Josh Matlow pulled out a big election win over councillor Joe Mihevc in the newly amalgamated Ward 12 on Monday night.
The veteran councillors were forced into competition as a result of the provincial government’s controversial pre-election amalgamation plan for Toronto city council.
Premier Doug Ford’s much contested decision to cut Toronto council to 25 from 47 seats was still being talked about at the Matlow victory party on Monday night.
In a fiery speech surrounded by his supporters at the Midtown Gastro Hub, Matlow called the premier “a dishonest populist’ and someone who ‘disregarded our local democracy and ignored our Charter Rights to settle scores.’
Matlow said he would still ‘reach out’ and govern for all the Ward’s constituents despite being against the amalgamation of city council.
The new Ward 12 Toronto-St Paul’s is located in midtown Toronto and has a population of 107, 900.
Ward 12 is mainly made up of the recently amalgamated parts of the old Wards 21 and 22 though it’s southern portions do include parts of the old Ward 15.
Improving transit options are a significant issue for this midtown ward with both Matlow and Mihevc making it a priority of their campaigns.
Mihevc said on his campaign website that he had “a vision of transit that delivers broad public access, fair fares, complete streets and efficient movement around the city whether you’re walking, cycling, driving or on the TTC.”
Matlow said that he’ll continue to support ‘fast, frequent’ and ‘one fare’ express buses on Avenue, Bathurst, Dufferin, and Mt Pleasant Roads.
On Twitter, Matlow has frequently called for ‘evidence-based transit’ solutions, seemingly a swipe again Toronto mayor John Tory’s own transit plan.
Matlow had been a vocal opponent in council of the Tory supported 1-stop Scarbourgh subway extension plan, calling it on Twitter ‘wasteful’.
These criticisms likely led to Tory openly endorsing Mihevic’s candidacy for ward 12 over Matlow’s.
“In this race, he’s put his support behind Joe Mihevc because he’s someone that the mayor knows he can work with at city hall,’ said Keerthana Kamalavasan, a spokesman for the Tory campaign, said in a previous statement to CBC news.
Now that he has won the election Matlow’s campaign director Andrew Athanasiu insists the councillor has no problem working with John Tory.
“A lot of people have made this personal and it’s not, if the Mayor is supporting good things Josh will support it, if he’s not he’ll go against him,” said Athanasiu
Athanasiu insisted that the constituents voted for Matlow because they wanted a councillor who ‘answered the tough questions’ and put ‘evidence before populism.’
The other candidates who ran in Ward 12 were Artur Langau, Ian Lipton, Bob Murphy, Lola Fortiono.