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Toronto councillor Ana Bailao at City Hall on Dec. 1, 2011.Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

A former three-term councillor who plans to run for Toronto mayor says she wouldn’t use the new power that allows the position to pass select bylaws with minority council support, if elected.

“I don’t believe in it,” said Ana Bailao, who announced her intention to be a candidate in June’s by-election Friday morning. “I’m going to be elected on a full agenda that I expect to work with my colleagues to implement. That full agenda, some may be their priorities, some may not be.”

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, she said she disagreed with John Tory, her longtime political ally, in his request of Premier Doug Ford for the “strong-mayor” power to pass bylaws with only one-third council support. These bylaws would have to be tied to a “provincial priority,” such as housing and related infrastructure, including transit projects.

But Ms. Bailão said she does support the “strong-mayor” powers that give the position a new responsibility to introduce an annual budget with the authority to veto amendments passed by council.

The sudden by-election was sparked by the resignation of Mr. Tory last month after he admitted to an affair with a staff member. Nominations for mayor aren’t scheduled to open until early April after council declares the seat vacant and officially launches the race.

During her time on council, where she represented Davenport ward form 2010 to 2022, Ms. Bailão served as deputy mayor for a stretch under Mr. Tory as well as chair of the city’s planning and housing committee.

Although a staunch supporter for most of Mr. Tory’s agenda throughout his time in office, Ms. Bailao said many city services that took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic aren’t working for residents, and that her goal is to “fix” them.

She specifically pointed to the transit system and the need to boost ridership back to pre-pandemic levels. Ms. Bailao said she would ask council to reconsider service level reductions on certain routes approved in the most recent budget in an effort to increase ridership.

About 8 per cent of the schedule changes to take effect on March 26 will result in a longer wait time between three and 11 minutes, accounting for 159,000 customer boardings per week.

In order to pay for increased transit and other services such as Wi-Fi access on the subway system, Ms. Bailao said she would call on the province to take over the maintenance costs of the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway.

The two freeways cost the city about $16-million annually and a continuing Gardiner rehabilitation project is expected to cost upwards of $1.8-billion.

Asked how she would get the province on board to pay for the highways when Mr. Tory wasn’t able to, Ms. Bailao said she would have a mandate from Torontonians behind her, and would be persistent that the city needs a long-term financial commitment and not “cheques” at the end of the year to make up for projected shortfalls.