Diversity at Toronto's City Hall

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Lord Palmerston
Diversity at Toronto's City Hall


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Lord Palmerston

It seems Toronto’s motto, “Diversity Our Strength,” doesn’t much apply to council. Why? Bias is clearly a factor. After a crushing third-place finish, in Ward 26, Mohamed Dhanani was left wondering if some strategists were right when they warned him that a non-white candidate simply couldn’t win in Don Valley West.

But the there are also structural hurdles barring visible minorities from entry into the city’s political system. For example, incumbent councillors are extremely difficult to unseat. Furthermore, having a network of trusted insiders is a huge benefit. It’s no coincidence that at least four of the 14 newly elected councillors had a spouse, parent or other close family member already in political office.

Finally, the absence of a party system in municipal politics is a barrier. At the provincial and federal levels, parties play a major role in recruiting and supporting visible minority candidates.


11% is pretty pathetic.

Lord Palmerston

Apologies for an unlabelled Toronto-centric thread.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Thread title changed.

Great topic, Lord P.


However, this article also mentions that there were a number of Muslim candidates who split the vote in Ward 26. Aspersions were cast on whether Dhanani, an Ismaili Muslim, was a 'real' Muslim. Vote-splitting, whether among progressives, Muslims, or Martians (or progressive Muslim Martians) makes sure things possible, and possible things unlikely. Looking at the results, it's clear that had all the other challengers dropped out and their votes went to Dhanani, he would have romped home:

Abdul Ingar, who finished in third place in 2006 behind Dhanani, believes the loss is rooted in vote splitting within the Muslim community. Four other Muslim candidates with roots in Thorncliffe Park joined the race in the summer.

"I wish the community would learn that running four and five candidates - it's not healthy. It's not viable," said Ingar, vice-president of the Dar Al Salam mosque. .. , you have to be reasonable. and you have to rise above the cultural baggage of the past."

"When you have a qualified candidate, why don't they rally behind him? If you believe it's time for Toronto City Hall to reflect the diversity of the city, then you have to think of the wider community," he said.

Those strategists Dhanani talked to were talking hogwash. It's tough that false words sound like truth to Dhanani.