Dear friends and neighbours,
Democracy in Toronto is under attack. Premier Ford and his cabinet have taken unprecedented steps to deny the people of Toronto basic rights guaranteed to us under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — all in order to interfere with our election. Worse yet, Premier Ford has threatened to override the rights of all Ontarians whenever it suits him. This cannot stand.
Yesterday, I was proud to add my voice to a statement of unity with fellow downtown progressive candidates. We stand together fighting for our city.
As we continue to fight this vindictive and unfair action by the province, we need to prepare for all circumstances and the possible change to the ward boundaries, or dates, for this election. We need to make sure we elect a progressive councillors who will challenge both the province and council to build the City of Toronto we can all be proud of.
I have been honoured to serve each and every neighbourhood of Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina. Year after year, working closely with neighbours and businesses, I have done my best to give every community the attention, respect, and enthusiasm they deserve from their city councillor. I have loved every moment.
Working together, we are building better neighbourhoods and a better city. We are building two new pedestrian bridges, new parks, new bike lanes, and a new local road in Liberty Village. We fought to save a local homeless shelter and children’s swimming pools from Mayor Ford’s cuts. We stopped a Walmart next to Kensington Market and a mega casino at Ontario Place. We completed five neighbourhood planning studies, and four more are underway. We founded a new BIA on Ossington, are building two new childcare centres, and saved another from being sold by the province. We built the Bentway! The list goes on. It has been a great honour to be part of these initiatives.
Sadly, Premier Ford is intent on tearing our ward in half and forcing candidates to choose to run in one of two new mega-wards. He has even gone so far as to personally mention me in his motivation for cutting City Council.
After discussions with members of the community and much personal reflection, I have decided that IF Ford is successful, and we are forced to run in a 25 seat race, I will be running to represent the ward of University-Rosedale.
I grew up in the Annex and have lived in the Little Italy, Chinatown, and Christie Pits neighbourhoods my entire adult life. The issues facing this community hit close to home, and are issues I have worked closely on for many years.
Representing Fort York, King West, Liberty Village, Niagara, Ossington, and West Queen West these past eight years has been a true honour, and I will fight my hardest to continue representing all of the great communities of Ward 19.
In the event that we end up with 25 wards, I have great faith that Joe Cressy will be a strong champion for the southern part of Ward 19 as he runs for city council in Spadina-Fort York. In this past term, Joe has proven to be a strong champion for our growing downtown neighbourhoods and has taken courageous stands on both city-wide and local issues. He is energetic, passionate, and understands what it takes to build community. I have full confidence that Joe will be a great city councillor for these neighbourhoods.
In so many ways, Doug Ford's dangerous attack on our City was directed at downtown communities like ours. As a result, many dedicated and strong candidates — people like Ausma Malik and Jacqueline McKenzie, who I am proud to call friends — are deciding not to run if we are in the new 25 ward scenario. These are outstanding community champions who would be running for council and the TDSB under the 47 ward system. I will continue to fight and work alongside them—our city needs their leadership too.
We will continue to be strongly united. We will continue to stand up for our city, and for everyone who lives here. We will continue to fight and to work harder than ever before to build the city we can all be proud of.
Yours in community,