With the official resignation of John Tory and pending final approval of City Council later this month, Toronto will be headed to a mayoral by-election on June 26, 2023. This unexpected reality presents an opportunity to elect a mayor who understands working people and who will champion progressive solutions to issues that matter to us and our families. Electing a mayor who will work for—and with—working people is within our reach. This is our chance.
It’s our chance to stop the steady stream of right-wing mayors who, for more than 12 years, have made cuts to public services and worsened affordability in this City. We are done with mayors who will say YES to Doug Ford—and line the pockets of big businesses—but say NO to regular people. Over the last four months, City Council has become destabilized as power has been centralized in the office of the mayor. The “extra-strong” mayor powers, which John Tory specifically requested, wreaked havoc on the City Budget process and, particularly, on the community's ability to participate meaningfully. But now, with Tory’s resignation, working people can work together for change.
This is our chance to elect a mayor who will provide stable, democratic, and progressive leadership. Our chance to elect a leader who deeply values the lived experiences and inputs of working people, including respect for unions. Our chance to elect a leader who will respect our democracy and who will renounce “strong mayor” powers. To be a great city, Toronto’s future success must rest on a strong foundation of public services, affordable housing, accessible public transit, and good jobs. The next mayor of Toronto must be willing to confront the challenges of our time—racial, social, economic and climate injustices—with solutions that tackle these challenges at the root.
Because working people are feeling squeezed right now, we want leadership we can trust to make Toronto a livable city for all. We want to know that we can get to work and school safely, that child care and recreation will be available when we need it, and that we can enjoy the pleasures of life in this big city, regardless of our household income. We need to reverse Toronto’s deterioration under right-wing leadership.
This unprecedented moment requires the solidarity and strength of our unions and of working people in this region. Municipal politics have the most direct impact on all of us, whether or not we work in the public service or live in Toronto. And a win for the mayoral seat in Canada’s biggest city will impact labour’s ability to win at other levels of government. This is a chance for us to strengthen our ties of solidarity and build our members’ organizing skills and political awareness. Together, working people can shape the vision and the outcome of the by-election on June 26.
Therefore, the Labour Council will:
- Labour Council and its affiliates press municipal leaders and aspiring mayoral candidates to commit to a worker-friendly approach and to a livable city for all with progressive solutions through transparent, democratic governance at City Hall and to renounce “strong mayoral powers”.
- Labour Council establish a robust Election Planning Committee with affiliates connected to the City of Toronto to determine, recommend and implement a by-election campaign
- All affiliates engage their members about the by-election and to raise awareness about what it means for labour and for working people who live, work, or play in the City of Toronto.
- Working people shape the vision for the City we want by putting forward issues that concern us - a non-incumbent election means that we can have a greater impact on candidates’ campaigns.
For the full pdf version of this statement, please click here.