Del Grande looks to make better use of budget

Newly re-elected councillor Mike Del Grande is right on page with Toronto’s new mayor Rob Ford with eliminating wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money.

“I want to finally get my hands on the budget,” Del Grande said after keeping his Ward 39 seat on Oct. 25 . “I think that the finances should be handled directly by council.”

Del Grande said he hopes his expertise as a chartered accountant will be put to use in council.  He graduated from University of Toronto as a chartered accountant in 1979.

Del Grande said he’s glad Rob Ford won the mayoral race because they agree on most policies, including Ford’s infamous “stop the gravy train” platform.

He does not agree, however, with Ford’s proposal to cut the current 44 councillors to 22.

“The wards would be too large for councillors to handle,” Del Grande said. ”They’re too diverse.”

Del Grande’s race against Caldwell Williams and Kevin Xu was marred in controversy after Del Grande claimed he was the victim of unfair politics by Xu.

“I was getting frustrated as I worked the ward hard and he was constantly breaking the rules,” he said. “He was putting signs on boulevards and you can’t do that.”

Del Grande said that Xu only focused on ethnicity during his campaign.

“Mr. Xu was trying to make the race an ethnic issue,” Del Grande said. “He was trying to make the Chinese vote Chinese, and I was trying to get everyone to vote regardless of ethnicity.”

Del Grande said this win shows he represents all people, though Xu disagrees.

“He does not represent the Chinese community in Agincourt,” said Xu over the phone, as he took down campaign signs.  “The Chinese did not have time to vote.”

Xu campaigned for the first time in 2010.  He said that he lost only because he entered the race late.

Xu said that Del Grande does not know how to handle the large immigrant population in Agincourt.

“I would use my experience as an entrepreneur in education to get proper education to the new immigrants in Agincourt.  He does not do that,” Xu said.

Del Grande received a Bachelor of Education degree from the Ontario Institution for Studies in Education in 2002.

Del Grande’s son, John Del Grande, was also victorious Oct. 25. He was elected as a Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee.