His name is William Allan Russell Gore, but you know him as Al Gore.
No, not that Al Gore. This one’s all Canadian and he’s running to be the next mayor of Toronto.
For generations, his family have lived, worked and died in Toronto starting from the days when the horse and buggy were common on the streets. Today, Gore lives alone and has a son and three grandchildren living elsewhere in the city.
Since 1997, Gore has contemplated running for mayor but kept putting it off, continuing his career as a market researcher.
However, this is one election he cannot ignore, he says.
He is frustrated with what he calls City Hall’s inefficiency in serving the public interest.
“You got adults behaving like children (in city council) thinking they can solve problems overnight,” Gore says. “It’s a popularity contest. They’re more concerned with paycheques than with people.”
While most candidates are canvassing in neighbourhoods throughout the city, Gore is prowling the streets of Toronto.
“I’ve been talking to city workers and people on the streets like food bank volunteers and getting their take on things,” he said.
As a market researcher, he’s worked with Toronto Hydro and was part of the city of Barrie transit task force, he says. He claims many of the city’s problems can be dealt with using grassroots research to produce better solutions.
“The question isn’t whether to spend or not,” he said. “We should be asking if a project is sustainable, if it can pay for itself, can it offer more and is it planned properly so that millions of dollars doesn’t go to waste.”
With a name like Al Gore, humour comes with the territory. At a mayoral debate hosted at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus on Feb. 5, the first questions that Gore was asked were about climate change.
He does not possess the money to run a large campaign but for Gore says he’s using the opportunity of the mayoralty race to test the waters for a potential political career.
“I like being the underdog and being challenged,” he says.