Chloe Brown, who placed third in the 2022 Toronto mayoral election, announced that she will be back on the campaign trail for the upcoming by-election.
“The first time I was running to be heard, now I’m running to win,” Brown said in an interview with Humber News.
Brown received more than 34,000 votes on the Oct. 24 election, trailing behind urbanist Gil Penalosa, and former Toronto mayor John Tory.
Penalosa, who placed second, said in interview with Humber News last month that he also plans on running in the by-election.
The City of Toronto said in a news release that a by-law requiring a by-election is set to pass at the next city council meeting on March 29, 2023.
Nominations will open on April 3, 2023 and close on May 12, 2023 with the by-election taking place on June 26, 2023. The by-election was called after Tory resigned from the post after admitting to an extramarital affair with a staffer.
Then Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie has taken on the job of interim mayor.
Brown said she plans on running in the by-election because she has a responsibility to continue the campaign she started last year.
“People put their faith in me to represent them, I can’t pay that back unless I get them what they ask me for,” she said.
Brown said one of her top priorities heading into the by-election is advocating for accessible and affordable housing in the city.
She said the city must first address how the lack of affordable housing impacts people with disabilities, before dealing with the issue of housing affordability.
“There are people experiencing homelessness because there is not enough affordable housing for people with disabilities,” she said.
“If we can start with that issue then building housing for the rest of us shouldn’t be a problem.”
One of the ways Brown suggests the city can help tackle affordable housing is through her proposed digital product called RentSmart.
Brown described RentSmart as a centralized digital system that will give renters equal access to housing listings across the city.
Although the product is yet to be developed, she said the need for affordable housing is an issue that hits close to home.
“I grew up in Rexdale with my siblings and my parents in a two-bedroom apartment, and my parents slept in the living room because they wanted me and my siblings to have a room,” she said.
“I know how important it is for people who may not have grown up with wealth or privilege to have a stabilized independent space.”
Brown’s 2022 campaign advocated for more civic participation and stressed the need for increased opportunity for Toronto residents to be more involved in municipal planning.
Brown continues to highlight this goal heading into this year’s by-election.
“A few months ago I was a nobody, then I finished third,” she said.
“This is how societies are built, when ordinary people do a little something extra when the establishment least expects it,” Brown said.
Brown said Tory’s resignation creates an opportunity for Torontonians to make the changes that elected officials have been unable to do.
“There is a vacuum of power that needs to be filled, and this might be the time for working class people to get on that platform and actually be heard after so long,” she said.
“So, I’m hopeful for us.”
Looking back on her 2022 campaign, Brown said choosing to speak directly to working class people was a true win for her.
“I did not expect my message to resonate with 34,000 people but I’m not surprised that it did,” she said. “I needed to get justice for us, that was the bigger win for me.”
As she prepares for the by-election, Brown said she wants to remind Torontonians that although some have lost faith in the mayor’s seat, the city is still worth fighting for.
“We have to reimagine our role in the fight instead of being like ‘someone else will do it,’” she said. “You are somebody else.”