About the Ward
With a population of 129,080, Etobicoke-Lakeshore includes the neighbourhoods of Mimico, New Toronto, Long Branch, and the southern part of Etobicoke bordering Lake Ontario. It’s a rapidly changing ward, with a population that’s increasing at twice the city rate, driven by an influx of working-age individuals in recent years. The average household income is $105,994, slightly higher than the city’s $102,721. The current councillor, Mark Grimes, has served on city council since 2003.
Where the Candidates Stand
There are six candidates in the race for the Etobicoke-Lakeshore city council seat, including incumbent Mark Grimes. In the 2018 election, Grimes, who had the endorsement of Mayor John Tory, won with 41 percent of the votes, ahead of Amber Morley’s 27 percent. Despite being under fire for improper dealings with two condo developers and poor attendance at council meetings, Grimes was endorsed by Tory and his victory was aided by Tory’s robocalls. Morley is taking another run at the council seat, this time backed by endorsements from the Toronto & York Region Labour Council and Progress Toronto. While the Morley vs. Grimes rematch is definitely the one to watch, there are four other candidates involved in the race: Zeynel Ari, Bonnie Hu, Mary Markovic, and Marco Valle (see their fact-checked bios in the section below).
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, adding the results to what we already know about how Grimes voted. And the results are illuminating.
Firstly, the participation rate was high—permitting a head-to-head comparison among five of the six candidates. The only candidate who did not participate was Mary Markovic (fact-checked bio below).
Here Are the Takeaways
- Incumbent Mark Grimes, who has been endorsed by John Tory, consistently voted with the mayor (and other right-leaning councillors).
- Challengers Amber Morley, Zeynel Ari, Bonnie Hu, and Marco Valle all had similar survey results, taking progressive stances on many issues.
- Comparing Grimes and Morley head-to-head, it’s clear that Grimes is in favour of more funding for the police while Morley is not; Grimes wants to keep taxes low, while Morley is in favour of raising taxes in order to pay for city services like the TTC; Morley would like to see Housing Now (an initiative created to rezone and lease City-owned land for mixed-income, mixed-use development) more committed to affordable housing, while Grimes would not.
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City Council Candidates
Zeynel “Dino” Ari is the owner of Dino’s Pizza. He wants to lobby for affordable housing as well as increased police or camera presence to reduce crime in his ward; Ari says his own pizza stores as well as several other small businesses in the the Bloor and Kipling area were broken into earlier this year. Ari has donated free pizzas and clothes to the unhoused in his community, delivered free pizzas to hospitals during the pandemic, and invited international students for free pizza. His platform includes improving transit, affordable housing, and supporting seniors and other vulnerable residents of the ward.
Mark Grimes - Incumbent
Mark Grimes is the incumbent city councillor for Ward 3, holding office since 2003. Grimes is a close ally of John Tory, who has endorsed him in the past four elections. In 2016, the city’s integrity commissioner found that he had “improper” dealings with two developers; Grimes allowed one of the developers to forego paying $100,000 in community benefits in exchange for making improvements to a nearby park and appeared in a promotional video for the other. Grimes apologized and did not receive further discipline. In 2018, the OPP charged him, along with former City Councillor Justin Di Ciano, for allegedly filing false campaign expenses for the 2014 municipal election — and thereby violating the Municipal Elections Act — by each not disclosing $26,000 worth of expenses. After the Crown could not prove the OPP’s allegations, the charges were withdrawn and Grimes was cleared. A 2018 review by the Toronto Star found that Grimes had a high absence rate, missing 33 percent of council votes in 2018 and 22.1 percent of votes over the most recent four-year term. Grimes has been endorsed by Mayor John Tory.
Bonnie Hu is a Toronto resident who relocated to the city from British Columbia for university. Hu has a background in business. She previously ran as a candidate for the Libertarian Party of Canada in the riding of South Surrey-White Rock during the 2015 federal elections and came in fourth place with 261 votes. During her campaign, she stated that the Libertarian platform included “more freedom and less taxes” and disagreed with punishing “victimless crime, like drug offences.” Hu also elaborated that the Libertarian Party wanted private alternatives to healthcare and minimal government involvement, as well as a reduction in assistance to low-income individuals. Hu does not believe that “climate change is that much of an issue,” and does not think the government should be involved in combatting it.
Mary Markovic is a self-employed Etobicoke resident. Markovic frequently tweets and retweets anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine mandate, and anti-mask sentiments on her two Twitter accounts as well as COVID conspiracy theories. She has stated that “Canada’s vaccine mandates need to go for good.” Markovic supported the freedom convoy in Ottawa earlier this year. She previously ran in the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore as a candidate for the New Blue Party of Ontario during the 2022 provincial elections. She placed fifth with 1,612 votes. On her campaign website, Markovic says if elected she will focus on redirecting wasteful spending towards high-benefit community projects, improve city planning by making sure infrastructure plans support population growth, reduce traffic congestion, and address crime rates by working with law enforcement and community leaders. She also wants to create incentives for homeowners to build rental units to address affordable housing, create “buy local” initiatives to support small businesses, and see the completion of the Park Lawn GO station.
Amber Morley is a community advocate and a health promoter at the LAMP Community Health Centre, and has a background in public relations. Previously, Morley served as the director of the South Etobicoke Youth Assembly, an initiative funded by the LAMP Community Health Centre, and worked at city hall in various capacities, including as a constituency assistant for Ward 4 — Etobicoke Centre councillor John Campbell. She is the recipient of several awards such as the 2013 Rotary Youth Impact Award, for individuals under 25 who have contributed significantly to the support and development of youth. Morley ran in the 2018 municipal elections, placing second to incumbent Mark Grimes, with 10,985 votes. The loss was driven, in part, by John Tory’s decision to endorse Grimes and send robocalls to Ward 3 voters, urging them to vote for Grimes. Morley’s current platform prioritizes affordable housing, safe streets and accessible transportation, and resilient and vibrant communities. She has been endorsed by the Toronto & York Region Labour Council, Progress Toronto, and the Toronto Star.
Marco Valle told toronto.com he works in operations and training as a sergeant in the Canadian Armed Forces, and has served on several committees for non-profit organizations. He also said he will advocate for more daycares, schools, TTC and transit options if elected. As part of his platform, Valle wants to create more permanently affordable residential homes by exploring the expansion of the multi-unit residential acquisition program. He also wants to invest in infrastructure and make dental care accessible.
School Trustee Candidates
Jenneen Marie Beattie
Jenneen Marie Beattie is an Etobicoke-based artist with a BFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practices from OCAD and a graduate certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management from Humber College. She sits on the board of directors of Neilson Park Creative Centre and currently works with Mural Routes, supporting community-engaged art projects.
Branko Gasperlin is a Canadian Armed Forces veteran who previously ran in 2019 as a federal NDP candidate for the Etobicoke—Lakeshore. He placed third out of six candidates. As part of his campaign for Ward 3 TDSB trustee, he wants to ensure students are informed about their college and university options, address maintenance backlogs and eliminate standardized testing.
David Kalbfleisch is a professional accountant with over 30 years of experience working for a logistics company in areas like operations management, auditing, accounting, and customer service. He previously ran for Ward 3 trustee in the 2018 municipal election, having placed eighth out of ten candidates. A parent to two children, including a child who has special needs, David wants to work towards more funding for education assistants, resources to improve student mental health, including extracurricular activities, and balance the budget to avoid cuts to programs and the reduction of teachers. He says he also wants to work with the provincial government to address school repairs by selling surplus school properties.
Patrick Nunziata - Incumbent
Patrick Nunziata is the incumbent trustee for Ward 3, holding office since 2018. He has a background in fine art, holding a BFA from Western University. He is also the owner of an art-to-wear apparel line. Nunziata mentions he is the son of former MP, John Nunziata, and the nephew of Ward 11 city councillor, Frances Nunziata. He supports greater partnership with Toronto Police and the TDSB to increase school safety and community building, and programs that inspire both creativity, critical thinking, and adaptability. Nunziata wants to see a curriculum that includes adequate student mental health support and sexual education. He also commits to advocating for school repairs and maintenance, as well as for expansion of Ontario Youth Apprenticeship and Specialist High Skills Major programs and specialised arts programs.
Ireneusz Sadkowski is a Street Outreach Counsellor/ Housing Worker for the City of Toronto’s Shelter, Support and Housing Division. Prior to this role, he was an Ontario Works caseworker with the City of Toronto Employment and Social Service, and a sports instructor for children and youth with Toronto Parks and Recreation. A longtime resident of Ward 3, Sadkowski’s priorities include improving access to services including mental health support and outlets for physical health for students. He is also an advocate for skilled trades learning and hands-on learning opportunities.
Jo-Ann Davis is a former TCDSB Trustee for Ward 9, holding the office from 2010 to 2018. During her term, she was elected Chair and Vice Chair of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. She currently serves on several boards including Young People’s Theatre, Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy and Space Place Canada. She also served as the Chair of her son’s elementary school, the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School’s Parent Council. In May 2019, as Chair, she coordinated a delegation of parents and students to advocate for funding for playground revitalization at a TCDSB Board of Trustees meeting. In June 2019, one month after the delegation, the Board approved an annual $1.2 million Playground Reserve (later doubled to $2.4 million annually) for playground revitalization projects across the district.
Davis is a senior associate at the consulting firm of Leman Group where she specializes in major strategic changes for clients Including mergers and acquisitions. Holding a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in Chinese politics and law, Davis is the former president of the Toronto branch of the Canadian International Council, an independent, non-partisan organization that engages local citizens in Canadian global affairs. She placed second in the 2018 provincial elections as a Liberal Candidate for University-Rosedale.
Teresa Lubinski is the incumbent trustee for Ward 4, holding office since 2018. According to her trustee bio, her accomplishments include securing funding for daycare expansion and the creation of new school buildings; she also says she initiated raising the Every Child Matters flag across all schools in the TCDSB. In 2019, she recused herself from a vote to sanction trustee Michael del Grande for equating LGBTQ rights to bestiality and other inappropriate terms during a trustee debate. She also voted against flying the pride flag and the inclusion of inclusive gender terms in the TCDSB Code of Conduct. While there is limited information on Lubinski’s website regarding her campaign for the upcoming election, she emphasizes her commitment to “protecting Catholic education” and points to her work as a trustee.
Barbara Poplawski was a Toronto Catholic School Board trustee from 1978-2018 for Ward 10. During her tenure, she served in a variety of positions including chair of the TCDSB and sat on the board of directors of the Angel Foundation for Learning. Poplawski recently received the 2022 OCSTA Trustee Award of Merit from the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association. In 2010, according to the Toronto Star, Poplawski testified in Ontario Superior Court in a conflict-of-interest dispute against her which argued that in 2008, she removed herself from a vote on teacher layoffs (her daughter is a teacher) and then allegedly made a thumbs-down gesture from the sidelines of the vote. She denied making any gestures, saying she could not recall and would not have tried to influence the vote. On her campaign website, she notes her work spearheading the first “joint-use facility” initiative between TCDSB and the City of Toronto in 1997, resulting in a double gym and community facility at Holy Family Elementary School.
Geneviève Oger - Incumbent
Geneviève Oger is the incumbent trustee for Conseil scolaire Viamonde Ward 4 – Ouest. She was elected in 2018 and has won the election by acclamation for the coming term, given she is running unopposed. Oger is the acting Senior Policy & Issues Advisor to the Deputy Minister’s Office at the Ontario Ministry of Francophone Affairs. She was the former media spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, and was formerly a journalist. She is also vice chair of the Conseil Scolaire Viamonde – Ouest board and sits on the board of directors for Association des Conseils Scolaires des écoles publiques de l’Ontario. As part of her 2018 campaign, Oger said she prioritizes inclusivity in schools, providing support for multicultural, multilingual families to pass on their language and culture to the next generation, and ensuring the engagement and consultation of parents in decision-making.
Nathalie Dufour Séguin - Incumbent
Nathalie Dufour Séguin is the incumbent trustee for MonAvenir Ward 3 – Toronto Ouest and has been re-elected by acclamation for the 2022 term as she is running unopposed. She was first elected trustee by ballot vote in 2006 and received acclamation in 2010. In 2014, she decided to step down to pursue other projects and was re-elected by ballot vote in 2018. Outside of the TCDSB, Dufour Séguin is an Education Community Relationship Manager for Groupe Média TFO, a media company that generates educational and cultural content for the Ontario Francophone community. She is also a former board member and former president of Toronto Francophone Women’s Shelter La Maison d’hébergement francophone de Toronto.
Dufour Séguin is on the MonAvenir School Council, having originally joined in 2006 when she became trustee (when the school was named Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud). After serving as vice president for two years, she was elected president in 2012, a role she held until 2014. In 2013, under Dufour Séguin’s leadership, the school council launched a discrimination action against the province as a means of forcing the Ministry of Education to replace one of their Hamilton-based schools with a new, larger building for the expanded student population. An issue Dufour Séguin said people have been advocating for since the 1990’s, the council invoked charter rights by arguing the Francophone school was not being resourced adequately and therefore access to education was not equal to those in Anglophone 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Last updated: October 14, 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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