2015 Hero: Gord Perks
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2015 Hero: Gord Perks

Nominated for: providing the principled opposition that makes city hall a better place.

Torontoist is reflecting on 2015 by naming our Heroes and Villains—the people, places, things, and ideas that have had the most positive and negative impacts on the city over the past 12 months. Cast your ballot until midnight on January 7. At noon on January 8, we’ll reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.

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Of Toronto’s councillors, @norm gets the most Twitter hype, but he doesn’t have the best account. After all, @norm’s Twitter brand is weak jokes and pop culture references where the novelty factor derives from the fact that he is a 74-year-old man making these jokes, rather than doing the usual 74-year-old-man thing of having dignity.

Who, then, has the best Twitter account? The answer is obvious: Gord Perks (Ward 14, Parkdale-High Park) has the best City Council Twitter feed, and really, nobody else on council comes close. Most city councillors tweet non-controversial political statements (“Let’s all contribute to toy drives!” “Support local businesses!“), recap of events they were invited to or provide links to city websites to point out that the links exist. Actual content—moral statements, discussion of policy proposals and their potential impact on how Toronto exists, et cetera—is nearly non-existent. Except, of course, on Perks’ Twitter account.

There, he drafts lengthy multiple-tweet essays about the current state of city policy. (He does this quite regularly.) He interacts as much as possible with people who want to discuss these things.

Of course, engaging the public on policy issues is good, but what separates Perks is that he consistently elevates the discourse in the process.

He has emerged as John Tory’s chief antagonist on budget and transit issues, and rightly points out that Tory’s budget strategy neglects low-income Torontonians or that we aren’t spending money to meet poverty needs as certain politicians promised to do or that the SmartTrack file is incredibly behind schedule and doesn’t appear to be workable. Someone has to say these things, and Perks is saying them loudly, repeatedly, and articulately, and that matters.

In any case, if Giorgio Mammoliti fantasizes about attacking you, you’re probably doing something right. So keep on Perkin’, Gord.