With the announcement that Rocco Rossi has withdrawn from the Toronto mayoral race, that makes 5 out of the 8 candidates “chosen” by mainstream media who have abandoned their goal to be the leader of our city, if you include Adam Giambrone’s short run, and John Tory who was only ever running in some conservative reporters’ wet dreams. We voters have heard some interesting ideas from all of the candidates, including floating casinos and underground freeways. It’s an exciting part of election season to hear all of the visions for our city.
Unfortunately for us, our media outlets have done a fantastic job of filtering out many of the candidates running for the top job. Some of their ideas manage to make their way into the news anyway, via the “top” candidates adopting them into their campaigns. This week, Eye Weekly published a writeup on some candidates we should be paying attention to in this campaign.
One of those candidates is Himy Syed, who readers know I’ve been following since the start of his campaign back in the spring. He has campaigned on a consistent message of sustainability, mobility and identity for all Torontonians. While that sounds like the prepackaged sound bite of an empty campaign, when you dig into Syed’s Vision 2020 campaign platform, you see the work of someone who knows and loves the city, and who has done his homework on the issues. Vision 2020 is well thought out, well researched, and achievable in our Toronto.
Unlike some of the media-picked candidates, Syed is no newcomer to city politics. An Islamic banking consultant and independent photojournalist, Syed was unsuccessful in a run for deputy mayor Joe Pantalone’s city council seat in 2006. He attended meetings of the now outgoing council anyway, arguably with a better attendance record than many sitting councillors. He has been shut out of mayoral debates – CP24 went so far as to refuse him entry to the building – but he attends anyway, answering the questions posed to the other candidates to his Twitter account. Sarah Thomson even called her comprehensive cycling plan Bike City, different from Syed’s previously announced complete streets plan by only a space between the words.
Whether or not you would change your vote at this point in the campaign, Syed’s Vision 2020 is a crucial read for all progressive voters. We’re going to have to put our city back together after four years of Ford or Smitherman, and Himy Syed and his vision aren’t going away.
Apologies to Queen.