How has the 2014 Toronto municipal election affected residents of the inner suburbs, such as northern Etobicoke, Scarborough and North York, who already face growing socioeconomic inequities and a lack of public transit? A panel of academics, community activists and emerging politicians will discuss the dynamics, as well as the steps that could lead to a more socially just city.
Despite the inequalities of the inner suburbs, conservative politicians and their politics remain ascendant in these communities and in most of the city. Former candidates will share their recent experiences running for office, including the interesting challenges of building local coalitions and articulating credible progressive and left alternatives while confronting mainstream policies and discourses that emphasize austerity.
The event, 2014 Toronto Election: Implications for Politics & Social Justice in the Inner Suburbs, will take place Monday, Dec. 1, from 3:30 to 5:30pm, at 280N York Lanes, Keele campus. The panel discussion is presented by the City Institute at York University (CITY). The meeting will be chaired by Jane Farrow. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Farrow ran for Toronto City Council in Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth, in the 2014 municipal election. Her career highlights include stints as CBC Radio One host and producer, best-selling author, executive assistant at Toronto City Hall and dynamic MC and moderator. She was the first executive director of Jane’s Walk, a dynamic non-profit organization based in Toronto engaged in walkability initiatives that celebrate the ideas of urbanist Jane Jacobs. The Toronto Community Foundation recognized Farrow’s contribution to urban resiliency with a Vital People Award in 2010 and in 2014 she was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement LGBTQ Inspire Award. She was an advisor to the World Pride Human Rights Conference and sits on the External Advisory Board at York University’s City Institute.
The following is a list of the speakers:
Abukar ran for Toronto City Council in Ward 2, Etobicoke North. Her aim is to restore integrity and accountability back into municipal affairs. She is also a student at Ryerson University.
In the 2014 provincial election, Barriffe finished second for the NDP in Etobicoke North, beating the conservatives in that riding for the first time in nearly 20 years. A community organizer and an elementary teacher with the Toronto District School Board in Rexdale, Barriffe is co-chair of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto Political Action Committee, board chair for Educational Attainment West, and a board member of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic. He is also treasurer for the Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators and is a former co-chair of the African Heritage Educator’s Network. His work has won him the 2011 Urban Heroes Award and the 2012 JS Woordsworth Award.
Bocking was a first-time candidate in the 2014 Toronto election for city councillor in Ward 35, Scarborough Southwest. His platform included increased TTC funding to freeze fares and improve service, opposing contracting out and offering more employment training, after school children’s programs, better rental housing conditions and local participatory democracy. He will be sharing some of his experiences from the campaign and observations on local politics. Bocking is also in the third year of his PhD in geography at York. His research interests focus on labour movements, education policy and political economy in Canada, Mexico and the United States. He has worked for several years as an adult educator and as a high school teacher of English, geography and history with the Toronto District School Board.
Chhabra was a city council candidate for Ward 44, Scarborough East. She has contributed her organizational talents to the Canadian Cancer Society, Council of Agencies serving South Asians, Equal Voice, the Canadian National Exhibition Association, a housing co-op board, Community Volunteer Income Tax Program for young people, sponsored by the Canada Revenue Agency and the Community Voters Project in New Haven, Conn. She has also worked on campaigns in Vancouver, Boston and Anchorage, Alaska. She has worked with decision makers at city hall on development projects and with a Scarborough East School trustee on a civic engagement program for students. She also spent six years representing workers in the hotel and hospitality industry. Chhabra was recognized by City Idol, a grassroots program that promoted new potential candidates with fresh ideas and a passion for community building.
Henry-Mathieu stood as a city council candidate in Toronto’s Ward 7. He has been dedicated to community development and municipal advocacy initiatives since he was 16 years old. He has spent years helping residents fight for their communities at Toronto City Hall and empowered youth to participate in civic engagement. Whether it is issues of poverty, student nutrition, billboards, bike lanes, transit or public space, Henry-Mathieu has been at city hall challenging councillors to work with the community and experts to find solutions that work for everyone. Currently, he manages communications for one of Canada’s largest banks and has made a substantial mark on the financial industry. Through his work with the Toronto Youth Cabinet, CNE Board and Cycling Committee, he has successfully lobbied council on many issues, including preserving the TYC and Senior’s Forum, writing critical recommendations for the Graffiti Bylaw and stopping the cut of over half of Toronto’s Youth Outreach Workers.
Keil researches global suburbanisms, urban political ecology, cities and infectious disease, and regional governance. Among his recent publications are the forthcoming Suburban Governance: A Global View (ed. with Pierre Hamel; University of Toronto Press, 2015), Suburban Constellations (Jovis, 2013), The Global Cities Reader (ed. with Neil Brenner; Routledge, 2006), Networked Disease: Emerging Infections and the Global City (ed. with S.Harris Ali; Wiley-Blackwell, 2008) and Changing Toronto: Governing the Neoliberal City (with Julie-Anne Boudreau and Douglas Young; UTP 2009). Keil is a co-founder of the International Network for Urban Research and Action and previous director of the City Institute. He is also the principal investigator of the MCRI project on Global Suburbanisms at CITY (2010-17).
Kipfer teaches in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. His research interests range from social theory to comparative urban politics. He has been analyzing the role of new right populism in the production of space in Toronto since the mid-1990s.
Saberi holds a BArch and MArch, as well as an MA in sociology. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University and a contract faculty in the Department of Geography at Trent University. Her doctoral dissertation examines the politics of place-based policies of urban development and policing in Toronto’s postwar suburbs. Alongside her doctoral research, she is also immersed in excavating the interconnection between pacification and (colonial) urbanism, as well as the relations between urban politics and right-wing populism.