Candidates confused over restructuring of Toronto City Council

Michelle Garcia Michael Thompson and Chris Noor

Last Friday, community activist Michelle Garcia went down to City Hall, paid one hundred dollars and signed up to enter the 2018 municipal race.

Garcia, a longtime resident of Etobicoke, is now officially a candidate for Toronto City Council  in  Ward Two.

The elections  are due to be held on October 22.

But Premier  Doug Ford’s  recent shocking announcement to slash the size of Toronto City Council almost in half, has left Garcia confused and angry.

Now she doesn’t know what will become of Ward two after the major  restructuring.

However, the Trinidad-born activist plan to move ahead with her campaign which she said will “start   in  earnest” shortly after Saturday’s grand parade  of the Peeks Toronto Caribbean carnival.

She will be “playing mas'” in Louis Saldenah’s Wonders of Spring.

Garcia who ran  in  the last municipal elections in Ward Two against former mayor Rob Ford  (she picked up only 254 votes), says she is better prepared this time.

” My work as an  activist has prepared me for municipal politics and I have no doubt that I be of greater service to my community as a city councillor,” she told the Caribbean  Camera.

“Look, I am better known as a candidate this time.” she added.

Garcia noted that although she is a proud member of  the Caribbean  community, she is  not running as “just a Caribbean  candidate” but as a candidate ” for all the people.”

She said, however, that she was heartened to see several Caribbean  candidates  running in the 2018 municipal elections.

” But we would like to see more black and Caribbean  people ” getting involved in the political process.”

“If we, as Caribbean and black people do not run for political office or do  not even bother to vote, who can we  blame when  the wrong people get elected?”

Garcia  noted that many Black and Caribbean people  are deeply disappointed with the newly elected  Ford provincial government.

Another Trinidad-born candidate, Chris Noor, who is running in Ward One, agrees that the city council  restructuring plan is confusing.

“But perhaps it was intended to be confusing,” he said.

” They call Trinidad and Tobago a Third World country but this kind of last minute restructuring just before an  election would  not have happened in  Trinidad and Tobago, he told the Caribbean  Camera.

Noor , a community activist, ran unsuccessfully in  the last three municipal elections.

Jamaica-born Michael Thompson who represents Ward 37 on the Toronto City Council  and is running for re-election, said that the proposed restructuring of the council  is very  perplexing  and confusing  and it’s confusing for everybody.

“But the Premier has the authority to make the changes.”

” Ideally one would have liked  to have had  sort of consultation process before the restructuring but  we don’t have it.

”  So  I can mope about it. I can complain about it  and waste my time or I can just deal with it  I choose to deal with it by preparing for my reelection in  Scarborough Centre.”

Thompson has been a city councillor since 2003.