The Toronto-Danforth by-election to replace Jack Layton happens on March 19. Here, Torontoist aims to tell you who’s running, and why.
The federal by-election for Toronto-Danforth is drawing closer, and NDP candidate Craig Scott is busily canvassing. He is hoping to follow in some famous footsteps.
Jack Layton won Toronto-Danforth with 60 per cent of the vote in the last federal election. “I hear a lot of stories from people about how they met Jack. It’s humbling to know someone had that much charisma,” Scott says.
Layton’s widow, Olivia Chow, and his son, Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina), have expressed their support for Scott. Expectations for him are high, and he leads in early polling.
Scott is a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and a human rights activist. It was because of a sense of duty that he decided to seek the NDP nomination, which he won in January. “The country is going to have a hard time surviving the Conservatives,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll be able to recognize ourselves if they win again. We need to produce an alternative in 2015 for Canadians.”
Scott has resided in Riverdale, a neighbourhood within Toronto-Danforth, for over 20 years. He insists he understands the riding’s major issues.
“The environment is taken very seriously here,” he said. “The MPP Peter Tabuns has a solid environmental background, and there are many local activists like Justin Duncan of Ecojustice. There are initiatives like The Ravina Project on Ravina Crescent. There needs to be a transition to a blue-green economy, and that means more blue-collar jobs. The Port Lands, for instance, how will they develop in a sustainable and also vibrant way?”
Aside from the environment, the growing youth population in Toronto-Danforth is a priority for Scott.
“More and more young families are moving in, and I want to engage them, make sure they see themselves as part of the future. Housing conditions in some areas need to be improved, and tenants’ rights need to be protected. This should be coordinated across all levels of government,” he said.
After he’s through worrying about his own election, Scott will turn his thoughts to the NDP leadership race. He’s still torn over which candidate to support.
“I haven’t decided who I want the next NDP leader to be,” he said. “There are a number of qualified people.”