TCRP Recommended Candidate Amber Morley

Toronto Council Renewal Project

TCRP Recommended Candidate: Gord Perks

Boundaries: CPR tracks to the north, CN and CPR tracks to the east, the waterfront to the south and Humber River to the west.

Demographics: There are 108,805 people with an average age of 40. The average household size is two people with a median household income of $65,651. The percentage of visible minorities in the ward is 25.6%. [ Info Toronto Star | Sept 24]

Ward 4 - Parkdale High-Park

Kalsang Dolma:
Kalsang is a community leader and an artist based in Parkdale. She is the founder and chair of DreBu, a non-profit arts, culture and social development organization. In 2013, Kalsang started a youth-led initiative through DreBu called ACT YES (Advocacy Culture Towards Youth Engagement Success). Through ACT YES, she has mentored and managed a number of youth leadership and social justice projects on youth resiliency, civic engagement and violence prevention. Believing that one of the key solutions to addressing youth issues rests with education around democratic participation, she initiated two youth civic engagement projects. Over 50 youth participated.

David Ginsberg:
Ginsberg has been appointed by the city as a member of the board of directors of the McCormick Playground Arena. The post goes until 2021. He also is Co-Founder of the Parkdale Community Hockey League. As owner of the White Squirrel Coffee Shop, Aunties & Uncles, and P&L Burger, he has supported independent businesses in the community.

Valerie Grdisa:
Valerie is a registered nurse with a PhD. In May, she left her position as Director, International Affairs and Best Practice Guidelines Centre for the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO). She helped produce the RNAO’s well-received best practices guidelines for health workers on “Implementing Supervised Injection Services.” and

Taras Kulish:
Kulish finished fourth to winner Sarah Doucette in the 2014 election, but took only 4.5% of the vote. Saying he understands the needs of local agencies, not-for-profits and small and medium size businesses, Kulish has been a business and charities lawyer since 1993. He founded Global Sports International (hockey player recruitment and placement agency) and, with the help of former NDP MP Peggy Nash, founded the HOPE Worldwide Canada “Youth Academy” at Cooper Mills in Parkdale - High Park. He also spearheaded the Helping Hand program to provide war trauma therapy to the children of Syrian refugees in Ukraine and Canada.

Nick Pavlov:
Pavlov is a real estate broker in High Park. He ran in the past two elections. In 2010, he finished third to Sarah Doucette, taking 9.8% of the vote. In 2014, he finished second to Doucette, capturing 10.6% of the vote. Pavlov would deny it, but critics claim that some people run more to get publicity for their business rather than having a realistic chance of winning. We couldn’t find an Internet posting about why he’s running. His Twitter account hasn’t been used since 2014. His website address from 2014 does not function. When clicked, it bounces to an Asian language gambling website.  We're sure he’s not to blame for these things; they’re just interesting.

Alex Perez:
Perez ran in 2014, taking less than 3% of the vote and finishing 7th behind winner Sarah Doucette. In an interview four years ago, he said he decided to run for council after being disappointed by local elected officials and the lack of vision and leadership at city council. He has volunteered in various non-profit organizations, from helping to organize events to being a board member. In a 2014 interview, Alex said development and affordable housing are the top local issues in his area. He said the region needs to have one transportation body.

Evan Tummillo:
Evan finished way behind winner Sarah Doucette in 2014, taking 2.15% of the vote. From Evan: “I have been a life-long resident of the Bloor West Village here in the west end of Toronto." He said that although he did not win in 2014, his wish for a more progressive Toronto has only grown. Tummillo will be blogging about Toronto City Council, Transit, the LRT network, Environmental Initiatives, and General Happenings in our city.

José Vera:
While Vera has no political experience, he believes that, as a professional engineer and expert in building safety, construction law, and public policy, he is well equipped as an experienced problem solver to help the community. He is Manager, Standards and Practice at Professional Engineers Ontario.


There was no information on:
Mercy Okalowe


Veteran Perks is ardent defender of progressivism

Gord Perks’ reputation as a stern critic of the John Tory establishment makes him one of the most ardent defenders of progressivism at City Hall. A three-term councillor of the Parkdale-High Park Ward, Perks is a veteran politician and an integral part of the liberal bloc of councillors. He has chaired numerous committees since taking office with a keen focus on environmental issues, penning several publications on waste management and “climate justice.”

Perks’ voting record is congruent to the broad progressive agenda at City Hall. From favouring bike lanes on Bloor Street, extending child care services, reducing budget cuts to the Toronto Housing Corporation to exploring additional sales tax and improving shelter infrastructure, Perks demonstrates a sharp understanding on how to build upon the success of community projects. In May 2018, Council motioned his plan for a non-profit housing provider to buy a rooming house in Parkdale. A step towards providing more affordable housing solutions in vulnerable neighbourhoods.

Pursuing a fourth term in office, Perks has the distinct advantage of running unchallenged. The candidate list does feature some notable rivals; Kalsang Dolma and Valerie Grdisa come to mind as potential future candidates with active experience in community and grassroot organizations. Perks should look to solidify his legacy and not tarnish it with long-term incumbency ambitions. A gesture to nominate a “successor” would be in the public’s best interest.

In a 25-Ward system, Perks’ experience at City Hall will help shore-up confidence in a likely situation of political uncertainty. The future is bound to be bumpy and we hope Gord Perks can smooth it out. This makes him an obvious choice as a TCRP candidate.


Perks, first elected in 2006, is perhaps the strongest voice for progressive views on council. He frequently takes on Mayor Tory and the large conservative contingent on council, and he’s probably the most quoted spokesperson for the left in the media. Perks was one of the strongest voices on council against Premier Ford’s cutting of council seats to 25 seats. Ford’s action shows "horrible disrespect" to local democracy. “Doug Ford doesn't care about the people of Toronto, or the courts," Perks told CBC Toronto. "If Doug Ford wanted to be the mayor of Toronto he should have done that."

Perks is also Mayor Tory’s strongest critic on council. He strongly opposed a suggestion by Tory that the mayor needs more power. It’s true that Tory likes an American-style “strong mayor” system. Under such a system, the mayor would have more power on a lot of topics than all the councillors together. Perks said the mayor’s power push was a terrible idea, pointing out that Tory currently has a great deal of power because of the support he gets from a mostly compliant majority of councillors.

Gord is proud of what he considers an important victory in May 2018.  City Council supported his motion to make it possible for a non-profit housing provider to buy a rooming house in Parkdale.  He hopes this will lead to more affordable housing in the city.

With an environmental career that began in 1987 with groups such as the Toronto Environmental Alliance, his strongest area concerns environmental issues.  One of Gord’s goals is waste reduction.  He is the principal author of the Canadian Green Consumer Guide, one of Canada’s best-selling non-fiction books.

The Toronto and York Region Labour Council endorses Perks for his long term leadership on climate justice and tax fairness.

Boards and Committees: Toronto and East York Community Council; Affordable Housing Committee; Planning and Growth Management Committee; Tenant Issues Committee; Toronto Atmospheric Fund Board of Directors; Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance; and Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee.

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

2014 electoral results and 2017 attendance: 1st runner-up Charmaine Emerson got 59% of Perks' vote count. Perks missed no recorded council votes.


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