intended to explore if term limits are the key to making Toronto City Council more reflective of the demographics, ideas and talents of Toronto.” Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong moved to defer that item indefinitely. Despite the lack of support from the mayor, McMahon brought the issue as a member’s motion to city council that month but it did not pass.
Fast forward to 2016 in Mayor Tory’s administration, and the item at Executive Committee is no longer about term limits for how long councillors should be able to sit on council, but the length of time councillors are permitted to serve on agencies and other external organizations. A letter from Councillor Paul Ainsley accompanied this item.
The item was referred to the city manager with the request for a report on the length of time council members are permitted to serve on agencies, boards, commissions, and corporations in other jurisdictions. However, the requested report has not come back to committee or council.
Councillor McMahon did try to bring the issue straight to council in 2015 through another item, but it did not pass. The record states the councillor took offence with remarks made by Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti suggesting she was “rubber stamping.”
A statement from her office encouraged long-term councillors to give up their seats. “Leave the party while you are still having fun! Give someone else a chance.” It went on to to read that McMahon “has a passion for her city and parks, and will continue to city-build post-politics.”