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Kyle Rae, MIA

City councillor takes six-week vacation

City councillor Kyle Rae has taken a six-week vacation to Spain, a holiday that has left many council colleagues and ward residents scratching their heads.

Rae — who represents Ward 27, home to Toronto’s gay village — left town mid-July.

While vacationing the city councillor missed out on some major council votes, including one to end the city workers strike. Lesley Ruscica, the city council’s manager of policy compliance and operations, told the National Post that Toronto has no policy that regulates when councillor’s can take vacation or for how long.

In addition to Rae, Giorgio Mammoliti (York West), Gloria Lindsay Luby (Etobicoke Centre) and John Filion (Willowdale) also took holidays this summer, and missed a Jul 31 ratification vote after the strike. All three, however, were back at their desks by Aug 5.

Some of Rae’s colleagues agree a six weeks respite is too long for a city councillor. “If I were to take six weeks off, I might as well take the election off,” Trinity-Spadina councillor Adam Vaughn told the Post.

Don Valley East councillor Shelly Carroll, elected in 2003, says she can’t vacation for more than one week at a time. “I don’t know how others do it,” Carroll told the Post.

Rae’s getaway has generated a buzz of criticism from Ward 27 residents in the cyber world. As one user responded to an online article, “There’s really no chance [Rae] would ever lose unless a strong gay candidate came forth. Ah, the democratic joys of block voting.”

Rae’s office confirmed on Aug 24 that the councillor is expected to return to work Tue, Sep 1 and that media inquires would be deferred until then.