July 25, 2018
By Arianne Robinson
Former ticket cop Kyle Ashley registered to run for city councillor of Ward 27 on Wednesday.
Reached by phone, Ashley described how he felt after submitting his nomination papers.
“[It was] nerve-wracking, but I’m proud that I’m doing it, and I’m proud of the support that I’ve got from the community,” said Ashley, a resident of Etobicoke’s Ward 6.
“It felt right because the democratic process only succeeds if people put their name forward for different options.”
Ashley, a former parking enforcement officer with Toronto police, was known as an advocate for cyclists and bike lanes. He used social media to discuss and document infractions and areas he thought should be improved, and even made a public deputation at city hall about the Bloor Street bike lanes.
“After that, I think that supervisors in the city thought that I was becoming a bit too political, and that’s sort of where we are now.”
Ashley describes his path to politics as a kind of serendipitous happening. “I never chose politics – politics chose me.
“These issues [related to road safety] – I never went out seeking notoriety or attention. I really was just trying to do my job on the road as an officer with the Toronto police, trying to make everyone safe.
“The more and more I was doing the job, I felt I could no longer be propping up a system that was failing the citizens of this city. And seeing the cries from the public – and the fact I had voice and agency to act on their concerns – it’s directed my passion and my purpose.”
Ashley says he’s not “bogged down by relationships or party affiliations,” framing it as an asset.
“I actually do not have political experience, but I don’t believe that’s actually hindering … I’ve spent the past five years of my life working for the Toronto police [as] a public servant. This seems like the logical next step for me to continue that servant leadership.”
Ashley said he’s familiar with the ward, having patrolled it by foot, bike and car.
Local issues that are important to Ashley include: safe streets and neighbourhoods (infrastructure and crime), traffic and transit (Ashley notes “people drive out in Ward 27, people commute out in Ward 27”), better social services and equitable opportunities for all, as well as housing affordability.
“My partner and I have tried to buy a house in the ward and we’ve not been successful because we’ve been priced out of the market.”
The new Ward 27 is home to some of Toronto’s most well-heeled – and is known for its elegant and enormous houses found in the Lawrence Park and Bridle Path neighbourhoods. It is boundaried by Yonge Street, Highway 401, Leslie Street, Sunnybrook Park, Bayview Avenue, and Eglinton Avenue East.
Councillor Jaye Robinson is currently the councillor for the old Ward 25.