Ward 16 is not just what has helped prepare Councillor Karen Stintz in her bid to become Toronto’s next mayor. In her eyes, Eglinton-Lawrence is also the example of what she wants Toronto to be.
“It is a mix of downtown neighbourhoods and more suburban neighbourhoods, so I have it all in one — I live in the suburban-urban divide and it’s still one community,” she said in a Nov. 4 interview.
The mayor of Toronto should be the mayor for the whole city, she added.
“That’s the message I would like to take across the city: that we’re not divided by the downtown and the suburbs, that we are actually building one city, together,” Stintz said. “And Ward 16 represents that.”
On Oct. 27 Stintz announced that she plans to run for mayor in 2014, a race in which she will likely be a frontrunner, facing off against embattled mayor Rob Ford. She declined to comment on the well-documented personal controversies that have dogged the current mayor.
Stintz said she’ll miss being the local rep, but the 43-year-old married mother of two believes the timing is right.
“I think that being a councillor for the area that I’ve represented for the last 11 years has been a wonderful experience and has prepared me well for the challenges facing our city,” she said. It will be hard to leave constituents, she said, but “hopefully I’ll continue to represent them in a different capacity.”
“After 11 years, I’m ready to do something different,” Stintz said. “This is my time to run for mayor.”
Stintz, who went on to become TTC chair in the Ford administration, had been expected to enter the mayoralty race in 2010, but ultimately elected not to run. She says a combination of “experience, time and building a team of people who are committed to the same thing I am” has put her in a stronger position this time.
“I have a stronger team, I have more experience, I have a better relationship with council and I know the city in a better way and have the support of the community,” she said. “For where the city’s at in terms of its opportunities, I see a contribution I can make as mayor.”
Though an official platform will not be revealed until the campaign gets under way in January, Stintz did hint that transit will be a priority.
“Getting the city moving is key, so continuing to implement the transit plan, working on congestion, making it easier to get around the city (will be focal points),” she said.
Development, a constant in her time as a local councillor, is also expected to be a prominent issue.
“It’s a pressure that we’re feeling in the city and we need to manage it,” she said. “I think there’s no question we need to have better policies in our Official Plan to protect neighbourhoods from over-intensification.”
Transit and development have been major municipal issues the last few years, causing rifts in City Hall during heated debates and votes. But cohesion on council is something Stintz says she can deliver.
“You build consensus around ideas that people can believe in,” she said. “But building a consensus doesn’t mean that everybody’s happy, so I would still expect that we would have debates at council.
“All sides would have a chance to give input into the decision, council makes a decision, and then we move forward.”
Before it gets to that point, there is a campaign to deal with — one that Ford has promised to be a “bloodbath”.
But Stintz isn’t concerned with what personal attacks may come. In fact, she takes inspiration from Margaret Thatcher, the UK’s first female prime minister, who said “I think if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”
“And that’s been my experience with Mayor Ford over the last three years,” she said. “When he attacks me it’s not on my policy position. It’s personally.”
Stintz already has the support of one major group: her family.
“I’m very lucky. I have my husband and kids, my father lives with us as well, so everybody’s on deck. My mother-in-law too; she’s ready to help out wherever she’s needed.”
Stintz then candidly laughed at the idea of canvassing becoming a family outing.
“Yeah, exactly,” she said. “Stintz Nation.”
About this article: