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John Tory resigning as Toronto mayor after affair 'the right thing to do': Freeland

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Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says Toronto Mayor John Tory's decision to resign after admitting to a recently-ended affair with a staff member was the right and necessary thing to do.

In a late-night press conference last Friday, Tory announced he would step down as mayor of Toronto after the Toronto Star broke the news of the 68-year-old’s relationship with a 31-year-old woman.

"Like very many Torontonians, I was very surprised, even shocked by what we learned on Friday night," Freeland said on Wednesday. She said that Tory was right to admit to making "a serious mistake and… a serious error in judgment."

"He took responsibility for that mistake. He apologized for that mistake. And, he took responsibility by resigning," said Freeland, who represents the riding of University-Rosedale, Ont. "That was the right thing to do, and that was the necessary thing to do."

On Friday, Tory apologized for his actions and said he would leave the role he was just recently re-elected into; however he has yet to submit a letter of resignation, indicating plans to stay on to see his 2023 municipal budget passed. The fiscal plan was being debated by council on Wednesday.

Freeland also strongly denied a City News report citing an unnamed source who claimed that she was among the political figures who had reached out to Tory to encourage him not to resign.

"Let me be absolutely clear and categorical: The story that was published yesterday is wholly untrue and not accurate," Freeland told reporters on her way into a Liberal caucus meeting on Parliament Hill Wednesday morning. "When I have something to say about my position, I have no problem saying it clearly myself."

Asked to weigh in on the matter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Tory a "strong partner" to the federal government.

"I want to recognize John's years of service to the city of Toronto," he said. "I know Toronto is facing real challenges, and I certainly hope that the current and future leadership is able to step up."

Amid considerable speculation around who may or may not be considering throwing their hat into the ring to run Canada's largest city, a few Toronto-area cabinet ministers and MPs have chimed in to say they are not interested in the job, including Beaches-East York, Ont. MP Nathaniel Erksine-Smith, and Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen.

"I'm not organizing anything. I'm happy with my job," Hussen, who represents York South-Weston, Ont., told reporters on Tuesday evening.

With files from CTV News Toronto 

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