Weekend Newsbrief: July 6, 2018
What happened at Toronto City Hall this week
Fewer candidates registered to run in 2018 municipal election, compared to last.This fall, Toronto residents will elect a new city council including three new councillors representing three new wards, and the number of candidates registered to run indicate that voters will have way fewer choices at the polls in October. This week marks the three-quarter point in the period of time candidates can register their nomination for both elections (despite the 2014 period being almost three times as long). As of Friday, candidates registered to run for city councillor represent 61 per cent of those who had registered by this point in the last election. In 2014, there were 241 candidates registered to run by the three-quarter mark, and as of this week, there are 148. The discrepancy in the number of candidates registered to run for mayor is even greater, with registrants making up 21 per cent of the number of registered candidates at the same point in the last election. In 2014, there were 71 candidates for mayor at the three-quarter mark, and as of this week, there are 15. Among the list of registered candidates, no one has signed up to run for the seat of Ward 19, currently held by Councillor Mike Layton. Back in May, amid rumours that Layton could be considering a run for mayor, the councillor told Signal Toronto he planned to run for councillor again.
Vision of a Tkaronto sign at City Hall in progress. At Tuesday’s Government Management Committee meeting, Toronto Council Fire revealed plans for a three-day event in October to recognize survivors of residential schools. According to a promotional video shown at city hall, the vision for the event includes changing the Toronto sign from “Toronto” to “Tkaronto,” projecting a turtle on the dome of the rotunda and keeping the medicine wheel (currently installed beside the Toronto sign). “As a non-Indigenous person living in this great city, I ask to all of you, where are the Indigenous areas of this city of Toronto? While the city bears the name of Tkaronto, which comes from the Mohawk language, this city has largely displaced Indigenous identity,” Theo Nazary, strategy planner at Toronto Council Fire, told the committee on Tuesday. The event is part of a plan from the city and Toronto Council Fire to develop the south-west corner of Nathan Phillips Square as a legacy space to honour residential school survivors, and reflects one of the calls to action in the council-endorsed Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The design plans for the square include a sculpture by artist Solomon King that will be 12 feet long and six feet wide, surrounded by a landscaped garden that is being called the Teaching, Learning, Sharing, and Healing space. In a submission to the committee, Toronto Council Fire describes the sculpture by King as the “Restoration of Identity structure… recreat[ing] the Turtle climbing over a boulder containing the name of 13 residential schools in Ontario representing the resiliency, recovery and overcoming by residential school survivors.” (Read the story)
HALL MONITOR: SEEN AND HEARD IN THE MAYOR’S OFFICE
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mayor John Tory made comments to media in the mayor’s office before their meeting.
Mayor John Tory: I’m particularly happy that we’re going to get a chance to talk about files that we’ve had a very strong ongoing partnership on like transit and housing … there is the issue of the violence that has taken place particularly recently in the city of Toronto … I will say that his government, principly through the [Minister of Public Safety] Ralph Goodale has been very available to me and responsive to me over the last number of months as we’ve seen this issue arising… and then I’m going to tell him about a great phone call we had this morning with the Large Urban Mayors [Caucus] of Ontario … one mayor after another said they will step up and they’re going to examine how the can step up … they recognize the fact that the Canadian way of doing this is to have a partnership between – unusually sometimes between Toronto and anybody else, but they’re going to have a partnership with us to help … I was very gratified by that and we’ll talk a bit about that, too.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: I want to thank [Mayor] John [Tory] for sitting down with me. It’s a pleasure to be back at city hall, a great opportunity for us to talk, like the mayor said, on a broad range of issues from transit to how we can move forward on community safety and gun violence. But also, obviously, talking about the asylum seekers challenge, I want to thank John for his continued leadership on this. It hasn’t always been easy. The federal government is there to be supportive, but the kind of leadership you’re showing also in reaching out across the province is significant because Canadians – you know, we’re there for each other and we’re there for people in challenging situations and we know that we have to continue to demonstrate that our immigration system is strong and applies while staying true to our values. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Tory: I will be looking for, obviously, assistance, as I have been, from the federal government ––
Trudeau: –– And we’ll be there for that ––
Tory: –– And I, as a deference to that, I did not wear my Toronto Maple Leafs socks today, and the prime minister, unlike the last time he visited here and sat in that very chair, is not wearing his Montreal Canadiens socks today, so I think the meeting is off to a very good start.
Trudeau: I think we’re all baseball fans right now, anyway.
Tory: [Laughs] Well, whatever.
Watch the exchange here.