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Toronto council ponders how to replace Doug Holyday

Toronto City Councillor Norm Kelly, who was chosen by Mayor Rob Ford to be his new Deputy Mayor talks to the media at Toronto City Hall, August 02 2013.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Yet another by-election could be on the horizon in Toronto.

Toronto city council must decide whether to appoint a new councillor or hold a by-election to replace Doug Holyday after he was elected to the provincial legislature Thursday.

The deputy mayor will now represent Etobicoke-Lakeshore as a member of the Progressive Conservative party at Queen's Park, leaving an empty chair in council chambers and on the mayor's executive committee. Council can decide to either hold a by-election to find a representative for Etobicoke Centre or appoint a citizen from applicants, but neither process can begin until the position is declared vacant at the next council meeting, scheduled for Oct. 8.

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A by-election could take months – meaning the vote would wouldn't happen until late 2013 or early 2014 – leaving the new councillor less than a year in office until the municipal election in October, 2014. A by-election would also cost the city as much as $225,000, but Mayor Rob Ford has already stated his preference for a by-election over appointing a new councillor.

In the meantime, Mr. Holyday already has a successor as deputy mayor: Mr. Ford has asked a long-time politician, Councillor Norm Kelly, to take on the role, though it will not become official until either Mr. Holyday resigns or his election is formally announced by the Ontario Legislature.

On Friday, Mr. Kelly – who sits on the mayor's executive committee – said he was looking forward to the new position.

"I can't think of any better place to be in politics today than in Canada's largest city," said Mr. Kelly, who had previously served as a Liberal member of Parliament under prime minister Pierre Trudeau. He also said he would favour a by-election to fill Mr. Holyday's ward.

"I know a lot of people say it's expensive. … Democracy is up to the people; it's the rule of the demos. So let the people of Etobicoke choose the people that they want."

Drawing a close second in the provincial by-election, Liberal candidate Peter Milczyn will now return to council and his seat on the mayor's executive committee. Despite a campaign that often saw mud-slinging between Mr. Ford and the Liberals, the mayor released a statement Friday congratulating Mr. Holyday and welcoming Mr. Milczyn back .

"I am also extremely happy to have Councillor Peter Milczyn returning to Toronto City Hall to continue his excellent work as an important member of my team," the mayor said.

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