Toronto Council Renewal Project

Tireless work ethic makes Samuel right choice for ward 23

In a ward that comprises of 91% visible minorities, the candidate list of Scarborough North reflects the changing demographics of Toronto’s north-eastern suburb. With no incumbent in the race, ward 23 provides a unique opportunity to elect a fresh face to an over-incumbent and white dominated City Council.  Among the leading candidates, TCRP finds Felicia Samuel as the ideal leader to bring about a progressive agenda to this Scarborough ward. 

A teacher and union activist, Samuel first entered the political arena in an unsuccessful bid for the NDP nomination in Scarborough-Rouge Park in the 2018 provincial election. A proud Scarborough resident with a history of volunteer work, Samuel has won several leadership awards for teaching and community building.


Because of her tremendous potential, the Toronto Council Renewal Project (TCRP) is providing Felicia with on-the-ground campaigning and social media support.

One of the biggest challenges for Samuel will be to present a sensible transit program. Unlike most of her rival candidates, Samuel supports the LRT and improved bus network as opposed to the Scarborough subway extension. This plan will help connect her community to the wider Toronto area and allow Scarborough North to enjoy the benefits of a rapidly growing downtown core. 

TCRP believes in proper representation for minority groups. In a 25-ward system, historically disenfranchised groups will need to work even harder to have their voices heard. Felicia Samuel has the passionate and tireless work ethic to introduce a gradual change in demographics at City Hall. Her appointment can become the catalyst that brings diverse neighbourhoods together, dispelling the notion of self-imposed segregation in Toronto’s suburbs. 

TCRP has high hopes for Felicia Samuel. We wish her luck come October 22nd.



Felicia Samuel:
In the 2018 provincial election, New Democrat Samuel lost in the riding of Scarborough-Rouge Park to PC Vijay Thanigasalam by a mere 963 votes. Samuel is a teacher and union activist. She is an Executive Officer with the Elementary Teachers of Toronto and Trustee for the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

She’s a lifelong Scarborough resident and volunteers with Respect Scarborough One Love Malvern and the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. Samuel has received the June Veecock Leadership Award and Elementary Teachers of Toronto Steward Award for her advocacy work. She has a passion for languages and has studied Italian, French and Spanish abroad. 

Samuel says “support and vote for people who actually show a commitment to taking care of working class, poor and vulnerable people. WE are the majority and deserve proper thoughtful compassionate and respectful representation.”

Ashwani Bhardwaj:
Bhardwaj holds a Master's degree in English Literature and a law degree from India. In 1987 he started a professional real estate support services firm which focuses on providing services to the real estate law firms in the field of title searching and closings in residential and commercial real estate.  

He has been serving on the Board of the Real Estate Council of Ontario since 2013 and President of the Rotary Club of Scarborough Bluffs from 2016-2018. He served on the Community Advisory Group for the Rouge Valley Health System from 2013-2016 and was awarded a Canada 150 special pin for his community services.


Bhardwaj is strongly opposed to Doug Ford’s ward restructuring which he says leaves councillors with 100,000 constituents each. He said it was a misuse of power, a gross injustice, and that Ford had no mandate to interfere. He also was critical of Andrea Howarth and the NDP.

Maggie Chi:
Chi and her family immigrated to Canada and settled in Scarborough in the early 2000's. She has a degree in Biology with a minor in Psychology and studied Sociology at McMaster University.

Maggie worked for 5 years in the constituency office of Councillor Chin Lee. She worked with residents on day-to-day neighbourhood issues and helped them navigate the municipal government. Chi worked with community groups on the annual Tamil Festival Arts in the Park and the annual Lunar New Year celebration at Scarborough Civic Centre.

James Chow:
Chow holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce and criminology from the University of Toronto. He has worked in the areas of real estate, finance, industrial engineering and management for over 30 years. He has participated in parent-teacher councils. Chow currently serves as a board member of the East Toronto Community Legal Services. He came to Canada from Guyana when he was a teenager. James has lived in Toronto for 46 years. “With my involvement in the community my knowledge in infrastructure, finance management and my understanding of the residents in our ward I believe I can help make positive changes to the future of our city."

  • put forward a motion that salary increases for elected representatives would be reviewed and recommended by an impartial third party  

  • ensure that public contracts are awarded in a manner that is transparent, fair and properly managed

  • include better road conditions and improved traffic logistics strategies as priorities 

  • have the city’s infrastructures evaluated and improved to support our present and future needs

  • work towards achieving an efficient and effective public transit system including a quick two-way access subway line between downtown and Scarborough.

Local Issues:

  • propose a loop to connect line 4 and the future Scarborough Centre subway station. The Scarborough subway line needs to be extended from Scarborough Town Centre to Sheppard Ave. and McCowan, as previously approved in 2013

  • put forward a by-law to restrict the use of drugs, including marijuana, in public areas 

  • engage and empower neighbourhood participation by improving public facilities and providing good services in areas such as health, libraries, safety and recreation.

Dameon Halstead:
Halstead sought the Conservative nomination for Scarborough-Rouge River but was unsuccessful.

Anthony Internicola:
In 2014 Internicola ran for council in the old ward 40 finishing 3rd with 7% of the vote. 

Issues: Internicola has 4 specific issues he would like to see addressed: 

  • investment in public infrastructure starting with a Scarborough subway line, recreational parks and public roads 

  • to engage and foster a community that has their needs met by developing and expanding its services while promoting citizenship and inclusion in community life  

  • to increase women empowerment and redefine gender roles so that women and men can coexist on an equal playing field 

  • to influence public policy surrounding mental health by forging strong relationships with policymakers and enable those who are most affected to directly participate in decision-making  



Cynthia Lai:
Lai has been a Toronto citizen for over 40 years and a long-time resident of the ward. She served as President of the Toronto Real Estate Board as its first and only Canadian-Chinese female president in the board’s 94-year history. Currently she is the Broker/Chairman of Global Link Realty Group brokerage. A Fellow and Faculty Member of the Real Estate Institute of Canada, she was a recent recipient of the Institute’s “Emeritus” and “Community Service” award.


Lai has been a member of the City’s Committee of Adjustment Scarborough Panel since 2011. She has been involved in REALTORS Care Foundation of Ontario; Habitat for Humanity Toronto; Centre for Immigrant and Community Services Scarborough; Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario; United Way of Greater Toronto; Spirit of Life; Mon Sheong Home for the Aged and Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation.

Issues: Lai says Toronto’s top issues are affordable taxes, who we can trust with our tax dollars, and transit. She supports the extension of the Sheppard Subway. She would address the city’s transit strategy by faster commutes, consistent travel times, no traffic jams, and move more people. Cynthia states that we need to work with the federal and provincial governments for funding, partner with the business community and developers and explore dedicated revenues.

Mahboob Mian:
On Twitter, Mian says he is an environmental scientist and a social worker. “Being an Environmental Specialist with 30 years international experience living in Canada offer my free services to Imran Khan Govt for Pakistan Environmental Management program especially air quality and waste management. I think this is right time to pay back.”  

Mian's priorities are to protect law and order in Scarborough, promote a clean environment and support the creation of jobs.  

Sandeep Srivastava:
Srivastava was an unsuccessful candidate for the PC nomination in the 2016 by-election in Scarborough-Rouge River. At that time, he said his number one issue was taxes. “I want to keep municipal taxes low and find efficiencies in the delivery of services. Like all Torontonians our area residents are over burden (sic) by taxes from all levels of government.” He would advocate for more buses and better, quicker service.

He teaches IT/Telecommunication Engineering and Accounting and Business Administration courses in private career colleges. He says he prepares youth and adults for better careers and provides free consulting/direction to start their own businesses.  


Neethan Saba:
He is a Logistics Manager for Amazon with a background in the financial services sector. He ran for school trustee in Markham in 2010, and unsuccessfully for Toronto city councillor in 2014.


There was no information for:
Sheraz Khan


Candidate Felicia Samuel: Someone to watch

Boundaries: Steeles Ave. E. to the north, Rouge River to the east; Hwy. 401 to the south and Midland Ave. to the west. 

Demographics: There are 98,000 people with an average age of 41. The average household size is 3.3 people with a median household income of $66,513. The percentage of visible minorities in the ward is 91 per cent. [ Info Toronto Star | Sept 24]

Ward 23 - Scarborough North

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