Thanks to The Grid in Toronto, amongst many other media outlets across Canada, for declaring Robb Johannes the winner of last Wednesday’s Toronto Mayoral Forum in the article “Bring the ‘Paign: Robb vs. Rob.”
Johannes was articulate, not only in comparison to Ford, but also next to his fellow long-shot candidates on the forum. So-called fringe candidates have the freedom to deviate from talking points—look for Johannes to make the most of it (READ MORE).
And many regards to all of your support and enthusiasm thus far. Many have graciously expressed interest in volunteering. We are initiating a volunteer intake process that will be up and running very shortly, thanks to the Robb Not Ford campaign’s newest addition, social media and volunteer coordinator Katherine Cummings.
Visiting Scarborough last week for the Mayoral Q&A was a reminder not only of the time I lived by Cedarbrae, but that for Scarborough residents, transit is the number one issue this election. What is normally a 75-minute commute was extended to three hours in light of the SRT shutting down the night of the forum due to adverse weather conditions. I wondered what this commute would look like with a fully-funded seven-stop LRT (totalling $910 million) that was cancelled in 2010 (the cancellation of which cost the City another $100 million) versus a planned 3-stop subway line from Kennedy to Sheppard that will cost $1 billion over 30 years. Seemingly 61% of Torontonians (56% of voters in Scarborough) would prefer an LRT. As I alluded to regarding this question at the forum; it is not my place to impose what I think is right for Scarborough but rather to listen to what citizens have to say, and not impose what Christopher Hume refers to as a “Take-it-or-leave it style of leadership.”
It was also reinforced Toronto is indeed one of the most diverse cities on the planet culturally, socially, economically, and politically. Partisan politics, particularly those of an exclusionary nature (lest we reference Rob Ford’s opposition to Toronto’s LGBT community), are not what a city as inclusive as Toronto deserves in its representatives. You will see from my experience that I have acted not only as a bridge and facilitator between diverse communities but (and perhaps because) I am a product of diversity. Strengthening the ties between Scarborough and downtown with more efficient and connected transit is something I am wholly committed to.
I come here with no agenda other than to listen, understand, ask questions, empathize, and hear all sides of any given issue before responding. That is, after all, what is distinct about the role that the Mayor has as one vote of 45 on Toronto City Council.
Your voices all matter, and as much as I have thoroughly enjoyed our dialogues thus far, I eagerly await the many more to come.