“Fired without just cause”

Reactions from around City Hall to the sacking of TTC chief Gary Webster


Rob Ford and his allies made a martyr out of TTC general manager Gary Webster on Tuesday, when they lowered the boom and fired him after he failed to back the mayor’s campaign promise to build underground transit. Here are the most quotable reactions to Webster getting the boot.


“They did the nasty… Council has reached a new low. The commission has reached a new low. City Hall has become a place where vendettas are possible, where civil servants all better beware.”

Councillor Joe Mihevc

“I voiced my concerns in the past before and they are on the record. However, and I’m going to be saying this a lot unfortunately, I am not in a position to make any comment and have been advised by counsel not to speak on those matters.”

Commissioner Denzil Minnan-Wong after voting to oust Webster, telling reporters that he’s not going to be speaking to reporters

“This is not how I expected this to end or certainly how I wanted it to end. But clearly the choice has been made to replace me as chief general manager and I accept that… I’m very proud of the TTC. It’s a great organization, and I’m proud of the opportunity to serve it for as many years as I have.”

Gary Webster, exiting gracefully, stage left

“Gary has served Toronto and the TTC well… But, it’s time for the organization to look forward. The Commissioners tell me this. Councillors tell me this. The general public – and subway, streetcar and bus passengers all tell me it’s time for change.”

Statement from Mayor Rob Ford, suggesting that members of the public urged him to fire a man who they likely hadn’t heard of a week ago

“I don’t think anyone of us found this a very easy decision to make. For me, this is not about Gary Webster the man. I’ve worked with him over the years, and enjoyed working with him… And I thank Gary Webster for all that he’s done.”

Commissioner Norm Kelly, who voted to fire Webster

“The decisions that we’re making today are certainly difficult ones. But I think the values that we share are shared by Gary Webster. And those values will survive this decision. If we work together I think we will be stronger.”

TTC chair Karen Stintz, sounding oddly chummy about the commissioners who just overruled her

“The key words in the motion are ‘termination without just cause.'”

These 11 words were all Commissioner John Parker said during the public portion of the meeting, and they earned him a round of applause.

“I also think very highly of the general manager. But excellence in a bureaucracy is defined in a special way… [it’s] the ability, in my view, to put forward positions that are consistent with a position adopted by the mayor.”

Commissioner Frank Di Giorgio, struggling to explain his rationale as members of the public heckled him

“Gary Webster has served the commission well, and my confidence in him wasn’t shaken. But obviously the majority of the commission feels differently, and we all have to respect that.”

TTC vice-chair Peter Milczyn, a Ford ally who continues to walk a very fine line on the transit debate

“Because he didn’t toe the line and say exactly what Mayor Ford and his administration wanted, he now finds himself under the axe, and that’s completely detrimental to the TTC.”

Bob Kinnear, leader of TTC worker’s union

“What message are you sending to the rest of our employees? That professionals get kicked out the door, and that toadyism wins… Today is a clear demonstration of an abuse of power, and an abuse of privilege, and I don’t want any part of it.”

Commissioner Maria Augimeri

“This was desperate attempt to undermine a decision of council and the will of the majority. It won’t be successful… There will be other opportunities to examine the composition of the TTC commission… and council will be looking at all of those options in the next few days.”

Councillor Janet Davis, dropping a heavy hint that council will soon move to reshape the TTC board

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