On October 27th 2014, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to cast their vote for the next Mayor of Toronto. You’ve probably heard about front runners like Olivia Chow and John Tory but did you know there are about 35 other candidates? We spoke to some of the less known of those contenders to understand their positions and perspectives. First up, meet Mayoral candidate Robb (not Ford) Johannes.
Name: Robb Johannes
Age: Recent graduate to the 30s.
Occupation: Singer/musician in Paint, social justice worker. Currently living precariously as many Torontonians do.
How do you hope to change Toronto?
I am completely in support of investment and development in infrastructure but there seems to be a neglect of investment in citizens. Toronto is a world-class city that is worthy of world-class infrastructure and social services. Reducing congestion with better and more effective transit, beginning with expanding the reach and frequency of bus service, is an immediate priority. Allowing for more pedestrian and cycle corridors in the downtown core will also help not only with congestion but with the environment.
A concerted effort to eliminate homelessness through social services but providing tax breaks to developers to designate units for social housing (as is being done in Vancouver and Calgary, for example) is a social and economic responsibility.
Embracing nightlife and arts and culture are also means to connect communities, as well as tap into the rich cultural industry and talent that Toronto has to offer.
Why did you decide to run?
The 2010 Civic Election in Toronto was a potent example of what happens where there is a disconnect between candidates and communities. I felt that simply voting in 2014 was not enough. The Robb Not Ford campaign had its nucleus in the principle of civic engagement, and giving citizens of Toronto, especially young voters and citizens otherwise alienated from the political process, a candidate who is a regular citizen and not a career politician.
What should the public know about you?
Whilst I would consider myself a “youth” candidate, I am by no means limited in my hands-on experience and have an extensive background in legal reform, organizational management, public outreach, program facilitation, and, most significantly to the role of a mayor: acting as a bridge between communities of people who may otherwise be highly polarized.
As a community social justice advocate with government-funded organizations in Vancouver, I’ve facilitated and contributed to changes in federal laws and improved relationships between service providers, representatives, and citizens.
To learn more visit: robbnotford.com
Posted by Samira Zia Rehman
Previously: 10 Reasons Why You Should Vote