John Tory to help Toronto in other ways
But he will not be a candidate in city election
(Written for Town Crier Aug 6.)
While he says important issues aren’t being addressed by mayoral candidates, John Tory feels he can do more to help those causes from outside city hall.
“If you think these issues aren’t being addressed, as I do, then should I enter the race?” Tory said in an interview with the Town Crier after announcing that he won’t reconsider his decision not to run for mayor.
“I decided I regret those issues aren’t being addressed in debates, but I can continue to raise these issues and have some of the candidates on my talk show,” said Tory, who host a radio show on NewsTalk 1010.
Top of his list of issues that should be on the election agenda for mayoral candidates are ways to improve the quality of life in the city’s high-needs, low-income priority neighbourhoods.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people in those neighbourhoods, who aren’t getting the hand up to get those jobs,” he said. “They can’t support their own family in a more effective manner. And we are missing their talents and abilities in growing our economy.”
He is also critical of the mayoral front-runners’ transit plans.
“Candidates aren’t really answering effectively how will we pay for transit. So one of two things happens. They throw up their hands (after they are elected) and say we can’t do it. Or they engage in irresponsible management to pay for their promises.”
While he will be on the sidelines this fall, Tory hasn’t ruled out endorsing any of those who are seeking the city’s top job.
Aside from his radio show, Tory does a lot of volunteer work and is the chair of the Toronto City Summit Alliance, an organization of civic leaders in the Toronto region that gets together to discuss solutions to the city and the GTA’s problems.
“I am in meetings everyday on issues like transit with 25 of the brightest minds in the city convened together,” said Tory. “We put a (regional transportation) paper out to provoke debate. We will also be looking at neighbourhoods, income security, labour market, economy, transportation, arts and culture.”
He said he hopes the work of the Alliance will lead to some concrete change in the city in the next 18 months.
“The best place for me as a citizen to make a difference is as head of the City Summit Alliance and in broadcasting with a platform to express my opinions and hold politicians to account.”
Tory had announced in January that he would not be a candidate in October’s mayoral election but had come under pressure recently to throw his hat into the ring.
Tory also holds leadership positions with the Toronto International Film Festival Fundraising Campaign, the Yad Vashem Righteous Among Nations Dinner, the Writers Trust Annual Dinner, the City Film Project for young people at risk and Me to We Day for Free the Children. And is active with St. Michael’s Hospital, the United Way and as a member of the Board of Directors of Rogers Communications Inc.