By RON FANFAIR
Canadians with Caribbean roots are running for mayoral seats in Brampton and Waterloo; a Catholic school board trustee is seeking to return to City Hall and join Michael Thompson as the only Black councilors and an incumbent is confident of retaining his Ajax Town council position.
Concerned about the 12.5 per cent tax increase in the last four years, which is about double the inflation rate, former Wilfrid Laurier University professor Dr. Franklin Ramsoomair leaped into the Waterloo mayoral race.
“My question as a citizen is what have we got for that increase,” said the Trinidad-born educator who has been an area resident for the past 22 years.
A former councilor for Wards 9 and 10, Jamaican-born Garnett Manning is challenging ex-boss Susan Fennell, who has been Brampton’s mayor for the past decade.
“I have had the opportunity to see Brampton in a different perspective in the past four years and that has really strengthened my resolve to want to make a difference,” says the church deacon who, during his tenure on Brampton city council, advocated for the establishment of the state-of-the-art Rose Theatre which opened in 2006 and the Dixie-Sandalwood multi-purpose recreation centre which was launched a year later.
Eglinton-Lawrence (Ward 15) candidate Rob Davis is a frontrunner to return to City Hall after a 10-year absence and join Thompson, the Scarborough Centre (Ward 37) incumbent since 2003.
Italian-trained Somali doctor Cadigia Ali is running a strong race for councillor in Etobicoke North (Ward 2). She finished behind mayoral candidate Rob Ford in the last election and is up against his older brother, Doug.
Former Ontario Provincial Police officer and Glorious Church-Faith Temple pastor Wendell Brereton, who pulled out of the mayoral race last August, is a candidate in Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Ward 6); Sharon Joseph – a mother of three – is challenging Giorgio Mammoliti in York West (Ward 7); paralegal and former correctional officer Benjamin Mbaegbu, who ran for a council seat in the 2001 by-election and again in 2003, is running in Scarborough East (Ward 43) and Marius Frederick is seeking to unseat veteran councillor Joe Mihevc in St. Paul’s (Ward 21).
The Grenadian-born GO Transit bus conductor ran as an independent in last year’s by-election to fill the provincial seat vacated by former Attorney General and Economic Development Minister Michael Bryant.
First-time candidates Karlene Nation and Leo Marshall are Trinity-Spadina (Ward 19) and York South-Weston (Ward 11) contenders, respectively.
Nation, who came to Canada from Jamaica in 1976 as a 17-year-old single mother, is a CTV News diversity producer and news reporter and Barbadian-born Marshall is director of the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre.
“I have had an interest in getting involved at the city level for a long time,” said Nation, who covered the City Hall beat and played a leading role in pushing CTV to cover the seat of local government on a full-time basis. “This interest sort of peaked as the election date grew nearer.”
Guyanese-born newspaper publishers Leon Saul and Bhaskar Sharma are candidates in Scarborough-Rouge River (Ward 42) and Scarborough East (Ward 43) respectively.
At the public school board trustee level in the city, community worker and Share columnist Murphy Browne and former police officer Chris Moise in Toronto Centre-Rosedale (Ward 14), and 28-year-old lawyer and teacher Dionne Coley in Scarborough East (Ward 22) are seeking to join incumbents Michael Coteau in Don Valley East (Ward 17) and Stephnie Payne in York West (Ward 4).
Guyanese-born lawyer Nirmala Armstrong (formerly Persaud) is a Markham regional councillor candidate and Frank Alexander is seeking a third term in office as a York Catholic District School Board trustee in Wards 4, 5, 7 & 8.
In Brampton, Len Carby (Ward 2), Princess Boucher (Ward 6) and Yaw Osei-Aning (Wards 1 & 5) are vying for regional and city council seats while Guyanese-born health care worker Joy Adams (Wards 9 & 10) and award-winning actor/director/producer Anthony Sherwood (Wards 4 & 5) are attempting to join David Green (Wards 1 & 3) as public school trustees.
Carole Walker is challenging Suzanne Nurse in Wards 2 & 6 and Nigerian-Canadian Business Director & Nigerian Canadian News publisher Ngozi Ugoh is seeking to become a Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board trustee.
Winston Harding and Kwaku Owusu are among 72 candidates seeking election in Mississauga, Jamaican-born McMaster University Economics graduate Carey DePass is running for Ward 4 councillor in Milton and Canadian Armed Forces chief warrant officer Kevin Junor is one of the Town of Caledon’s Ward 5 candidates.
In Durham region, Renrick Ashby is heavily favoured to retain his seat as Ward 2 councillor in Ajax, Durham Educational Mentoring Program co-founder and paralegal Ida Fogo has thrown her hat in the race for public school board trustee in Pickering, employment consultant Chudi Asidianya is a West Ward 2 contender in Whitby and Esrick Quintyn, who holds an accounting diploma, is among 17 candidates running for Oshawa’s three local councillor seats.
Nigerian-born substitute elementary school teacher Atinuke Bankole is bidding to become a regional councillor in Cambridge.