Alvin Curling knows who his friends are and will support them regardless of their political affiliation.
The former Speaker of the House and Liberal Member of Provincial Parliament for two decades is a co-chair of John Tory’s mayoral campaign.
Losing to David Miller in the 2003 mayoral elections, Tory went on to lead thce Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario and is again contending to be the city’s chief magistrate.
“I am supporting John because when I was the House Speaker and it would sometimes get raucous; the only pacifying and comforting face I could find was John,” said Curling at a Tory rally last Saturday at the Progress Church of God in east Scarborough. “He respects authority, institutions and the democratic process regardless of party line. His respect for institutions is something that we want in this city. He also allowed me to be a better (House) speaker.”
Tory said he specifically chose the neighbourhood, where the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club is located, for the rally.
“In this community, you get the real essence of people helping people,” he said. “Scarborough is a neighbourhood that has many things going for it, including the people, some of whom just need a little bit of a hand-up in terms of making sure they get a little bit of the kind of help that they need.”
Emphasising Toronto is a great city filled with great people and lots of hope, Tory promises to run city hall without distractions and polarization.
“City Hall is a serious place where serious issues are dealt with,” he said. “I want to thank you for believing the people in this province can make a difference and that we can build up Toronto and get the city back on track. I think our city is at a crossroad and that’s why we have such an important choice to make in October.”
Municipal elections take place on October 27.
Making the point that he’s a people’s person, Tory said some of his proudest moments were when he was with CivicAction. For four years, he was the volunteer chair of the organization that sets a non-partisan agenda, builds strategic partnerships and launches campaigns, programs and organizations that transform the Greater Toronto Area.
“I was able to sit at the table with a person who was a bank executive, a union president, a poverty activist, a couple of interested citizens and people from all across the spectrum and say, all right, what can we do to fight poverty in our city,” said Tory, who lost the 2007 provincial election to former Premier Dalton McGuinty and the Don Valley West seat he contested to current Premier Kathleen Wynne.
“Those were proud moments for me because I knew that out of all of those people, each and every one of them would collectively produce a number of good ideas. When we found those things on which we could agree, then we would move forward and do something together to actually address these problems. So, I have a record of working with people over and over and over again in any part of my life because it’s who I am and it’s what I am.”
A sponsor of tables for young people at the Harry Jerome Awards for the last 10 years, Tory officially entered the mayoral race last February.
“I entered this race because I believe it’s crucially important to be able to work with those governments (provincial and federal), to be able to defend this city from time to time and stand up for it with the other governments and make sure that we can get the city back on track with full and fair support from those other governments,” he said.
Ontario’s Associate Minister of Finance, Mitzie Hunter and Lawrence Dawkins, president of the Scarborough-Guildwood Liberal riding association, have also endorsed Tory, who is an advocate for the underprivileged and supporter of many initiatives and causes in the Black community.