TOVotes: John Tory defeats Jennifer Keesmaat in Toronto mayoral race

Published On October 22, 2018 | By HN Staff | News
Ross Lopes
Toronto Mayor John Tory won re-election Monday night in a closely watched race against his closest rival Jennifer Keesmaat.
“It seems to me that the job one over the next few years is to continue the work of connecting Toronto up in many different ways, to bring opportunities closer, to bring people closer, to bring us closer to our ultimate goal which is a truly great 21st century city,” Tory told his cheering supporters in his victory speech.
“All of these challenges require us to harness every single bit of talent that we have in business, academia, labour, non-profit sector, and street-by-street across this wonderful city,” Tory said.
“It requires leadership from government, which I assure you that I will provide,” he said.
Keesmaat was gracious in defeat as she spoke to her supporters.
“I’d like to congratulate Mayor Tory on his victory. I’m sure he will return to office determined to make his time there count, and I wish him well,” Keesmaat, a former city planner under Tory, said.
“We’ll continue to work, with passion and purpose, towards building a city that works better for everyone: a city that’s more affordable, more livable, more equal, and more sustainable. Thank you Toronto,” Keesmaat said on Twitter.
Along with voting for mayor, residents of Toronto voted for 25 city councilors instead of 47, after Premier Doug Ford’s Conservative government used its majority in the legislature to slash the size of city council. As a result, many wards were merged, pitting incumbents against each other.
During the past few weeks leading up to election night, both Tory and Keesmaat made promises on how they would fix concerning issues around the city, which included housing, transit, crime, taxes and infrastructure.
On housing, Tory said if re-elected, he “plans on building 40,000 affordable rental unites over 12 years” and proposed an “affordable housing secretariat” to coordinate the city’s activities on the issue.
Keesmaat countered his promise and said she plans to build 100,000 housing units over the next 10 years “in an effort to tackle the lack of affordable rentals in Toronto,” and proposed a rent-to-own program financed by a surcharge on luxury properties.
With regard to transit, Keesmaat sought the construction of the TTC subway relief line to be built three years earlier than the scheduled date of 2031. Tory reinstated his track record on transit and said under his leadership, Toronto city council approved the transit Network Plan — which includes the creation of the relief line.
Crime was another issue during the campaign, and Tory promised to match the Ontario government’s $25 million towards community safety programs in the city and would create a community safety advisory body.
He also proposed a handgun ban, which Keesmaat has also said she would ban, and said she would also ban ammunition. She said she would address root causes of violence and focus on crime prevention by providing economic opportunities and programming for youth as well as hiring double the amount of mental health workers who work with police officers.
When talking about taxes, Keesmat said in the first 100 days – if elected — “the city would request provincial amendments to property tax legislation to allow for a surtax on homes worth more than $4 million.”
On the other hand, Tory has proposed keeping property taxes at or below the rate of inflation over the next four years if re-elected. He said he’d also secure funding from the provincial and federal governments to build infrastructure and tackle the city’s “capital backlog” so the burden is not on property tax payers alone.
Relating to infrastructure, Tory noted he will continue to invest in cycling infrastructure in the city, which include bike lanes. Keesmate has proposed tearing down the eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway.
She said she will also commit to making Toronto greener and more sustainable by expanding green infrastructure projects, such as the Queensway Sustainable Sidewalk.

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