(By: Jackson Farough)
Clearly, Toronto isn’t ready to let go of John Tory yet.
The incumbent mayor will now serve a second term in office after dominating the municipal elections this month. He took 63.5% of the vote despite competing against 34 candidates for mayor. Jennifer Keesmaat—Tory’s main political rival in the election—took just 23.5% of the vote. This was after a passionate couple of months that included Keesmaat’s consistent challenging of Tory’s first term and leadership abilities throughout her campaign.
On Monday, Tory expressed his gratitude for the major stake of the vote in this election.
“I want to say thank you to the people of Toronto for your confidence, for your support, for their inspiration, and for this historic mandate that they’ve given me tonight,” he said.
In his victory speech from downtown Toronto on Monday night, Tory acknowledged his critics’ concerns. “I heard the message loud and clear that we must do more to speed up the increase in supply of affordable housing so people from every single income group will be able to live here and work here,” he said.
While Keesmaat’s platform was put together at the last minute, it still forced Tory to address some key issues in the city, such as affordable housing and transit.
Tory’s campaign platform focused on building upon what he’s already accomplished as mayor. He says he will continue to implement the transit network plan that he secured 9 billion dollars for and will combat gang violence and crime rate. He plans to do this by hiring 200 more police officers, advocating for harsher bail laws and increasing a sense of community among Torontonians.
He also pledged to build 40,000 affordable housing units over the next 12 years by working with private industries and developing city-owned land.
Keesmaat’s platform, on the other hand, also addressed key housing and transit issues. She pledged to build 100 000 affordable housing units and to implement a 50 billion dollar transit plan that would speed up construction of the downtown relief line. She also wanted to extend multiple LRT (light rail transit) systems across the city, including the Eglinton LRT to the airport.
After her loss on Monday, Keesmaat remained optimistic about the city’s future in her concession speech. “We’ll be working to make housing more affordable for ordinary families, by building more of it,” she said. “We’ll be working to make our transit system better by continuously building to a plan that makes sense … We’ll eventually figure out ways for people to afford to live here.”
Having been the former chief city planner from 2012 to 2017, Keesmaat will continue to advocate for positive change in the city.
Tory ran for office in the 2003 Toronto municipal election, but lost to David Miller. After leading the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 2004 to 2009, he went back into broadcasting until 2014 when he ran for mayor of Toronto once again, when he won. With 4 more years at the helm, hard work is on the horizon for Tory.