The upcoming municipal election poses a great challenge in our area and around the City. The Provincial government changed the number of council seats from 47 to 25 only midway through the election. The courts stated that this infringes on our Charter of Rights and Freedoms but the province threatened the use of a notwithstanding clause to overrule this decision and the Court of Appeal granted a stay to the 25 ward model. So it looks like our area will have two sitting Councillors face off for the seat. For me, it is a simple choice. There is such deep contrast between the hard work and compassion of Anthony Perruzza and the divisiveness and malice of Giorgio Mammoliti. I have seen first-hand the work Anthony has done for others in the area and I have so much respect for what he does in our community.
When I was an undergraduate student I called my Councillor’s office not knowing much about Anthony Perruzza and said I wanted to volunteer. I did not how deeply that call would affect future years of my life. I joined a group of committed activists working in his office and all I had to do to enter the halls of power at City Hall was demonstrate that I wanted to make a positive change in my community. As a young person, having attended local schools, I wanted to give back to my community.
It was Anthony Perruzza who provided me with the space and the support to run a mentoring program at CW Jefferys that helped dozens of students that year. The same way he helped me do something positive I saw him quietly working with countless groups, organizations and individuals to help build our neighbourhood.
This is a diverse community where over a hundred languages are spoken and where 9 in 10 people are either not born in Canada or their parents were immigrants, me included. I have seen the work Anthony has done with many communities to build our neighbourhood a piece at a time, one park at a time, one street at a time.
There is the reason why Anthony Perruzza is one of the most popular City of Toronto Councillors, with 71% of the vote in the last election and why with every election his popularity has increased. There are literally thousands of young people out there that have been affected directly by his work. From park clean ups with hundreds of participants from our schools, to holiday toy giveaways, to bicycles given to youth every year, to scholarships at York University, to having him attend almost all graduations in the area every year, I have seen him do things that other Councillors simply do not do.
This area is my home. I want representation that is compassionate and truly rooted in community. Now as I complete my graduate studies at OISE, I understand the meaning of moving beyond the politics of representation when working for change. Our leaders need to be bold, hold true to their values and represent their community with care. Anthony Perruzza has proven himself time and time again. For me, the choice is clear. For a progressive, inclusive community I know whom I will be supporting.
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