By AMARACHI AMADIKE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
With candidate registration for the Scarborough Southwest councillor byelection officially closed as of 2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 16, Ward 20 residents now have a clearer picture of what the election race will look like leading up to election day on Nov. 30.
A total of 23 candidates have registered to run for the Toronto Council seat that has been vacant since July 26 due to then Scarborough Southwest Councillor Gary Crawford’s resignation.
The former Budget Chief for the City of Toronto, Crawford opted to step down from his councillor position, which he had held for since 2010, in order to make an unsuccessful bid to become the new Scarborough-Guildwood MPP. Crawford ran for the Progressive Conservatives in the provincial byelection on July 27 and finished second to Liberal Andrea Hazell.
Among the candidates now seeking the Scarborough Southwest council seat are 2022 municipal election runners up Kevin Rupasinghe, who finished third; and Parthi Kandavel, who placed second after relinquishing his position as the ward’s school trustee to pursue the Toronto Council seat.
Kandavel served Scarborough Southwest as the Toronto District School Board Trustee between 2014 and 2022. He was succeeded by Malika Ghous who will now also be running for the Scarborough Southwest council seat in the Nov. 30 byelection.
Another candidate in the race is Suman Roy, the Founder and Executive Director of Feed Scarborough. Roy was appointed as a citizen member of Toronto’s Board of Health but he is now on leave due to his participation in the upcoming byelection.
Other candidates registered to run for the Scarborough Southwest council seat are Malik Ahmad; Corey David; Thomas Hall; Peter Handjis; Jessica Hines; Marzia Hoque; Almagir Hussain; Anthony Internicola; Syed Jaffery; Naser Kaid; Walayat Khan; Angus Mackenzie; MD Abdullah Al Mamun; Sudip Shome; Anna Sidiropoulos; Sandeep Srivastava; Trevor Sutton; Reginald Tull; and Manny Zanders.
Handjis, Srivastava and Zanders all registered to run on Oct. 16.
Scarborough United Neighbourhoods (SUN), a non-partisan public policy group of local residents will be hosting various forums before November’s byelection date with aims to educate local voters on the candidates.
SUN representative Ron Parkinson told Beach Metro Community News that on Oct 17, the organization plans on sending out invitations to candidates who provided their contact information to the City of Toronto upon byelection registration.
The first opportunity to learn about candidates will be a “Candidates Marketplace”. This style of event serves to create an up close and personal environment in which candidates give brief introductions of themselves and answer a few questions directed to them before then breaking off to their own tables to chat with residents directly.
The event, which still has an undecided timeslot, is expected to take place at the Birchmount Community Centre, 93 Birchmount Rd., on Nov. 4.
On Nov. 9, residents will have another opportunity to interact with candidates at the same location, Birchmount Community Centre, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. This event, according to Parkinson, is a forum which operates slightly differently than the marketplace with candidates this time answering panel questions as well as residents’ questions from participants on the floor.
Also, on Nov. 23, SUN will host a forum at the Oakridge Community Recreation Centre, 63 Pharmacy Ave., from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information about the events, please contact SUN at email@example.com
— Amarachi Amadike is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro Community News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.