Snapshots of candidates running for city council in 2014.
Candidate: Andray Domise (age 33)
Ward: 2 (Etobicoke North), currently represented by Doug Ford, who has indicated he doesn’t plan to run for council again.
Background: Domise grew up in Toronto and graduated from the University of Windsor, where he majored in political science. He works in the insurance industry and taught financial literacy classes at the Toronto District School Board. He also enjoys Sherlock and the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Why are you running for council? “There’s a desperate lack of leadership, not just on council in general, but specifically Etobicoke. It’s really a community effort. We have to step up and demonstrate leadership. And I think what we’ve seen over the past few years is the opposite of that… Etobicoke has gotten better, especially in the Rexdale area, but it has gotten better in spite of, not in due course with, the leadership from Doug Ford and Rob Ford.”
On what he sees as a ward priority: “The Finch LRT is one of the most crucial transit projects in the city; it’s one of the most-travelled routes in Toronto… Improvement to transit would be awesome, but unfortunately, we don’t have anyone in Rexdale that is fighting for improvements in transit. That’s going to be one of the issues that helps with job growth in the area. For people who need to commute to the downtown core, it’s an hour, hour-and-a-half commute. And that’s under good circumstances. Unfortunately, there’s hardly any connectivity between Etobicoke and the downtown core.” Other top issues that Domise cited were youth unemployment, the need for a sustainable vision and funding model for TCHC, and Rexdale’s high poverty rate.
On the Griffin Centre (which recently opened a residential home in Ward 2 for three young people with autism): “If people have faith that the local, provincial, and federal governments are going to stick to their word and provide the amount of support they said they were going to provide, that police are not going to be the frontline caseworkers, I don’t think it would be an issue. But then you have somebody like Doug Ford who will come into this meeting and, instead of showing some leadership, adds fuel to the fire and jumps into this ideological war and says, ‘You are ruining this neighbourhood.’ It doesn’t take any courage or leadership to do something like that. What you’re doing is taking up a torch and pitchfork and marching right along with the mob.
“The fact is, [the kids at the Griffin Centre] didn’t get dropped into the community: they are the community. People with special needs are a simple fact of life. One in five people—who come from different geographic areas, different ethnic backgrounds, different religious backgrounds—are going to be special needs people. That is part of the community. And it’s a leader’s job to demonstrate leadership and have people understand that. And on top of that, stand behind an organization like the Griffin Centre, stand behind not-for-profit organizations—and say they have our full faith and support, and whatever it is this neighbourhood needs to ensure this goes as smooth as possible, we’re there for that. And we haven’t been seeing that…
The way that you respond to a new arrival in the neighbourhood isn’t to react with fear, and anger, and resentment. The way to react is with open arms. You show them what your neighbourhood is like, the best of your community.”