With the municipal elections coming up this fall, I’ve been thinking a lot about local democracy in Toronto.
If municipal government is supposed to be the one that’s “closest to the people” then why is there typically so much media attention on the mayoral race, and relatively little information about the candidates running in our local wards?
Sure, with seven councillors—Layton, Cressy, Bailão, Filion, Wong-Tam, Ford, and Minnan-Wong—not seeking re-election, we can expect exciting open races and ample coverage in the downtown wards. But what about the inner suburbs? What about the 39 school trustee seats up for grabs?
Comprehensive, equitable election coverage.
In true Local fashion, we’ve decided to jump into election journalism with both feet. The Local hadn’t even launched when Torontonians went to the polls in 2018, so we’re truly starting from scratch. That means we’re going to do elections a little differently.
We’re assembling a civic newsroom unlike any other, with close to 20 staff and freelance journalists reporting from corners of the city and on issues that are too often missed in municipal election coverage. As usual, you can expect in-depth, magazine-style features and insightful analyses rather than just newsy coverage of current events.
We’re also building Candidate Tracker, a one-stop-shop for information about every candidate in every ward—the voting history of the incumbents, the platforms of the challengers, head-to-head comparisons of where they stand on critical issues. Remember Hot Spot Tracker or School Tracker? It’s kind of like that—hyper-local, data-driven service journalism that equips readers with the information they need to make informed decisions.
We need your help.
This is The Local’s biggest, most ambitious project yet. And we need your support to make it a reality.
We need to fundraise $15,000 to hire freelance journalists so that we can comprehensively cover the ward races across our vast city. Your support will go directly towards paying the salaries of local journalists who call these wards their home.
We also need to fundraise $10,000 to support the development of Candidate Tracker. This includes the costs of data collection, analysis, and visualization of information related to the hundreds of candidates all across the city.
The Local is dedicated to covering health and social issues, many of which start and end with our municipally-elected officials. The ward races are shaping up to be among the most pivotal in recent Toronto history, with at least seven new councillors coming in late October. The decisions Torontonians make this fall will shape city council, and the politics of this city, for years to come. With your support, The Local’s award-winning journalism will illuminate stories that are overlooked from communities that are just “too local” for mainstream media.
Whether you want to donate one-time, or support our work on a recurring basis, all support is appreciated (and comes with a tax receipt).
Editor-in-Chief, The Local