Ward 20 — Scarborough Southwest
About the Ward
Scarborough Southwest is bordered by Eglinton Avenue to the north, Victoria Park Avenue to the west, Markham Road to the east, and the lake to the south. At 57 percent, the ward has a large visible minority population, with a significant proportion being South Asian. At $78,561, the ward’s average household income is 25 percent lower than the city average. Incumbent Gary Crawford has served on city council since 2010.
Where the Candidates Stand
For a ward with an incumbent, there are a fair number of challengers to Crawford—seven in total. They include Parthi Kandavel, the incumbent TDSB Trustee for Ward 18, Kevin Rupasinghe, a community advocate, and Lorenzo Berardinetti, a former city councillor in pre-amalgamation Scarborough and MPP.
The matrix below provides a head-to-head comparison of where council candidates stand. The Local combed through city council records to review all the decisions made over the last four years and identified a dozen votes that are the most telling on key issues: homelessness, transportation, housing, policing, taxes, and the environment. We then sent the challengers a survey asking them how they would have voted on those same 12 motions, and compared the results to Crawford’s votes.
Three candidates responded to The Local’s survey.
Here Are the Takeaways
- All the candidates that responded had very progressive views—in fact, they had the same voting record, save Corey David, who did not answer whether he would consider a personal vehicle tax.
- This puts all three in opposition to Crawford, who had the exact same voting record as John Tory except on one issue: Crawford voted against a stormwater charge.
- All three candidates who responded to our survey supported cutting the police budget to fund rent supplements.
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City Council Candidates
Malik Ahmad describes himself as a small business owner and entrepreneur, with a background in computer engineering. He is co-founder of the International Indian Film Festival Toronto. His campaign is centred around increased transit funding and infrastructure in Scarborough, better bike lanes, COVID recovery planning and support for small businesses, among other issues.
Sharif Ahmed has an engineering background and some community engagement experience through a brief stint on the Community Police Liaison Committee from 2007 to 2010. His priorities are community engagement, the timely completion of community projects, and improved transit service for Scarborough Southwest. He previously ran for city councillor in 2006 and 2014, and in the 2021 by-election.
Lorenzo Berardinetti started his political career in 1988 at age 26, as a city councillor in pre-amalgamation Scarborough. He continued to serve as city councillor in Toronto until 2003, when, running under the Liberal party, he was elected MPP for Scarborough Southwest. He served as MPP until 2018, when Doly Begum won the seat. His platform includes freezing property taxes, improving community consultation on property developments, and attracting jobs to the ward.
Gary Crawford - Incumbent
Gary Crawford is the incumbent councillor for Ward 20 and has held office since 2011. During his term, Crawford has served as budget chair and served on various committees, including the mayor’s executive committee.
As budget chief since 2014, Crawford has carried out Tory’s low-tax mandate, delivering eight years of budgets with residential property tax increases below 3 percent (a rate last seen in the Miller years). While he votes closely with the mayor, like many other conservative councillors, he did not have much appetite for opposing the province’s council cut in 2018.
Prior to city council, he served as the TDSB Trustee for Ward 18 — Scarborough-Southwest from 2003-2010. He is passionate about arts and culture, being an artist and a drummer himself, and was instrumental in increasing funding for the arts, most notably amalgamating the three Civic Theatres.
In a recent Globe and Mail report, Crawford and his campaign were linked to controversial political fixer Spiros Papathanasakis who has been involved in several public sector scandals dating back to the 1990s, including when Papathanasakis and his longtime business partner Monique Lisi exercised their influence on the TDSB between 2010 and 2014 despite having no official role there. Lisi is Crawford’s top political aide, and was hired in his council office in 2019. Crawford told the Globe that he was unaware of her involvement in controversies when he hired her. Papathanasakis has also been filmed and photographed at recent campaign events with Mr. Crawford, according to the report.Crawford is endorsed by Mayor John Tory.
Corey David is a member of Socialist Action Canada who ran in the 2021 Ward 22 by-election. He placed 15th with 79 votes. While David’s current platform isn’t available, his priorities from 2021 include affordable and regulated hoising, anti-racism, police defunding, and advocating for the elimination of private schools.
Parthi Kandavel is the incumbent TDSB Trustee for Ward 18 and has held office since 2014. Kandavel is a longtime resident of Scarborough-Southwest and an advocate for public education, serving on the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association as a director since 2014 and later, vice president from 2016 to 2017.
Philip Mills is an 11-year resident of southwest Scarborough and a concierge supervisor at a downtown condominium. He cites affordability as one of his key concerns for the city, proposing a municipal minimum wage that reflects the city’s higher cost of living relative to the rest of Ontario. His platform also includes decreased funding to the Toronto police, increasing TTC funding with the intent of reducing fares, and improving parks and recreation facilities.
Kevin Rupasinghe is a community advocate with a background in electrical and cities engineering. He is the former campaigns manager for Cycle Toronto, an organization that educates city cyclists and advocates for safer biking infrastructure in Toronto. Rupasinghe’s campaign includes affordable housing, road safety and climate policies. He is a resident of Cliffside, within Ward 20, and emphasizes the importance of having elected leaders be from within the areas they represent. Rupasinghe is endorsed by Progress Toronto.
School Trustee Candidates
Guled Arale was a New Democratic Party parliamentary candidate for Scarborough Southwest in the 2021 federal election, having placed third out of six candidates. While attending University of Toronto Scarborough, Arale was involved in community leadership groups, including as VP External of the Students’ Union in 2013. In 2016, he worked as an outreach worker for the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians. In a 2021 podcast interview, where he shared his views on universal basic income, affordable housing and other issues, the Scarborough native noted he has worked for the NDP for over a decade, including as a regional representative in Metro Toronto. Arale also says he contributed to the creation of an Anti-Racism Directorate in Ontario.
In this election, Arale has been endorsed by the Toronto & York Region Labour Council. If elected for trustee, Arale says he will push back on Doug Ford’s education cuts and advocate for greater funding, smaller class sizes, mental health support, infrastructure upgrades and safer schools that will protect students from future COVID waves.
On her campaign website, Malika Ghous describes herself as a former TDSB school student with business administration and management experience, as well as a sister to current TDSB students. She is interested in being a young voice at the table to increase support and programs for student mental health, special education and post-graduation preparation. If elected, Ghous says she will also advocate for school renovation funding.
Naser Kaid is a graduate of Carleton University with a degree in computer math and works as a taxi driver. Kaid previously ran for the position in 2014 where he placed tenth out of ten candidates. As a taxi driver, he has spoken publicly about the rising cost of living, the introduction of ride-share apps like Uber and the safety and economic challenges in the taxi industry.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
A realtor for over 20 years, Robert McDermott previously ran for Ward 20 city councillor in the 2018 municipal election, placing eighth out of ten candidates. In 2010 and 2014, he ran for Ward 36 city councillor, placing eighth out of ten candidates and fifth out of eight candidates respectively. As a Ward 20 councillor candidate in 2018, he focused his campaign on the de-amalgamation of Scarborough from the City of Toronto, founding the community group, Free Scarborough. On November 29, 2020, McDermott shared a change.org petition he created, calling on the Ontario government to revoke pandemic restrictions on local businesses and allow them to re-open on the grounds that such restrictions were unconstitutional and that in his words, we need to save our economy. He is also the founder of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax Coalition Facebook group, which advocated against the Municipal Land Transfer Tax during his 2018 campaign and generally opposed government interference in real estate. He also supported a living wage, reducing the voting age to 16, a twenty-five seat city council, affordable housing, poverty reduction, as well as other priorities. We could find little to no information online about his trustee campaign at the time of publication.
According to his campaign website, Sonny Mir is an entrepreneur with experience in non-profit management. He ran in the 2021 Federal Election as a Green Party Candidate for Oshawa where he placed fifth out of five candidates.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Anna Sidiropoulos is a mom-of-three and is a community advocate and leader, serving as the Chair for the parent council at her children’s school (where she also attended). Sidiropoulos previously ran for the office in 2018 where she placed third with 2843 votes. As part of her campaign, she wants to increase parent engagement and introduce new curriculum programs to enhance student learning.
Nancy Crawford - Incumbent
Nancy Crawford is the incumbent TCDSB trustee for Ward 12, holding the position since 2010. Crawford has served as the vice-chair of the Toronto Catholic School Board. She was also appointed to the board of directors of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ in April 2022. In a submitted campaign profile for Beach Metro Community News, Crawford notes that prior to being elected, she worked in Human Resources for the City of Toronto for 30 years and also holds a Master’s degree in Education from OISE, University of Toronto. Notably, as a trustee in 2019, she voted against motions to include the terms ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression in the TCDSB’s code of conduct, proclaim June ‘Pride Month’, and fly the pride flag, all of which ultimately passed. According to her campaign website, Crawford describes herself as a strong advocate for Catholic education, building and programming improvements, and developing relationships with other elected representatives, among other priorities.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Benoit Fortin - Incumbent
Benoit Fortin is the incumbent trustee for Conseil scolaire Viamonde Ward 2 – Est. He has held office since 2018, and has been elected by acclamation in this year’s election given he was running unopposed. Fortin is the founding member and Vice President of Development in Africa and India of Skypower, which develops, funds and runs utility-scale renewable power projects internationally. He is also vice-president of the Association des conseils scolaires des écoles publiques de l’Ontario board of directors, which represents all French-language public school boards in the province. While there is limited information about his priorities, Fortin has commented publicly as vice-president of the board on the importance of keeping students in the francophone school system until grade 12 and of meeting the specific needs of a growing francophone community following an announcement of funding from the Ontario government to build a new school.
The City Clerk has voided the election for the MonAvenir school board in this ward. The election will not take place on October 24 and a by-election will be held at a later date.
The City Clerk has voided the election for the MonAvenir school board in this ward. The election will not take place on October 24 and a by-election will be held at a later date. In an email to parents sent on October 21, Rawdat said he was ending his campaign. Read more about ineligible trustees running in French-language schools.
The City Clerk has voided the election for the MonAvenir school board in this ward. The election will not take place on October 24 and a by-election will be held at a later date. On October 21, Wilson notified the city clerk that he is not eligible to hold office. Read more about ineligible trustees running in French-language schools.
Information in Candidate Tracker was compiled and written by The Local’s team of journalists and fact checkers. City council candidates were emailed a questionnaire asking for information about their history, experience, and plans. They were also surveyed about their stances on twelve key votes that took place in the 2018-22 council term. Not all candidates were reachable or responded. The Local also conducted its own research to independently source and verify information about each city council and school trustee candidate. If you’re a candidate whose information is not here, please email us at email@example.com. Last updated: October 22, 2022.
Contributors: Inori Roy, Ann Marie Elpa, Nikky Manfredi, Danielle Orr, H.G. Watson, Emma Buchanan, Dhriti Gupta, Zeahaa Rehman, Neville Park, Nicholas Hune-Brown, Tai Huynh, Craig Madho, Steve Combes, and Lia Mattacchione.
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