Toronto Council Renewal Project

TCRP Recommended Candidate: Amber Morley

This is Amber’s first attempt at getting elected to council. Since 2013, she has worked at Toronto City Hall in various Council support capacities She spent the last 3 years as the Constituency Assistant in ward 4, Etobicoke-Centre. Prior to working at City Hall, Amber spent ten years working at the Lakeshore Area Multiservice Project (LAMP) Community Health Centre, where she held various roles including Director of the South Etobicoke Youth Assembly, Youth Volunteer Support Worker, and Community Relations Assistant.

Amber has also served on several community boards and advisory committees with organizations such as the Remix Project and the Laidlaw Foundation. Over the past 15 years, she has received many awards for her dedication to improving the lives of Etobicoke-Lakeshore residents, including: The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Rotary Youth Impact Award - Under 25, and the Identify N' Impact Dedication to Youth Advocacy Award. Amber holds an Advanced Diploma in Public Relations from Humber College. In October 2017, she was joined Women Win Toronto. Under the mentorship of many prominent women politicians, in particular Kristen Wong-Tam, Amber made her pledge to run for municipal office. She’s been planning this for a year.

Amber is endorsed by the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. Morley, born and raised in South Etobicoke, is a young woman of colour. Her mother is an activist in her own right in the artistic and gardening circles.

Policies:

  • Collaborative and Responsive Leadership: She will have regular consultation with residents with community forums and town hall meetings. 
  • Accessible and Fair Road Use: Ensure relevant Vision Zero Road Safety Plan recommendations are implemented; prioritize moving forward with Waterfront LRT and Mimico Go Station renovations.
  • Ensure commuter cycling infrastructure.
  • Community Spaces and Development: Use vacant city land for community space, and collaborate with youth and seniors to develop specific spaces for their needs and interests.
  • Local Employment and Economy: Strategic outreach to bring in new employers, and promote local businesses and entertainment to raise Etobicoke-Lakeshore's profile.
  • Housing Affordability: Push for set allocation of affordable units in new housing developments; support development of new cooperative housing initiatives, and ensure community consultation is done prior to new development projects.
     

MoreWithMorley.com

 

Candidates: 

Boundaries: Bloor St. W. Kipling Avenue and Mimico Creek to the north, Humber River to the east, the waterfront to the south and Etobicoke Creek to the west. 

Demographics: There are 129,081 people with an average age of 42. The average household size is two people with a median household income of $71,894. The percentage of visible minorities in the ward is 27%. [ Info Toronto Star | Sept 24]

Ward 3- Etobicoke Lakeshore

Svitlana Burlakova:
One of the reasons she is running for council is that the City of Toronto is ranked as the worst city in North America for commuting and one of the least affordable cities in the world. She is opposed to any new taxes. Svitlana has been in sales in the housing business for the past 7 years. She was born in Ukraine, and immigrated to Canada in 1995.

She believes the knowledge she gained from 20 years’ experience in the finance field, including 10 years in municipal service of Ukrainian Capital, gives her the right outlook to deal with issues facing a city such as Toronto. 

Iain Davis:
Davis is an associate pastor at Thistletown Baptist Church. He has worked and volunteered in some of Toronto's most challenging neighbourhoods and he has a deep appreciation for working with communities. While he was a student he worked every summer, from landscaping to community camps to work in the equity department at the Toronto District School Board. On his website, Davis sets out detailed a policy platform that includes positions on housing affordability, transportation, poverty reduction, community safety and municipal finances.
Social Media:

Pamela Gough:
Gough has served for 17 years as Etobicoke Lakeshore’s trustee on the Etobicoke Board of Education. In her role as Trustee, she has fought for expansion and reopening of schools in the Sunnylea, Norseman and Queensway communities. She is a founding member of the Sunnylea Kingsway Community Association, a grassroots group formed in 2017 to fight over-height development on Bloor Street. As an enthusiastic advocate for school-based day care, she helped to found the Sunnylea Child Care Centre. Prior to serving as Trustee, her career included working at the Canadian Centre for Excellence in Child Welfare with some of Canada’s top social workers. Pamela received her Masters of Forestry from the University of Toronto and her Masters of Teaching from OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education).

Her comment on her years in the education system: “The most important learning that I took away from my experience as a trustee on the Etobicoke Board was the experience of attending expulsion hearings and SALEPs (committees that review the needs of students who wish to leave school early in order to join the work force). It was there that I saw the intersection of the social determinants of health, equity issues, and educational outcomes for students most clearly and compellingly.”

Gough has been described as an excellent advocate for street safety. In June, Pamela Tweeted: "Road safety in #CityofTO emerging as a major election issue. Good to see school zones included as a priority for automated speed enforcement in keeping with #VisionZero guidelines" in response to the launch of the #BuildtheVisionTO campaign. 

Policy - With the explosive growth taking place in Etobicoke Lakeshore, Pamela believes that investing in smart, transit-oriented development has never been more critical.

VoteGough.ca

Mark Grimes: (Incumbent)   
Mark Grimes first became a councillor in a no-holds-barred by-election in 2003 to replace a councillor who left to run provincially. During the campaign he and his closest rival, Berardo Mascioli, accused each other of dirty tricks during the campaign. On election night phone lines to both campaign offices were cut. Grimes won the election by 1,352 votes.

Even though The Toronto Star described Grimes as a low-profile candidate, he was surrounded by controversy in 2005. Grimes was appointed to the Toronto Transit Commission board but he resigned in 2006 due to a conflict with firebrand board chair Howard Moscoe. Grimes seconded a motion of non-confidence in Moscoe over his handling of negotiations with the TTC union. When the vote lost, Grimes immediately resigned. On another occasion he made an important contribution to the city. Although Grimes was generally opposed to initiatives supported by Mayor David Miller, he became a key player in getting the land transfer tax passed in 2007. Grimes proposed a compromise that would see rebates for first time buyers. Many ward residents were critical of Grimes when he was the only councillor to vote to lock out Exhibition Place technical staff during a 2018 labour dispute.

On another occasion Grimes was brought before the integrity commissioner and found guilty of having ‘too close a relationship to several developers’. One developer was allowed to forego paying $100,000 in community benefits after Grimes urged council to reduce the developer’s contributions. The Integrity Commissioner concluded that Grimes had 'improper' relationship with developers'.


In continuing his commitment to community safety, Mark worked hard to have a Temporary Storefront Police Station installed on Lakeshore Boulevard. He worked with Toronto Police to finalize the Police College plans, he initiated Community Safety Seminars and he stays in regular contact with local police from 22 Division.

Before entering politics, Mark was a stock trader and then the president/owner of a business in South Etobicoke where he and his brothers operated a thriving logistics company. Some of Grimes' business projects haven't been overly successful.  The MasterCard Centre for Excellence experienced cost overruns. In 2015, there was still an outstanding debt of $40 million and the city was forced to write off $8.1 million it was owed. Efforts to re-vitalize businesses along Lakeshore Avenue have been challenging because of the popularity of Sherway Gardens. 

Boards and Committees: Etobicoke York Community Council, Chair; Economic Development Committee; Exhibition Place Board of Governors, Chair; Nominating Panel - Corporations; Striking Committee; Committee of Revision; Hockey Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

Voting Record 2014 - 2018: Grimes voted in favour of keeping bike lanes on Bloor; in favour of considering child care space reductions; against a long-term financial plan for the city; in favour of the Scarborough subway extension; in favour of considering budget cuts that would impact quality of life for Toronto Community Housing Corporation residents; against exploring the feasibility of a Toronto sales tax; against adding 1,000 new beds in the 2018 Shelter Infrastructure plan; against full funding for TransformTO, the city's long-term climate action plan; in favour of naming a stadium after Rob Ford.

2014 electoral results and 2017 attendance: 1st runner-up Russ Ford got 78% of Grimes' vote count. Grimes missed 17.3% of recorded council votes.
MarkGrimes.ca

Michael Loomans:
Loomans was a candidate in Toronto Centre in 2014, winning only 169 votes. He ran in Oakville in 2010. He owned a computer and IT company in Toronto. In 2010, he wanted to control property taxes and push to keep them lower. 

Peggy Moulder:
Moulder is the only community activist we know of who approved of the province’s move to reduce city council to 25 councillors. The reduction “represents an amazing opportunity for the city” - a chance to implement residential Community Boards (CBs) to ensure formal, fair and democratic participation by residents in the governance of the city. She also says two-term limits would ensure fair representation and opportunity to get elected.

Moulder says the roots for New York City CBs were strongly influenced by Jane Jacobs in the early 1960s. Jacobs argued that the immense increase in the size of American cities had rendered increasingly large city governments as obsolete. New York City subsequently created community “service districts to be used for the planning of community life within the city, the participation of citizens in city government within their communities, and the efficient and effective organization of agencies that deliver municipal services in local communities and geographic areas.” 

There was no information for:
Robert Gunnyon
Michael Julihen
Patrizia Nigro

Prior to City Hall, Amber spent 10 years working at the Lakeshore Area Multiservice Project (LAMP) community health centre. Because of her work, she was recognized with the prestigious Queen’s Diamond Jubilee award, which acknowledges significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.  She also won Rotary Youth Impact Award - Under 25, and the Identify N' Impact Dedication to Youth Advocacy Award. 

What impresses us is her understanding that success requires doing the grunt work, learning the ropes – in order to do a good job and succeed. It struck us, that as a Ward Councillor, we can be confident that she will make decisions that are well thought out and researched. Amber was a graduate this year of the WomenWinTO program, where outstanding women train to run for political office.

The TCRP feels that Morley is the candidate who can beat incumbent Mark Grimes. Grimes has been the councillor for over 15 years.  He maintains an ineffective low profile on council, and has voted the wrong way on many key issues. He voted in favour of budget cuts that would impact quality of life for Toronto Community Housing Corporation residents, and was against adding 1,000 new beds in the 2018 Shelter Infrastructure plan. He also has a far too cozy relationship with developers.

In the last 15 years there have been many demographic changes to Etobicoke-Lakeshore, even before the recent geographical changes imposed by the provincial government, and Grimes no longer reflects what the ward looks like. Morley is endorsed by community leader Russ Ford, who narrowly lost to Grimes in 2014.

Morley’s platform represents a marked change for the people of South Etobicoke, who are tired of ever expanding high-rise developments in their neighbourhoods without the transit to keep up with it. She represents a complete change to city council, with people-focused policies. It’s for these reasons that the Toronto Council Renewal Project is proud to support Amber Morley to be the new city councillor for ward 3.

MORLEY: A breath of fresh air
for the greater Etobicoke community!


What struck us about Amber Morley were her deep roots in her community. Not because she was born there, but because she took up the mantle of engaging her community when she was a teenager. 15 years of activism would give her a big edge going to city hall. She has already had a lot of experience working at City Hall. She has worked in various Council support capacities, having spent the last three years as the Constituency Assistant in Ward 4, Etobicoke-Centre.

 

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