It came at the loss of three pairs of shoes and two pant sizes, but Mike Layton has come out on top in the race for city council chair in Ward 19 (Trinity-Spadina) with 45 per cent of the vote.
“There’s a lot of stairs (in Ward 19). There’s a lot of houses with triple terraces going up…I have a new appreciation for postal workers,” Layton joked outside his victory party at Revival bar on College Street Monday night.
Layton jointly hosted the celebration with former Ward 19 councillor and defeated mayoral contender Joe Pantalone. In his address to the public, Layton promised to work at maintaining social programming and service provision in the city.
“We’ll focus on protecting our services. We’ll focus on spreading transit—we’ve got to get it moving,” he said. “We have to focus on our neighbourhoods and on the … environment in which we all live.”
He’s prepared to work collaboratively with the new mayor and city council, he added, regardless of any individual’s ideologies, though he suggested a need to revisit the viability of campaign promises made by his new colleagues.
“I think we’ll have to re-evaluate some of what was said during the election to see what we want and what (should be) the actual direction we keep the city in,” he said. “That’ll be the first order of business, to see if there’s room to keep a discussion going and to find ways to keep things more efficient without losing services or without selling them off.”
Karen Sun, runner-up in Ward 19 with nearly 21 per cent of the vote, echoed Layton’s concern.
“I think we’ll all need to have good, hard conversations on the left about what happened tonight,” Sun said, in regard to mayor-elect Rob Ford’s win.
Sun wished Layton well and congratulated him on his successful campaign. Though both Sun and Layton were considered left-wing candidates, Sun differentiated herself from Layton by painting herself as the grassroots activist and community leader to Layton’s party-backed politics.
“I was running against the federal NDP party,” Sun said.
As the son of federal NDP leader Jack Layton, Mike Layton reaped the benefit of endorsements from prominent NDP members, including MP Olivia Chow (who also happens to be Jack Layton’s wife) and MPP Rosario Marchese.
Jack Layton and Chow were on hand at the Election Day celebration.
“Mike has always had an orientation towards service,” the elder Layton said. “I think people will be very involved. I know that’s his style … There’ll probably be lots of meetings, roundtables, and workshops and that’s good for democracy.”
True to his father’s portrayal, Layton said he was spending his first day as councillor-elect in meetings with community organizations.
“Tomorrow we have a meeting about the recent violence on Bloor,” he said. “We’ve got to start working on that now. We can’t wait a month.”