Where is Torontonians' appetite for municipal elections?

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Where is the appetite of Torontonians for municipal elections?

Indifference seems widespread among Torontonians as many observers believe John Tory is heading for victory.

Torontoans can vote in advance from October 7 to 14 instead of on municipal election day, October 24.

Two weeks before the municipal election, Toronto voters clearly have little appetite for the current election campaign. At least, that's how candidates on the field are feeling as they bid for a seat at City Hall.

Hello, I'm ;call Gil, I want to be the next mayor! Gil Penalosa calls out to passers-by in The Junction neighborhood in Toronto. The town planner is trying to unseat John Tory and some media have named him the incumbent mayor's closest rival.

It is a pity that there is not more interest in the municipal elections. However, they are crucial, thinks Gil Penalosa without being discouraged by the forecasts. He believes that a reform of the electoral system could convince more voters to take an interest in municipal elections. However, in a controversial decision, Doug Ford prevented cities in the province from adopting preferential voting.

Gil Penalosa focuses his program on the division of rental housing and on public real estate developments.

The fact remains that Gil Penalosa is worried about the lack of interest from voters as the October 24 election approaches, especially since the trend is heavy. In 2018, voter turnout was just 41%, down from the 54% of registered Torontonians who had exercised their right to vote four years earlier.

The results were hardly more glorious when Doug Ford won last June. Turnout was just over 43%, the lowest ever in a provincial ballot in Ontario.

Political scientist Peter Graefe doesn't expect not that the trend will be reversed this time.

Everything indicates that outgoing mayor John Tory is heading for victory. His opponents are struggling to establish themselves as credible alternatives.

John Tory brig a third term as head of Toronto City Council.

According to Mr. Graefe, the dominance of John Tory does not make voters curious. When there's what appears to be a coronation going on, it's normal for there to be repercussions. The election campaign is much less [covered] in the media, so people follow it much less, says this professor at McMaster University.

“There doesn't seem to be a lot [reasons] to get people out. I think part of the reason is that this mayoral race might be a bit boring.

— Peter Graefe, political scientist at McMaster University

Yet with the new powers the next mayors of Toronto and Ottawa will inherit, the choice is key this year, says Peter Graefe.

According to him, the absence of political formations at the municipal level does not encourage voter participation either. Mayoral races sometimes take the form of personality contests rather than debates of ideas. Mobilizing voters is more difficult than at the provincial or federal level: There are fewer partisan machines canvassing and contacting people, Graefe reminds.

“I haven't seen an application where there was an organization that could really deal with Mr. Tory.

— Peter Graefe, political scientist at McMaster University

At Alejandra Bravo's headquarters, volunteers prepare for the next door-to-door blitz. This candidate in the Davenport neighborhood is working hard to convince residents to come out and vote.

Many people don't know that the vote is going to take place on October 24 , is surprised Alejandra Bravo. The signs have been popping up for a few weeks now, but some voters don't realize the ballot is coming.

Alejandra Bravo is running for city councilor in the Davenport ward of Toronto.

Everyone actually thinks there's going to be little voter turnout, and that's a shame. This is not good for democracy at a time when it is in crisis here in Canada.

It is up to us, the candidates, to inspire, and that's what we try to do every day with our volunteers, says Alejandra Bravo.

At the other end of town, in the Beaches-East York neighborhood, entrepreneur Sébastien Auger is also trying to accumulate votes by persuading his neighbors one at a time. So far, his electoral adventure has allowed him to see that cynicism is very present in his city. There's a lot of things like, 'What's in it, what's it going to change?'” he explains.

Sébastien Auger is a neophyte in municipal politics. This is his first participation in an election campaign.

“I hope I can rekindle the interest, being someone myself who has never been interested at all. »

— Sébastien Auger, candidate for city councilor in Beaches-East York

The city councilor is the political figure who is most accessible to the public, launches Sébastien Auger. According to him, Torontonians have every interest in participating in the selection of their elected officials.

Municipal elections in Ontario will take place on October 24.

The Election in Numbers :

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    There are over 1.89 million eligible voters in Toronto.

  • Torontoans will elect a mayor, 25 councilors and 39 trustees across four school boards.

  • A total of 372 candidates were certified by the City Clerk.

  • Citizens have 9 days to vote in person (8 days of advance voting and election day itself).

  • The cost of the organization of the municipal election in Toronto in 2018: 11.9 millions of $.

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