election

Toronto-Danforth riding candidates talk upcoming election

NDP's Peter Tabuns and Liberal's Li Koo make their pitch to voters

A familiar face with over 10 years of experience in the position and an educator looking to bring “a new voice” to politics are so far the two candidates hoping to win support in the Ontario’s coming election.

New Democrat MPP Peter Tabuns was first elected to represent the Toronto-Danforth riding in 2006. He clinched his party’s nomination last year.

“I was nominated in November. I’m running again,” Tabuns said. He added he’s a “lucky man” to have been able to serve the community.

“[I’ve met] a lot of interesting and interested people — folks who are trying to deal with different problems and issues in their lives,” he said.

Some of those issues include childcare and rent control.

“We’ve had a big shift of population in the last few years and there are far more young families,” Tabuns said, making a point that it’s not only the lack of childcare facilities that’s troubling them but also the cost.

“It’s really putting families into difficult position,” he said.

As for housing, he says more tenants are “finding themselves being squeezed hard by landlords” that increase rents more than people can afford. The long-time MPP tabled a rent control bill in 2017 that provide rent-hike protection.

To provide even better protection, he says he wants to see the creation of a landlord tenant tribunal that will have the authority to fine landlords for not delivering on their end of the bargain.

Li Koo is the Ontario Liberal Party candidate for Toronto-Danforth. She believes “very strongly” in the value of education.

“If you have a good education, no one can take that away from you,” Koo said.

Taking a leaf from her personal journey, she says she’s lived the experience of a child of immigrants where people came to Canada with nothing. Her goal is to push for a strong education system that enables students to have equity and pursue good jobs.

Li Koo
Li Koo says she will work to improve our schools and fight for better transit and access for affordable housing. (Bambang Sadewo/Toronto Observer)

Relating to that, she says the province is heading in the right track with its decision of increasing the minimum wage to $14 this year — $15 in 2018.

“It’s going to make positive impacts to the people … and meet the needs that weren’t met before,” said the professor of communication at George Brown College.

She admits there are challenges ahead following the policy’s implementation.

Ultimately, she wants to make sure that the policy will help the entire community grow together, not just minimum wage workers but also business owners and companies. According to her, the government has been listening to their concerns and providing incentives to them.

“A community is as strong as its weakest link. If we can strengthen education, employment opportunities … if we can do this in a way that bring everybody forward, we move together forward,” she said.

The election is set for June 7.

Tabuns said it’ll be up for the people to decide and that he’ll “work very hard” to secure their trust and support.

Koo says the Toronto-Danforth area has many “amazing people” committed to making a difference and she’ll fight to make sure that the diverse community will be heard.

“It’s time to have a diverse perspective and representative,” she said. “It’s time for a new voice at the table.”