Election edges city council closer to diverse representation

Majority of newly elected councillors are people of colour

city council election sign
The municipal elections that took place Oc.t 24 brought more diverse representation to city council. 

After the recent municipal election, seven of Toronto’s 25 city councillors are BIPOC, including incumbent Michael Thompson and six newly elected councillors.

Yet, according to Canada Population, 47 per cent of people who live in Toronto claim to be part of a visible minority.

With seven councillors making up only 28 per cent of the total number of councillors, it is fair to say a representative council was not won with this election.

In his acceptance speech on Oct. 24, re-elected mayor John Tory addressed affordability, housing, and transit — big issues for all Torontonians — but one thing he did not touch upon is the lack of diversity among our elected representatives.

Four years ago, Tory told CityNews he agreed “with those who say our council is not representative.”

 But in 2022, he endorsed 12 candidates with three in wards with no incumbency, only one, Grant Gonzales, was BIPOC, and he lost to Alejandra Bravo.

“Tory is more concerned with his friends than inclusiveness,” said Toronto resident Claudine Lee, a pedestrian passing by the venue where Tory’s victory party was held. “Until we find ourselves a better leader this is what it’s going to be like.”

Some Torontonians also were concerned about the date of the election.

“I know many people didn’t go out and vote today because of Diwali,” said East York resident Randeep Sodhi, interviewed on Danforth Avenue. “I feel like they don’t care that we are having our celebration.”

Many celebrating Canadians vented their frustrations online

This sentiment was shared by Gurratan Singh, former NDP MPP for Brampton East, during CP24’s municipal election night broadcast.

“You’re putting people in the worst situation to actually be able to exercise their civic duty to go vote,” he said. “You’re really stacking the cards against them.”


Fresh faces

Amber Morely who won Ward 3 Etobicoke-Lakeshore in an upset over incumbent Mark Grimes, said she is excited for the changes that can be achieved in office.

“We now have 10 women on council versus nine last term,“ said Morely, a director of the South Etobicoke Youth Assembly, in an email. “But there is still more to do. Coupled with historically low voter turnout, this council must make it a priority to re-engage with the electorate.”

This municipal election may have brought us leaders who can bring council closer to reaching accurate representation of Toronto’s demographics, she said.

“I’m fortunate to be here because of the efforts of community leaders who, when I was 12 and 13 years, were deliberate in getting me and my peers to get involved in the political discourse,” Morely said. “I plan to demonstrate for the kids in my community, who may very well look just like me, that we belong here and deserve to be heard.”

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Posted: Nov 1 2022 3:50 pm
Filed under: News