Toronto veteran politician announced he’s not running again
Walker is calling it quits after nearly three decades in politics
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier March 11.)
After months of speculation on his political future, veteran councillor Michael Walker announced today he is calling it quits after nearly three decades in municipal politics.
The St. Paul’s rep made his announcement at 11 a.m. in the press gallery at city hall.
“I am announcing my intention not to stand for re-election as city councillor,” said Walker, who turns 70 this June.
“I do this with mixed emotions,” he said, at times getting misty eyed. “I have been most fortunate and honoured to have represented the residents of Toronto for 28 years.
Over that period I have been privileged to serve the interests of astute, discerning and highly engaged constituency for which I was deeply grateful.”
“The time has come now for me to step aside from that role now, which I will dearly miss as most of you know,” he said. “I thank the people I have represented for the remarkable level of trust they have placed in me over the years.”
Although he sees himself as “her majesty’s royal opposition” to the mayors he’s worked with, Walker spoke fondly of Art Eggleton, June Rowlands, Barbara Hall, Mel Lastman and current mayor, David Miller.
He also recalled some of the many issues he championed, including election finance reform banning corporate and unions donations in municipal elections, slower rail train speeds through communities and setting up the country’s first tenant defense fund.
Walker has no intention to enter a new profession after his term ends this fall. He plans to travel with his wife, Anita.
He also endorsed his executive assistant Chris Sellors as a candidate to replace him. Sellors stepped down from his role in Walker’s office yesterday in order to officially register as a St. Paul’s Ward 22 candidate today.
St. Paul’s public school trustee Josh Matlow registered as a council candidate in Ward 22 in early January.
Sellors and Matlow are the only two candidates so far.