Toronto Election 2018: A voter’s guide to the good, bad, ugly and progressive choices for council

All eyes have been on the mayor’s race, but it’s the battles for the city’s 25 council seats that will influence Toronto’s course over the next four years.



WARD 1 Etobicoke North

Who’s running Vincent Crisanti, Peter D’Gama, Naiima Farah, Michael Ford, Michelle Garcia, Christopher Noor, Shirish Patel, Gurinder Patri, Carol Royer

Key demographics 76 per cent visible minority 27 per cent of immigrants are refugees 

Progressive choice Ford and Crisanti are among the worst of a bad bunch of right-wing incumbents running in this election. That they happen to be vying for a seat in the ward that used to be represented by now Premier Doug Ford (and before that his late mayor brother Rob), adds to the mockery. Few have dared to challenge in fortress Ford and 2018 is (mostly) no different with a number of also-rans from 2014 running again. But there are two exceptions: community worker Naiima Farah, who’s advocating a “fresh approach,” and longtime local resident and businessperson Carol Royer, who’s pushing for more community investment and affordable housing. Royer is the one with the better chance of winning.

WARD 2 Etobicoke Centre

Who’s running Bill Boersma, John Campbell, Angelo Carnevale, Stephen Holyday, Erica Kelly

Key demographics 30 per cent of households have annual incomes of over $125,000 Italians make up largest ethnic group (4.9 per cent)

Progressive choice Council right-wingers Campbell and Holyday are essentially two sides of the same coin, with Holyday the more conservative of the two. Carnevale, meanwhile, seems to have the support of Doug Ford and local MPP Kinga Surma. Erica Kelly, who ran for the NDP here during the provincial election, represents a long shot, but if you really want to irritate Doug Ford (as we do), then vote for her.

WARD 3 Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Who’s running Svitlana Burlakova, Iain Davis, Pamela Gough, Mark Grimes, Robert Gunnyon, Michael Julihen, Michael Loomans, Amber Morley, Peggy Moulder, Patrizia -Nigro

Key demographics 11.8 per cent growth in population between 2011 and 2016 28 per cent are visible minority Polish speakers make up largest ethnic group (4.5 per cent)

Progressive choice Longtime incumbent Grimes, part of the old Etobicoke cabal that’s been in charge forever, has been flying under the radar ever since he entered municipal politics some 15 years ago – despite having one of the worst attendance records on council, and the fact that he’s been cited by the Integrity Commissioner for improper dealings with developers. Progress Toronto is encouraging Etobicoke voters to cast their ballots for Amber Morley, a woman of colour with activist roots in south Etobicoke.

WARD 4 Parkdale-High Park

Who’s running Kalsang Dolma, David Ginsberg, Valerie Grdisa, Taras Kulish, Mercy Okalowe, Nick Pavlov, Alex Perez, Gord Perks, Evan Tummillo, José Vera

Key demographics Lowest percentage of visible minorities (26.2 per cent) among all Toronto ridings

Progressive choice Gord Perks has been the target of criticism from some locals for growing gentrification in what remains one of the last affordable areas of Toronto. Dolma, a local settlement worker and board member of Parkdale Community Legal Services, has been particularly vocal on that front, and hoping to tap into the area’s sizable Tibetan community with calls for more “fresh and diverse” voices on council. It’s a call we support, but it’s hard to overlook Perks’s 12-year record of inclusivity. In these dangerous times experience will count. It’s Perks here.

Ward 5 York South-Weston 

Who’s running Keaton Austin, Deega Barre, Joey Carapinha, Frank Di Giorgio, Fred Fosu, Harpreet Gulri, Frances Nunziata, Cedric Ogilvie, Lekan Olawoye, Chiara Padovani, Luis Portillo

Key demographics 32 per cent of households are led by a single parent lowest average household income in the city ($67,954) Portuguese (10.3 per cent), Spanish (7.2 per cent) and Italian speakers (6.1 per cent) make up largest ethnic groups 

Progressive choice Longtime council incumbents Nunziata and Di Giorgio left off right where they were with Ford – backing the mayor most of the time, including on child care spaces and school nutrition programs. Lekan Olawoye, who ran for council in 2014, has dedicated himself to local youth issues in the area for more than a decade, first as head of For Youth Initiative non-profit and more recently as co-chair of the Toronto Community Benefits Network. He deserves a shot.

Ward 6 York Centre 

Maria Augimeri, James Pasternak, Louise Russo, Edward Zaretsky

Key demographics Filipinos (13.1 per cent), Italians (5.2 per cent) and Russian immigrants (3.5 per cent) make up the largest ethnic groups

Progressive choice Council vets Maria Augimeri and Pasternak find themselves in a heated battle with Tory’s choice in the area, Russo. Ontario Proud, the same folks who pushed Ford-backed candidates during the provincial election, have targeted Augimeri, who hasn’t always been a dependable member of council’s left, but is better than the alternatives here.

Ward 7 Humber River-Black Creek

Who’s running Kristy-Ann Charles, Amanda Coombs, Tiffany Ford, -Winston La Rose, Giorgio Mammoliti, Anthony Perruzza, Deanna Sgro, Kerry-Ann Thomas

Key demographics 74 per cent visible minority 35 per cent of households are led by a single parent highest percentage of Latin American (9.5 per cent), Southeast Asian (8.9 per cent), Jamaican (8.5 per cent) and Vietnamese (8 per cent) populations in Toronto, but where Italian Canadians are still the largest ethnic group (12.5 per cent)

Progressive choice Most agree that Giorgio “I kill those cockroaches” Mammoliti has got to go, and under normal circumstances, Perruzza would be the best choice to get that job done. But it’s high time this multi-ethnic ward, which includes the Jane-Finch neighbourhood, had a representative who not only looks more like them but intuitively understands their concerns. Tiffany Ford fits the bill as a longtime resident and someone who has ably repped the area as a school trustee for the last four years. 

Ward 8 Eglinton-Lawrence

Who’s running Jennifer Arp, Christin Carmichael Greb, Mike Colle, Darren Dunlop, Lauralyn Johnston, Beth Levy, Randall Pancer, Josh Pede, Peter Tijiri, Dyanoosh Youssefi

Key demographics Average household income ($162,674) well above Toronto average ($102,721) 64 per cent have post-secondary education ward with the second-highest percentage of people of Jewish origin (15 per cent) in the city

Progressive choice Carmichael Greb, a Tory symp, has the dubious distinction of winning the last election with only 17 per cent of the vote. And then being dogged earlier in her council tenure by questions about her work ethic after she dropped out of serving on the library board and Board of Health. Colle, a former MPP for the area swept out of office by the recent Ford win provincially, is looking to make a comeback in his son Josh’s old council seat. But it’s Dyanoosh Youssefi, who ran in 2014 and was part of the legal challenge to Ford’s bill to cut council in half, who is the real change candidate here. The single mother of two (she’s of Iranian-Jewish background) has the backing of Progress Toronto, former NDP MPP Rosario Marchese and former Canadian Race Relations Foundation CEO Karen Mock.

Ward 9 Davenport

Who’s running Ana Bailão, Mark Balack, Nahum Mann, Troy Young

Key demographics 11 per cent increase in number of households between 2011 and 2016 Portuguese make up largest ethnic group (12.2 per cent)

Progressive choice Ford symp Cesar Palacio was expected to run here but bowed out at the 11th hour leaving fellow incumbent Ana Bailão virtually unchallenged in the smallest field of any council race. Ford’s move to cut council in half was at least partly motivated to prevent such virtual acclamations. But it’s also true to say that Bailão has developed into a seasoned political performer serving as Tory’s affordable housing committee chair and deputy mayor this term. 

Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York

Who’s running Michael Barcelos, Al Carbone, Joe Cressy, Ahdam Dour, April Engelberg, Dean Maher, Andrew Massey, Rick Myers, Karlene Nation, John Nguyen, Kevin Vuong, Edris Zalmai, Andrei Zodian, Sabrina Zuniga

Key demographics Massive growth with a 40 per cent increase in population between 2011 and 2016 86 per cent of residents live in an apartment or condo Mandarin or Cantonese speakers (more than 10 per cent) make up the riding’s largest ethnic groups

Progressive choice Incumbent Joe Cressy, the other half of council’s left-wing dynamic duo (with Mike Layton), has been forced to run slightly outside his usual comfort zone under the 25-ward system, but that shouldn’t matter. He has accumulated an impressive record during his first term on council. From Bloor bike lanes to the King Street pilot project and efforts to save 401 Richmond, it’s been an activist four years for Cressy. But it’s his efforts as Tory’s drug strategy point person on the opioid crisis that earns Cressy the highest marks.

Ward 11 University-Rosedale

Who’s running Michael Borrelli, Marc Cormier, Mike Layton, Joyce Rowlands, George Sawision, Michael Shaw, Nicki Ward

Key demographics 52.3 per cent of tenant households spend more than 30 per cent of their income on shelter average household income ($170,832) well above Toronto average ($102,721) like neighbouring Spadina-Fort York, Mandarin and Cantonese speakers make up the largest ethnic group followed by Portuguese

Progressive choice There was some talk of Mike Layton making a run for mayor. That would have been interesting. But it’s not quite time for the NDP protege. In the meantime, you can vote to put him back on council, we’re not shy to say. He’s been a champion on issues of affordability, housing, violence against women and development, among others. 

Ward 12 Toronto-St. Paul’s

Who’s running Elizabeth Cook, Artur Langu, Ian Lipton, Josh Matlow, Joe -Mihevc, Bob Murphy

Key demographics 72 per cent post-secondary education high proportion of English speakers (67.4 per cent) higher than average household income ($155,470)

Progressive choice A tough call. Joe Mihevc has been a solid contributor over his more than 10 years on council. Matlow has stood out more recently over his opposition to the Scarborough subway, the white elephant the Rob Ford administration saddled Toronto with. It was shaping up as one of those races where either would be a good choice, but John Tory’s endorsement of Mihevc, his poverty advocate, complicates matters. Whereas Matlow has clearly drawn a line with Tory, Mihevc is willing to play ball, which is not sitting well with some of his council colleagues on the left, who are concerned Tory is trying to elect his own slate. The question, then, is: who will Mihevc defend when push comes to shove? Mihevc has proven he can be trusted to do the right thing in the past. That shouldn’t change with Tory’s endorsement.

Ward 13 Toronto Centre

Who’s running Darren Abramson, Khuram Aftab, Jon Callegher, Richard Forget, Tim Gordanier, Jonathan Heath, John Jeffery, Walied Khogali Ali, Gladys Larbie, Barbara Lavoie, Ryan Lester, Kyle McNally, Catherina Perez, George Smitherman, Jordan Stone, Lucy Troisi, Megann Willson, Rob Wolvin, Kristyn Wong-Tam

Key demographics 10.5 per cent growth in population between 2011 and 2016 70 per cent of residents have a post-secondary education 82 per cent rent or live in condos South Asians (9 per cent), Chinese (8.3 per cent) and Filipinos (4.6 per cent) make up the largest ethnic groups

Progressive choice For community organizer and activist Khogali Ali, this election is about what could have been. He’s attracted some key endorsements from labour and Black communities, including from activist journalist Desmond Cole. But as one of a number of visible minority candidates caught in Ford’s council cuts, Khogali Ali ended up in a race against incumbent Kristyn Wong-Tam, who happens to be not only council’s hardest-working member, but perhaps its strongest voice on LGBTQ, gender and diversity issues. She’s the choice here over main rivals Smitherman, the former Liberal MPP for the area who has been an embarrassment by beating the crime drum to death, and Troisi, who is Tory’s choice. 

Ward 14 Toronto-Danforth

Who’s running Lanrick Bennett, Chris Budo, Dixon Chan, Marisol D’Andrea, Paula Fletcher, Mary Fragedakis, Ryan Lindsay, Lawrence Lychowyd, Chris Marinakis, Alexander Pena

Key demographics 33 per cent visible minority 28 per cent have annual household income of more than $125,000  riding also includes sizable Chinese and South Asian communities 

Progressive choice There are two: Paula Fletcher, who represented the southern part of the riding, and Mary Fragedakis, who represented the northern half. Either would be a credit to the community.

Ward 15 Don Valley West

Who’s running Jon Burnside, Tanweer Khan, Minh Le, Jaye Robinson, Nikola Streker

Key demographics 37 per cent single-family homes average household income ($216,158) is more than twice Toronto average South Asian (13.3 per cent), Chinese (10.6 per cent), Filipino (3.1 per cent) and Black communities (3 per cent) make up the largest ethnic groups in this affluent riding, which also includes a large Muslim population (8.2 per cent)

Progressive choice Robinson has had a rough ride as public works chair. It’s no secret she’s not particularly fond of bike lanes. But the ball has been dropped completely on the Tory administration’s Vision Zero road safety plan. The numbers don’t lie: 93 cyclists and pedestrians  killed on Toronto streets over the past two years. This failure is a major theme of her main rival, council colleague Jon Burnside. The former cop who knocked off John Parker in 2014, was on the wrong side of the controversy over Pride’s decision to disinvite uniformed officers to the parade. But he seems to get other aspects of policing right, like the need to invest in programs to keep marginalized youth off the streets. He opposed Ford’s move to cut council in half, advocating instead for 25 local councillors plus eight councillors to serve city-wide. His small-c conservative Leaside sensibilities would be an improvement over Robinson’s big-c conservative fiscal fixation. 

Ward 16 Don Valley East

Who’s running Aria Alavi, David Caplan, Diane Gadoutsis, Stephen Ksiazek, Pushpalatha Mathanalingam, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Dimitre Popov, Michael Woulfe

Key demographics 58 per cent visible minority Filipino (4.3 per cent), Persian (4.3 per cent), Urdu (3.1 per cent) and Arabic speakers (3.1 per cent) make up the largest ethnic groups in this ward that includes Flemingdon Park, Don Mills, Graydon Hall, Parkwoods and Victoria Village neighbourhoods

Progressive choice Readers of these pages will know we have little time for Minnan-Wong. If there’s an argument to be made against incumbency, he’s it – he’s 54 and he’s been a councillor for 24 of those years, a- good chunk of it spent saying some of the vilest xenophobic shit that has ever been uttered from the council floor. He deserves the heave-ho. The person in the best position to do that, David Caplan, comes with his own baggage. The offspring of famous longtime Liberal Elinor Caplan rose to political prominence after being elected provincially in 1997, eventually becoming health minister under Dalton McGuinty before it all came crashing down amid a spending controversy in 2011. Caplan resigned and decided not to seek re-election. He’s back punching holes in Minnan-Wong’s record – namely the latter’s support for the one-stop Scarborough subway to nowhere and his failure to support a motion condemning Islamophobia, among other things.  

Ward 17 Don Valley North

Who’s running Shelley Carroll, Steven Chen, Kasra Gharibi, Ian Hanecak, Stella Kargiannakis, Kostas Kokkinakis, Ken Lister, Christina Liu, Erin O’Connor

Key demographics 70 per cent visible minority 69 per cent first-generation immigrants Chinese (15.4 per cent), Iranian (6.4 per cent) and Filipinos (4 per cent) make up the largest ethnic groups 53.2 per cent of tenant households spend more than 30 per cent of their income on shelter

Progressive choice Shelley Carroll is back to reclaim a council seat after giving up her old one to run unsuccessfully for the Liberals in last spring’s provincial election. The one-time mayoral hopeful is more than worthy. 

Ward 18 Willowdale

Who’s running Farah Aslani, Lily Cheng, Sonny Cho, Danny De Santis, David Epstein, John Filion, Norman Gardner, Andrew Herbst, Marvin Honickman, Albert Kim, Gerald Mak, Sam Mathi, Sam Moini, David Mousavi, Chung Jin Park, Winston Park, Hamid Shakeri, Saman Tabasinejad

Key demographics 19.2 per cent population growth between 2011 and 2016 70 per cent post-secondary education 67 per cent visible minority, with Mandarin, Iranian and Korean speakers making up the largest ethnic groups

Progressive choice It’s a free for all. Incumbent John Filion, who has represented the area for almost 30 years, didn’t plan to run, and then Ford flipped the council switch and Filion got back in. Iranian-Canadian Tabasinejad, a former language instructor, ran for the NDP in the recent provincial election and is endorsed by the York and Region Labour Council. She’s pushing the Downtown Relief Line as a priority. De Santis was endorsed by Liberal MPP Michael Coteau, but that backing was pulled after De Santis tweeted a photo of himself with lunatic fringe mayoral candidate Faith Goldy. De Santis claims not to know who she was. Moini is boasting his connections to Doug Ford. Which brings us back to Filion. If there’s anyone who knows how Ford operates it’s Filion. He literally wrote the book on it.

Ward 19 Beaches-East York

Who’s running Brad Bradford, Norval Bryant, Paul Bura, Dragan Cimesa, David Del Grande, Diane Dyson, Matthew Kellway, Donald Lamoreux, Brenda MacDonald, Joshua Makuch, Valérie Maltais, Frank Marra, Paul Murton, Morley Rosenberg, Adam Smith, Veronica Stephen

Key demographics slightly higher than average household income 63 per cent post-secondary education almost half of the households include families with children

Progressive choice Diane Dyson had the endorsement of outgoing councillor for the area, Janet Davis, before Ford announced his plan to cut council in half and she backed Kellway, the former NDP MP for the area. It was a strategic move on Davis’s part, but we like Dyson, for her work on poverty reduction and affordable housing issues.

Updated on Thursday, October 18,12:47 pm: An earlier version of this item reported that Dyson is endorsed by Mike Layton and Krystin Wong-Tam. Like Davis, they are now endorsing Kellway.

Ward 20 Scarborough Southwest

Who’s running Gerard Arbour, Mohsin Bhuiyan, Paulina Corpuz, Gary Crawford, Michelle Holland-Berardinetti, John Letonja, Robert McDermott, Suman Roy, Curtis Smith, Bruce Waters

Key demographics Household income ($78,561) well below Toronto average ($102,721) South Asians (7.4 per cent) and Filipinos (5.1 per cent), make up the largest ethnic groups 

Progressive choice Tory’s budget chief Crawford would seem to have the advantage over council colleague Holland-Berardinetti, who was counting on Crawford to run provincially. That didn’t happen. But neither is particularly progressive. Both support Ford’s plan to cut council in half. Food security advocate Suman Roy, a member of the Toronto Food Policy Council and chair of the Board of Directors at Food Share Toronto, deserves consideration. 

Ward 21 Scarborough Centre 

Who’s running Paul Beatty, Vivek Bhatt, Fawzi Bidawi, Randy Bucao, Zia Choudhary, Ismail Khan, Zameer ul hassan Nadeem, Arfan Naveed, Raphael Rosch, Nur Saifullah, Michael Thompson

Key demographics 70 per cent visible minority 42 per cent of households have annual income below $49,999 Filipinos (9.7 per cent) and Sri Lankans (6.8 per cent) make up the largest ethnic groups

Progressive choice Incumbent Michael Thompson, council’s only Black member, was first elected in 2003. He can be a strange cat. On one hand, he’s a fiscal conservative. On the other, he was a big booster of policing reform. Under Tory he’s played a significant role as chair of Toronto’s Economic Development and Culture Committee, chair of Invest Toronto, and a board member of Build Toronto. Earlier this year, the integrity commissioner gave Thompson a slap on the wrist for going to bat for a longtime developer friend. Then there was the three-day stay in a $900/night hotel while on a trade mission in Los Angeles that stirred some controversy. But the resumé is the thing here.

Ward 22 Scarborough-Agincourt 

Who’s running Jude Coutinho, Jim Karygiannis, Norm Kelly, Michael Korzeniewski, Vincent Lee, Roland Lin, Jason Woychesko

Key demographics 81 per cent visible minority 47.4 per cent of tenant households spend more than 30 per cent of their income on shelter 38 per cent of the population is Chinese-speaking

Progressive choice The tantalizing prospect of getting rid of council deadweights Karygiannis and Kelly in one shot unfortunately doesn’t present itself here. The field is a little thin, to put it mildly. One challenger has 19 Twitter followers. Another is asking residents to pray for him to win. The good news is that one of the incumbents won’t be back. The  bad news is there is no serious progressive challenger here. 

Ward 23 Scarborough-North

Who’s running Ashwani Bhardwaj, Maggie Chi, James Chow, Dameon Halstead, Anthony Internicola, Sheraz Khan, Cynthia Lai, Mahboob Mian, Neethan Saba, Felicia Samuel, Sandeep Srivastava

Key demographics 92 per cent visible minority Chinese (23 per cent) and Sri Lankans (8.7 per cent) make up largest ethnic groups 70 per cent of residents are first-generation immigrants

Progressive choice It’s wide open in Scarborough North, where no council incumbent is running. First-time candidate Felicia Samuel, a French teacher and executive officer with the Elementary Teachers of Toronto, is Progress Toronto’s choice. Expanding community services in Scarborough, access to affordable housing and reliable transit are her main platform planks.

Ward 24 Scarborough-Guildwood

Who’s running Paul Ainslie, Itohan Evbagharu, Reddy Muttukuru, Priyanth Nallaratnam, Keiosha Ross, Sajid Saleh, Michelle Spencer, Emery Warner, Morlan Washington

Key demographics 71 per cent visible minority 45 per cent of tenant households spend more than 30 per cent of their income on shelter 43 per cent of households have annual income below $49,999

Progressive choice Council boy scout Paul Ainslie is known for his efforts locally and has cultivated the respect of the area’s sizeable Tamil community. 

Ward 25 Scarborough-Rouge Park

Who’s running Amanda Cain, Paul Cookson, Daniel Cubellis, Jasper Ghori, Reza Khoshdel, Cheryl Lewis-Thurab, Dave Madder, Jennifer McKelvie, Christopher Riley, Neethan Shan, Joseph Thomas

Key demographics 55 per cent single-family homes 72 per cent visible minority 28 per cent have household income over $125,000 Sri Lankans (9.8 per cent), Filipinos (6.4 per cent) and Indo-Canadians (5.4 per cent), make up largest ethnic groups

Progressive choice Neethan Shan championed children, youth and immigrant issues in Malvern for years before he was elected to council in a by-election in 2017. He’s continued his commitment to equity issues as a member of council.

enzom@nowtoronto.com | @enzodimatteo

Leave your opinion for the editor...We read everything!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *