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The Globe and Mail

Giambrone's paid the price - now let's let him fix the TTC

As everyone with eyes and ears knows by now, Adam Giambrone has dropped out of the race for mayor after admitting a series of affairs. Many want him to go further and quit as TTC chair, even give up his seat on city council.

But why? Mr. Giambrone has done the right thing and acknowledged that he cannot go on with his campaign for mayor. He has issued a heartfelt apology to his live-in girlfriend, his friends, his family, his supporters and his fellow councillors, conceding that "a career of integrity cannot survive deceit in your private life." He has paid a crushing price for his mistakes. There is no need to run him out of town on a rail.

Mr. Giambrone has done nothing criminal. He does not stand accused of pilfering public funds. This was a personal indiscretion, grave enough to disqualify him from running for mayor this time around but not sufficient to cut short his promising career in public life - a venial sin, if you like, but not a mortal one.

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His critics say he has shown such a lack of integrity that he can't be trusted in public office. What, exactly, are they saying? That a guy who cheats on his girlfriend is likely to cheat the public of its money? He may have been caught in some unsavoury private behaviour, but there is no sign that it ever extended to corrupt practices in his work life.

Mr. Giambrone deserves another chance. Let him continue at the TTC, which happens to be facing the worst crisis in its recent history. He knows the file back to front and cares about the issues. After the rider revolt of the past few weeks, he promised to bring in a series of changes to step up customer service. Why not give him some time to make good on his pledge?

George Smitherman, the mayoral candidate, says that the TTC needs someone with 100 per cent focus and "Mr. Giambrone is not in a position to commit that degree of focus nor provide the leadership that is necessary to get the job done for riders."

To the contrary, Mr. Giambrone has a new motivation to focus on the TTC. The transit crisis hands him a golden opportunity to redeem himself. If he can deliver visible change at the TTC over the next few months - not a transformation of the transit service, which will take much longer, but a few signs that the TTC is taking riders' complaints to heart - then many people will forgive him for the unfortunate events of the past few days. If not, then voters can throw him out of council in October.

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About the Author
Toronto columnist

Marcus Gee is Toronto columnist for the Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper.Born in Toronto, he graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1979 with a degree in modern European history, then worked as a reporter for The Province, Vancouver's morning newspaper. More

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