Toronto Council Renewal Project

TCRP Recommended Candidate: Kristyn Wong-Tam

Boundaries: Charles St. and Rosedale Valley Rd. to the north, Don River to the east, Mill St. and The Esplanade to the south and Bay St. to the west.  

Demographics: There are 103,805 people with an average age of 39. The average household size is 1.7 people with a median household income of $50,462. The percentage of visible minorities in the ward is 48%. [ Info Toronto Star | Sept 24]

Ward 13 - Toronto Centre

Lucy Troisi (Incumbent):
Former director of the Cabbagetown Youth Centre, Troisi is the current councillor for ward 28, having replaced Pam McConnell who died in July 2017. Troisi was appointed on the second ballot in a council vote that split along ideological lines between conservative councillors who favoured her and progressive councillors who favoured activist and former McConnell staffer Michael Creek. Troisi, like other candidates, vowed not to use the appointment replacing McConnell as a springboard to run in the 2018 election. Throwing her hat in the ring means she has reneged on that promise. 

Troisi was in the news this past August when she said she wanted to halt any new drug injection sites from being created in her downtown ward 28. She said the existing ones have resulted in a rash of violence, disorder and drug dealing. Her comment came one day after the provincial government announced a freeze on plans for three new injection sites, one of which was supposed to be in Toronto.

In nearby Ward 20, Councillor Joe Cressy said his office has not received a single complaint about the injection site near Kensington Market.

Council and Committees: Toronto and East York Community Council, Government Management Committee, Nominating Panel – Compliance Audit Committee. Other Boards and Committees: Civic Theatres Toronto, Hummingbird (Sony) Centre for the Performing Arts, Hummingbird (Sony) Centre for the Performing Arts Corporation, St. Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts Board of Directors, Toronto Centre for the Arts Board of Directors, Town of York Historical Society, 192 Carlton Street (Second Mile Club) Toronto, 70 Berkeley Street Community Centre (University Alumnae Dramatic Club) Board

Jon Callegher:

Callegher is a professor in the Centre for Business at George Brown College (GBC) and an applied researcher at GBC’s Office of Research and Innovation. He also runs Job Talks, a partnership initiative that shines a positive light on less popular, unknown or misunderstood careers. He is also the program coordinator of two highly popular post-graduate certificate programs: Sport and Event Marketing and Strategic Relationship Marketing. 

Callegher is concerned that the explosion of condos and businesses in the ward should not come at the expense of our health, safety and comfort. He serves as Caroline Co-op's liaison on the Metrolinx Community Advisory Committee. He says, with other groups, they are holding Metrolinx accountable and doing our best to protect our homes and families from the extreme noise, vibration and pollution.

Richard Forget:

Forget is a bilingual lawyer who is running on the issues of putting affordable housing in new condos and helping small business stay downtown.

Walied Khogali: 

Economist Khogali is an experienced organizer and activist in Regent Park and St. Jamestown. His activities have made him a recognizable name in those neighbourhoods.  He is currently President of the Toronto Environmental Alliance and has held key positions in the Canada Arab Federation and the Toronto and York District Labour Council. 

He co-founded the transit advocacy organization TTC Riders as well as the Coalition Against White Supremacy and Islamophobia. He has worked on the campaigns of the United Way and has done communications for the Labour Community Services of Toronto. 

Khoghali publicly challenged then-PC leader Doug Ford at a Somali Canadian forum in April when Ford advocated for the return of the TAVIS (Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy) police division. Khogali claims that TAVIS traumatized many community members and that it was 'racist'. According to many in the community TAVIS led to an increase in the amount of carding and the harassment of racialized youth.  

Khogali's priorities are eliminating gun violence and poverty, promoting affordable housing, youth employment and transit in St. Jamestown and Regent Park, which have a history of systemic poverty among newly-arrived immigrant families.

Aftab Khuram: 

Khuram, a successful businessmen and entrepreneur, is a prominent member of the Pakistani community who has experience in local community work. He has participated in food drives in Regent Park and often donates items to his customers. He is the owner of a convenience store operating in one of Canada’s most violent, crime-ridden intersections, Dundas and Sherbourne. Khuram has dealt directly with Toronto’s gangs and has experienced several robberies and threats to his life. Despite this, Khuram has successfully expanded his business and operates several Sam’s convenience grocery stores in the GTA. 

One of the main goals of Khuram’s campaign is youth involvement and training. He expresses the need for youth to actively engage in local business to encourage confidence, responsibility and entrepreneurialism. Khuram blames high youth unemployment in communities like Regent Park and Moss Park for gang violence and systemic poverty.

Gladys Larbie:

Former leader of Rights and Democracy (Droit et Démocratique) as well as President of Canada World Youth, York University Chapter, Larbie is an active member of the United Church of Canada as well as a volunteer for the Salvation Army.  She is running to try and make sure that shelter doors remain open for people who fall on hard times, and so that hospitals are well-funded to handle emergencies and mental illnesses. 

A member of the Conservative Party, she unsuccessfully vied for nomination as the PC candidate for Toronto Centre in this year's provincial election.  She has tweeted photos of herself at Ford's election victory party and has retweeted Conservative MP Lisa Raitt's praise for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump's press secretary.

Ryan Lester: 

Lester is director of development with the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) and was director of development at Egale Centre which, when it opens, will provide counselling services with transitional and emergency housing for LGBTQ2S youth.  Lester is in favour of fixing injection sites so that people feel safer and discarded needles don’t become a common sight, reducing rent for seniors living alone, and having lower transit fares for seniors, students and low-wage workers. In addition, he would change construction projects so that noise and development fits in with daily life, and he would improve extreme weather readiness, flood protection and clean air provisions.

George Smitherman:

Smitherman is a veteran politician and a long-time member of the Liberal Party of Ontario. He represented the provincial riding of Toronto Centre from 1999 to 2010. Ontario's first openly gay cabinet minister, Smitherman held three cabinet positions before resigning to run for Mayor of Toronto in 2010.  He was endorsed by former mayors David Crombie and Art Eggleton and by councillors Joe Mihevc, Adam Vaughan and Pam McConnell. He lost to Rob Ford by nearly 100,000 votes.

As the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Smitherman was responsible for Ontario's Green Energy Act, which encouraged investment in green energy production by providing businesses the ability to sell energy produced from renewable sources to the province's electricity grid through a Feed-in-Tariff program. Before it was cancelled the Green Energy Act attracted corporate investments in wind and solar energy worth billions of dollars. As Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Smitherman delivered community health centres for all Priority neighborhoods, helped provide over half a million Ontarians with access to a family doctor and improved wait times for key services while at the same time undertaking a massive capital expansion of Toronto's hospitals. His achievements in that portfolio were marred by the 2009 eHealth scandal that revealed hundreds of millions of wasted taxpayer dollars in the implementation of electronic health records in the province. His involvement ultimately barred him from running on the Liberal ticket in a subsequent provincial election. 

in recent years Smitherman has been chairman and principal at the consulting firm he founded, G & G Global Solutions and also a “zone advisor” to Ryerson University's Digital Media Zone. He currently serves on the boards of medical marijuana producer THC Meds Ontario Inc., drone-maker Alta Vista Ventures and mining company Ceylon Graphite. 

“I want to return to the role of being a community champion for the people of east downtown,” Smitherman told CP24. “I had the privilege of representing that area for ten years and during that time worked with communities all over the riding. I think that is what I am best at, using my experience to help lift communities up and to elevate the issues that matter. It is a tough job but it is also the most rewarding job possible."

Megann Willson: 

Willson is an active community organizer in Regent Park and was a recent participant in Women Win Toronto, an organization that prepares women to run for political office. Willson plans to tackle poverty reduction, shelter and homelessness, tenant and resident engagement, food and community gardens, active transportation, and efficient, affordable transit.

Entrepreneur Willson co-owns and runs the consulting firm PANOPTIKA.  She is Director at large with the Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and was recently made interim leadership co-chair of the Regent Park Neighbourhood Association.

Rob Wolvin

Wolvin works in locations support in Toronto's film and television industry and is a community activist, primarily on behalf of the LGBT community.  He was the Progressive Conservative candidate for Etobicoke Centre in the 2015 federal election.

“I want Council to direct development that also builds community," says Wolvin. "Greenery, bike lanes, wide sidewalks, central community squares, a fully funded local school, seniors integrated with other generations, a mix of income groups, mixed use zoning so one can work, live, shop and engage in recreation, steps from home, child care, health care, 1st generation and multi-generation Canadians, max. Accessibility for disabled, preservation and promotion of local heritage, monuments, community centres, libraries, more small and medium sized, locally owned, shops and cafes.”






Two-term Councillor Wong-Tam has been an eloquent voice for social justice on council and a highly successful advocate for businesses in her ward.  When small businesses on Yonge Street were facing unprecedented 400% tax increases she led the Small Business Tax Reassessment process to preserve Yonge Street and other character business districts across Toronto. She initiated the Yonge Street Environmental Assessment that will eventually build a vibrant and more walkable 21st century Yonge Street.

From the time she left home in her teens, entrepreneur Wong-Tam has been active in the LGBTQ2S community and in the Church-Wellesley village.

As councillor she has lobbied for city-wide initiatives such as TOCore and TransformTO. In a time of urgency she organized for immediate action to increase capacity in Toronto’s shelter system and bridge service gaps in the

Downtown East. She fought for the acceleration of Vision Zero implementation, evidence-based transit planning, ravine restoration, Toronto Community Housing capital repairs, the Indigenous District and Business Incubator, active transportation, and OpenStreetsTO. 

She has been a leader in City Council efforts to advocate for the dismantling of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). As a champion of Toronto’s rich cultural heritage, she has served on the Toronto Preservation Board for the past two terms. With the support of ward 27 residents, Wong-Tam successfully initiated two Heritage Conservation District studies in a year, an extremely rare achievement.

Priorities for Wong-Tam are the cancellation of the Scarborough subway extension, building the downtown relief line, the Waterfront LRT and improving cycling infrastructure.  She will advocate for making affordable housing a priority, modernizing tax policies and building social infrastructure.  On the environmental front she plans to increase protection of the ravines and watersheds in the city.  As a supporter of the arts she will urge the city to invest in more public art.  She will continue to champion Toronto’s first Indigenous Business District and Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Boards and Committees: Toronto and East York Community Council, Chair, Community Development and Recreation Committee, Moss Park and Ted Reeve Arena Nominating Panel, Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee, Chair, Toronto Preservation Board, 12 Alexander Street Theatre Project Board of Directors, 519 Church Street Community Centre Board of Management, Good Neighbour’s Club Board; Moss Park Arena Board, Ryerson Centre Board of Directors, Salvation Army Toronto Grace Health Centre Board of Trustees, Yonge-Dundas Square Board of Management, Committee of Revision.

Wong-Tam has a very good attendance record, missing just 8.4% of recorded council votes.




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