Why Municipal Politics Matter

Edited by Tasmiyah Randeree

The incumbent, John Tory was re-elected for a second term as mayor of Toronto during the October 22nd municipal elections. Polls showed that Tory had a lead of 63.49% over Former Chief Planner, Jennifer Keesmaat who came in second with 23.59% of the vote.

 

Of course, as a native Torontonian, I followed the election very closely, doing coverage on municipal events throughout the city and researching various candidates’ platforms. On election day, I asked friends and family if they had voted, only to receive an answer of “No, I forgot” or “No, I don’t follow municipal politics”.

 

I wasn’t surprised. Of my friend group, I seemed to be the only one engaged in local Toronto politics besides provincial and federal politics. In fact, not too many voters my age are engaged in municipal politics outside the election. An article from the Toronto Star showed that advance voter turnout for the 2018 Municipal election was down from 2014. 161,147 votes from the 2014 election was a stretch compared to the recent 124,306 advance votes.

 

What is the significance of your vote and why should you be engaged even after the elections?

 

Decisions Affect You on a Larger Scale

 

Decisions made by Toronto city council are seen first hand and affect you directly. New condominium projects? A subway extension? Warming and cooling centers in the winter and summer months? These precarious decisions lie in the fate of city council and overall shape your local community. Electing certain candidates can put policies and development plans at risk, having YOURSELF deal with the long term damage. Voting gives you the power to choose the community you want and the leaders that represent that community.

 

You have a Larger Say

 

 Your local councilor is a phone call away, nonetheless, a short visit away at City Hall. Because decisions made by City Council affect you directly, you have a larger say on what gets done and which direction your community goes in. Councilors work in your favour to better your riding and work directly with community members.