Former Ontario Minister Mary Anne Chambers and ex-House Speaker Alvin Curling are among community leaders who have endorsed John Tory as the city’s next mayor.
The municipal elections take place on October 27.
Chambers and Tory served with the United Way of Toronto and the University of Toronto and also across the political floor at Queen’s Park in the interest of Ontarians. She was a member of the province’s legislative assembly under Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty at the same time that he was the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) party and the Official Opposition.
“My experiences working with John have all been in situations and capacities fueled by a commitment and capacity to serve others,” said Chambers. “When I announced I would not seek re-election, John issued a statement saying he was grateful for the opportunities when we worked across party lines to encourage more Black Ontarians to participate in the province’s public life.
“I wouldn’t have expected the leader of the Official Opposition to issue a statement when I announced that I would not seek re-election, but I know that I am not the only person who can share a personal John Tory experience that reflects this man’s ability to rise above what might make us different to celebrate what we have in common.”
Chambers said Toronto deserves respectful political leaders who can work with others to get things accomplished for this great city.
“I happen to believe that the full potential of a city’s greatness is achieved only when there are opportunities for all its people to achieve success,” she said. “Cities need mayors that can work well with councillors and with other orders of government in the interest of the people they have been elected to serve. I am sharing these thoughts because I believe John Tory will help to restore the reputation of the City of Toronto to its former state of high regard and respect and I believe that he will work with others to take the city to an even better place. That is the man I know, someone who genuinely loves Toronto and its people and wants the best for this city. Toronto really does need John Tory now to serve as its mayor.”
A Liberal Member of Parliament for two decades, Curling was the House Speaker when Tory was leader of the Official Opposition.
“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. “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 has been a tireless advocate for the underprivileged and supporter of many initiatives and causes in the Black community, including participating in Jamaica Canadian Association fund-raising walk-a-thons and sponsoring a table for young people at the Harry Jerome Awards for the past decade.
Last April, he took time out from his busy schedule to spend nearly five hours with the students he sponsored.
“I have done it because I believe the Harry Jerome Awards may be one of the most inspirational evenings in our city each year,” said Tory. “Any student who saw the stories of the award winners would go home inspired, believing anything is possible and believing in themselves. It’s a small part of giving young people the self-confidence they need to be great and having everyone in our community feel genuinely included. I have said many times I wish the whole thing was televised so all people, regardless of their background, could see the Harry Jerome Award winners and hear their stories.”
Tory is one of the very few politicians to spend quality time at community events in the Black community.
“For John, service has never been about the politics of opportunism,” said Royal Bank of Canada regional vice-president, Mark Beckles, who was the PC candidate for Brampton West in the 2007 provincial elections. “It comes from a deep place and concern for Toronto and its citizens. He was a servant of the people long before he became a public servant. He cares not because there are votes to be had. John has invested himself and his resources heavily in communities.”
Finishing behind David Miller in the 2003 mayoral race, Tory said Toronto is at a crossroads.
“Over the decades we’ve seen many changes in our city, but one constant remains,” he said. “Toronto remains a great place to raise a family, build a career, ignite your senses, and follow your passion. But as great as we are, we have not yet brought ourselves together after the amalgamation all those years ago in which we really are in this together. The most creative, diverse, innovative and successful cities in the world have always depended on strong leadership, vision and the ability to create successful partnerships and citywide initiatives that capitalize on their strengths. I know we have what it takes to succeed. And I believe in building one Toronto.”