May 1, 2018
By Arianne Robinson
In addition to the 14 Toronto incumbent candidates for city councillor who filed their nomination papers at city hall on Tuesday, there was one politician who did not, and sounded somewhat unsure if his political future will involve a run for mayor this year.
“I don’t believe it’ll be me,” said Mike Layton, the father of two young children, one of them five months old, told reporters outside the election office. “There’s a bit of a difference in priority. Part of my priority has to be them growing up.”
Layton was at city hall to stand alongside school board trustee Ausma Malik in her announcement to run for city councillor of the new Ward 20 (the former Ward 20 is split into two.)
“I plan to file sometime this summer,” the son of late NDP leader Jack Layton later clarified. “My current plan is to run for city councillor of Ward 19.”
Six people did file their nomination papers to run for mayor in the municipal election in October.
Among them are Saron Gebresellassi, who came to city hall with activist Desmond Cole. Cole had considered a run for mayor but announced on Sunday he wouldn’t enter the race.
“I’m here to support my friend Saron in every way that I can … I believe in her leadership. So I am going to throw all of my energy and time to try and make sure she becomes the next mayor of Toronto,” Cole said.
Gebresellassi is a lawyer and the president of the NDP riding association for York South-Weston.
“My mission is to inspire a generation of young people in this city to excel at whatever their endeavours are, and be an outstanding example for them,” Gebresellassi said. “I believe the city needs innovation and needs new energy and new ideas and someone who is not afraid to be bold and disrupt business as usual.”
Mayor John Tory also submitted his nomination papers. Asked by a reporter about whether he anticipates much challenge from others, the mayor was encouraging of candidates running against him.
“I’ve been around the political process in the city for years, having helped other people to get elected all the way back to David Crombie, and I think without exception in all those years, there were dozens of people who always ran for mayor and I hope that happens,” Tory said.
“People have different reasons [for running], but I welcome it as part of the process of accountability and the process of democracy and I expect there will be dozens of people running for mayor again and I’m looking forward to participating in those discussions that will surround that campaign,” Tory said, adding that he doesn’t expect to actively campaign until city council ends its meetings for the term in the summer.
There are less than six months until the 2018 municipal election on Oct. 22. Candidates for mayor, councillor and school board trustee have until July 27 to file their nomination papers.
Barbara Hall, former mayor of Toronto pre-amalgamation, was also at city hall on Monday supporting Malik. Asked by a reporter if she considered running for mayor, she said, “When I got out of bed this morning to come here, my husband said ‘Don’t — don’t you dare,’ ” she said with a laugh.
Hall also spoke of her support for Malik.
“Ausma brings incredible intelligence, passion and understanding of the issues. She’s a woman, she’s racialized and it’s her time, and it’s important that all of us who have a vision understand it’s not just what gets done out on the streets in our community — it’s who’s engaged in making the decisions. And we need change, and Ausma reflects that and that’s why I’m here supporting her today.”
Councillor Joe Cressy was also clear in his support.
“This is a ward that is going to define the type of neighbourhood we want to build in the future. This is a ward where people live in condos, so parks become your backyard. It’s a ward where if you’re living in [a tall] building, the community centre becomes your playground and that’s why it’s so critical that we have somebody like Ausma who has the experience in the school board … who gets the need to build that type of community.”
Malik also spoke to reporters.
“I’m excited about this new ward. It’s a testament to how our [city’s population] is growing. Especially a neighbourhood with such high density. We need amazing local representation and I’m excited to bring that.
“I’m also excited to bring more progressive representation to council …
“Most of all, we need more voices at city hall. We need, for me, more women. More people who represent a new generation of Torontonians. We need more people from the black community, from racialized communities. People who actually reflect the diversity and experiences that we face, and understand our city, but also [people] that can also see the opportunity and are so excited about building the future in Toronto, and I’m excited to do that.”