About the Ward
With a population of 108,470, Davenport is a diverse and bustling neighbourhood in which 68 percent of residents identify as a visible minority and 41 percent are landed immigrants. The Ward includes the neighbourhoods of Fairbank, Oakwood-Vaughan, St. Clair Gardens, Corso Italia, Dovercourt Village, Bloordale Village, Bloorcourt Village, Brockton Village, the Junction Triangle, and parts of Rua Acores. The median age of residents is 36.7 years old and the average household income is $80,807, both below the city average. The outgoing councillor, Ana Bailão, has served on city council since 2010.
Where the Candidates Stand
With no incumbent in Davenport, the race is wide open. Alejandra Bravo is perhaps the most high-profile candidate: she ran for MP in Davenport in the 2021 federal election under the NDP slate, placing second with 19,695 votes—just 165 fewer than incumbent Liberal MP Julie Dzerowicz. Bravo also ran in the 2003, 2006, and 2014 municipal elections, coming in second to incumbent councillor Cesar Palacio each time. Her opponents are, however, an experienced bunch, with many active in a number of social causes and businesses in the neighbourhood.
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.
Six candidates responded to The Local’s survey.
Here Are the Takeaways
- Though a progressive candidate, Bravo did not respond to whether she would support a two percent property tax increase, police budget cuts to support rent supplements, or personal vehicle taxes. She said in her comments that, “My answers ‘prefer to answer’ do not mean I don’t agree with the sentiment. They are related to implementation issues.” She also does not support toilets for encampments.
- Shaker Jamal, a community advocate and Steelworkers union representative, was the only respondent in favour of all tax increases.
- The candidates most closely aligned with John Tory are Grant Gonzales, Steven Leca, and Allie Spencer.
- There were only two issues that every single candidate agreed on across the board: banning above rent guideline increases in Housing Now units, and considering a stormwater charge.
Read Our Election Stories:
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City Council Candidates
Alejandra Bravo is a community organizer and the director of leadership and training at Broadbent Institute, an organization that advocates for ideas and policies that will “help create a secure, sustainable future.” She is also the founding director of Power Lab, an organization which enables community organizers to “realize a shared vision of an economy” by giving them resources to research, experiment, and network. Bravo was formerly a manager of leadership and learning at the Maytree Foundation, a non-profit committed to strengthening civic engagement and finding systemic solutions to poverty. She ran for the MP position for the Davenport riding in the 2021 federal elections under the NDP slate, placing second with 19,695 votes—165 less than incumbent Liberal MP, Julie Dzerowicz, which led Bravo to ask for a recount. Bravo also ran in the 2003, 2006, and 2014 municipal elections, coming in second to incumbent councillor, Cesar Palacio, each time. Her platform prioritizes affordable housing, which she will accomplish by investing in repairs, building more affordable housing through inclusionary zoning, and supporting non-profit housing development models. Her platform also includes fighting for climate change by funding the ClimateTO plan, improving community support by fighting for more child care subsidies, expanding non-profit and public municipal child care spaces, ensuring that trained crisis workers, social workers, and other unarmed personnel are the first responders to crisis calls, and defending public services from budget cuts. Bravo also wants to improve transportation by fighting for lower fares, building better biking infrastructure, and creating traffic-calming solutions.
Simon Fogel is a long-time resident of Junction Triangle with a background in geographic analysis. Fogel previously worked as a geographer at the city’s Cycling & Pedestrian Projects unit. Fogel ran as an independent MPP during the 2022 provincial elections and came in tenth with 78 votes. As part of his platform, Fogel has stated that the government should have less oversight over developments in the city, so the free market can supply the housing needs, and allow more low-rise multiplex development. Fogel believes that the city should venture into commercial real estate and collect rent from retail and service shops built at subway stations so residents can pay less property tax. Fogel also wants to increase buses and bus drivers in the city and decrease waiting times, allow fare integration with GO Transit, the UP, and transit systems in the GTA. Fogel opposes COVID lockdowns, has expressed anti-vax sentiments, stating that if elected he would “reroute all funding for COVID vaccines to municipal food banks stocked with fresh meat and vegetables.” Fogel has also stated that unhoused people, if given housing without any conditions, would likely destroy it due to their “serious psychological problems.” Fogel allegedly demanded to be platformed at a Pizza with Politicians event hosted by the Stop Community Food Centre in Davenport, and went on an anti-vax rant when allowed to speak, though he denies the allegations. In tweets made the week before the election, Fogel said that “flu shots are a ridiculous concept,” and separately suggested that it “isn’t farfetched” to assume processed foods contain unknown ingredients like human remains.
Grant Gonzales is currently the manager of government relations at the Ontario Retirement Communities Association, an organization that advocates for a strong retirement sector. Prior to this, he worked at Metrolinx and Council Public Affairs. He has also worked as a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries, AirBnB, labour unions, and professional associations like the Ontario Library Association and Chiropractic Association, among others. Gonzales has been the co-chair of Pride Toronto since 2020. He is also the 2021 DiverseCity Fellow at CivicAction, an organization that works to boost civic engagement, and has served as president of the Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre. In 2021, Gonzales co-founded the Filipino Canadian Political Association, a non-profit organization that encourages more Filipino-Canadians to engage in politics. During his campaign, Gonzales stated his plans to build more housing and transit—especially affordable housing—and has expressed support for worker unions. He has been endorsed by Mayor John Tory.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Shaker Jamal is a community advocate who has worked as a union representative for the United Steelworkers since 2015. Jamal moved to Davenport in 2013 after earning his master’s degree at The London School of Economics and has previously worked as a project coordinator at Public Health Ontario and as an urban fellow with the city. In 2017, Jamal co-founded BetterTO, an organization that hosted quarterly salons to discuss issues within the city. Jamal’s platform prioritizes affordable housing, improving transit, ensuring community safety, and enhancing green spaces. During his campaign, Jamal has opposed the city’s evictions of park encampments as well as the province’s decision to bestow strong powers on the mayor. He has stated that he will make public washrooms more accessible, expand cycling infrastructure, and push for increased funding for TransformTO.
Stephen Leca describes himself as a lifelong Davenport resident as well as a realtor; he currently works with Keller Williams Co-Elevation Realty. Leca’s platform prioritizes affordable housing by creating a first-time homebuyer initiative as well as expanding Davenport’s arts and culture offerings, investing in senior care, supporting local businesses, adding community improvements like increased parkland, and establishing “community policing” by partnering police with “community members, local businesses, faith-based organizations, nonprofit groups, and other government agencies” to keep the community safe.
Jacob Maydanksy graduated from Toronto Metropolitan University in 2017 with a BA in International Economics and Finance and is currently working in the film industry. Maydansky’s platform prioritizes housing, which he plans to solve by arguing for equal zoning across the whole city. He also seeks to advocate for renters, home owners and builders to find common ground, and tackle low and middle income housing challenges. He references helping seniors, people on disability and fixed income with rising cost of living. Maydansky also wants to expand the TTC service to better accommodate passengers, work with small business to stimulate local economic growth and holding politicians accountable, especially for wasteful spending.
Lazare Shorter is a community organizer who worked at Hyatt Regency, where he was a night auditor and elected shop steward. In an email to The Local, Shorter says that the continued challenges faced by the hotel sector during the pandemic led him to help create the Digital Quarantine Working Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing a community-led testing platform. He is currently co-chair of the group, and wrote that he is running, in part, to solve the testing problem for organizations who need to plan in “high-risk congregate settings”. He also told The Local that his platform prioritizes laneway revitalization and improvements in the ward. He proposes the implementation of better and more efficient COVID testing of guests in the hotel sector by training hotel employees to administer tests and share data with public health authorities using QR codes, thus taking the burden off healthcare workers, and additionally says that the QR code testing strip system can be used as “a platform for non-medical professionals across our city to offer testing services.” Shorter has a background in political science and has previously worked as an English language instructor at China Pharmaceutical University and as a research consultant at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine.
Allie Spencer is a communications and PR professional who has held media relations positions at various government organizations. Spencer most recently worked as the executive assistant to former MPP Jane McKenna during McKenna’s tenure as the Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. She was previously the MPP liason for MPP Todd Smith while he served as Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, and a stragetic communications specialist at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario before that. Spencer volunteers for several non-profits, such as Fight4Freedom, which advocates for individuals exploited by human trafficking. As part of her platform, Spencer wants taxpayers to see their money reflected in improved infrastructure, social services, roads and transit systems. She also wants to support small businesses, and address increased homelessness, alcoholism and drug use in the city, as well as have places of worship to be included in the development of the city
School Trustee Candidates
On his website, Aaron Anderson writes he is a former student and educator at TDSB who is currently working as an off-ice official at Hockey Canada. If elected, Aaron shares that he would bring his experience as an elected director of his condominium board to the role of trustee. He supports flexible school choice and is interested in replacing ageing school facilities, increasing accountability, and collaborating with all levels of government to strengthen the education system.
Alexis Dawson is an anti-racism trainer, equity and inclusion consultant, and public education advocate. She was appointed as interim trustee for Ward 9 in 2018. Dawson is the Governance Commission Chair for the Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators, Co-Chair of the TDSB’s Black Student Achievement Community Advisory Committee, and Co-Chair of the Rawlinson Community School. She was the 2019 recipient of the City of Toronto’s Access, Equity and Human Rights William P. Hubbard Race Relations Award for her work on equity in education. She commits to developing policies and practices that promote equitable access and wellbeing, foster academic success, and that factor in the community’s voice and needs. Dawson has also been endorsed by the Toronto & York Region Labour Council.
Antonio DeMichele is a registered realtor in Ontario who describes having over 28 years of experience as a sales representative for Royal Lepage Elite Realty. As part of his campaign platform, DeMichele prioritizes equality for all students. He wants to improve the quality of life of all families in the Davenport community, including by increasing the safety of students getting to school and by addressing learning challenges and opportunities in an inclusive manner.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
In his Twitter bio, Geoff Miracula describes himself as a stay-at-home father of three. Two of Miracula’s children go to TDSB schools, and he is currently the treasurer of the parent council for The Grove Community School, a public alternative school focused on social justice, community engagement and environmental education. Geoff has also described himself as a feminist when interviewed by CBC in 2017 regarding families who divert from the patriarchal naming customs.
While there is limited information online about Mychael Pacheco’s professional background, a Portugese newspaper described Pacheco’s priorities include hiring more teachers, making classrooms smaller, and making school zones safer.
While there is limited information online about her professional background, Voula Stevens previously ran for Ward 8 TDSB trustee in 2018, placing sixth out of seventh candidates.
Atul Tiwari is the head of sales and national sales model optimization at Tata Consultancy Services. Tiwari says he would bring his 25 years of experience in leadership and facilitating projects to his role of trustee if elected. He is interested in making sure students have the tools and technology they need to succeed, and helping children realise their potential. As an example of this commitment, Tiwari points to his role in helping over 10,000 students consider a future in STEM fields by launching the TDSB goIT program with Tata Consultancy Services.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
On his LinkedIn, Michael Champagne writes he is a Business Analyst at a Toronto-based bank, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from University of Regina. Information about Champagne’s campaign could not be found at the time of publication.
Frank D'Amico - Incumbent
Frank D’Amico has been the TCDSB Trustee for Ward 6 since his election in 2010. D’Amico has served as vice-chair of the TCDSB and on the board of directors of the Angel Foundation for Learning. He is a Canadian Forces soldier and according to his social media, has served for over two decades. D’Amico has been endorsed by the Toronto & York Region Labour Council.
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 email@example.com. Last updated: October 11, 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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