On this beautiful sunny Friday afternoon, let’s have a quick look at the results of the 2014 Toronto municipal election in Wards 1 and 2, Etobicoke North. Ward 2 is the Ford’s home turf (Rob Ford and Doug Ford now live in Ward 4, but their mother’s home, the venue for many “Ford Fest” backyard parties is located here, as is the family business, Deco Labels and Tags.
Rob Ford represented Ward 2 on city council for ten years before running for mayor in 2010. In that election, Rob Ford’s brother Doug ran for Rob’s old council seat, and won handily. After being diagnosed with cancer in September of 2014, after a scandal-prone term of office, Rob and Doug traded places. Doug, who did not intend to run for office, took Rob’s place as mayoral candidate. On October 27, 2014, Rob Ford, once again, was elected city councillor for Ward 2. A close ally was re-elected in Ward 1.
Despite disappointing electoral results in Wards 1 and 2, there is hope for the future in northwest Toronto.
Ward 1 is represented by Ford ally Vincent Crisanti (now one of Mayor John Tory’s four deputy mayors). Doug Ford earned a higher percentage of votes in Ward 1 than any other ward in Toronto, winning the approval of 70.2% of voters there. Not surprisingly, Doug Ford did almost as well in Ward 2, getting 67.9% of the votes there, though John Tory came in first in Poll 020 (a condominium complex nar Dixon and Islington) and Polls 024 and 205, both located in seniors’ homes in the ward’s south end.
20-year old Michael Ford (née Stirpe), Rob and Doug’s nephew, was originally slated to run for city council in Ward 2 before Rob’s cancer diagnosis. Michael withdrew his candidacy for city council at the last minute. He was elected as the new Toronto District School Board trustee for Etobicoke North.
In Ward 1, Crisanti easily won re-election, winning 46.3% of the vote and taking all but six polls. Second-pace Avtar Minhas (who got 19.4% of all votes for city council) won only Poll 007 (a couple of high-rise condos at Kipling and Steeles). Third place Jeff Corbett came first in four high-rise polls. Idil Burale, an inspiring community advocate who earned the respect of many election observers and an endorsement from the Toronto Star, came in a disappointing fifth place; she sadly faced racism and intimidation during the campaign. Happily, Burale remains committed to city building and advocating on behalf of the local community, she is now a featured writer for Spacing Magazine.
And in Ward 2, to nobody’s surprise, Rob Ford was returned to city council with 58.8% of the vote, despite the many scandals during his brief mayoralty and amid concerns that he was too ill to adequately serve his constituents. There were several qualified and smart challengers. Urban planner Luke LaRocque, who I had the chance to meet and who I quite like, came in a distant second, with 10.9% of the vote. Jamaican-Canadian businessman and community advocate Andray Domise, who was not afraid to stand up to Ford’s racism and spoke passionately about Ward 2’s needs (such as better transit and employment opportunities), won only 8.2% of the vote, despite positive media coverage and many endorsements.
The only city council candidate to win any poll in Ward 2 besides Ford was fourth-place challenger Munira Abukar, a young Somali-Canadian who bravely stood up to racist, Islamophobic attacks. She came first in Poll 021, representing 320, 330 and 340 Dixon Road. 320 Dixon was likely where the first “Ford crack video” was filmed. The Dixon Road highrises are condominiums (not rental apartments) that house many new immigrants, including many Somali-Canadians. Rob Ford found himself despised in that community. (Though Poll 021 voted overwhelmingly for his brother Doug for mayor.)
The bright side of these depressing election results is that there are great, young, passionate leaders in northwest Toronto who want to do better. I am inspired by people like Domise, Burale, and Abukar. We will hear a lot more from them in the years to come.