Four candidates: two slamming incumbent

There are four candidates for Ward 26 councillor in the municipal election in October: the incumbent, one candidate who lost to the incumbent in the last election and is slamming him, a new municipal candidate who is also slamming him, and a newcomer who used to work for him.

John Parker is running for a third term.

Jon Burnside was a close second in the last election. In filing as a candidate he said, “Our ward deserves better. We need a champion for our communities, someone who will listen to us and work with us, not against us. We need better results for our community.”

David Sparrow, a new candidate, said at his fundraising affair at the Leaside arena, “For too long… we’ve watched a councillor who stands on all sides of an issue and then celebrates with the winners. We instead need to have an advocate who will stand with the community.”

Ishrath Velshi was Parker’s executive assistant before leaving to do the same work for North York Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong. She also worked for two former cabinet ministers at Queen’s Park.

Her father is Murad Velshi, a former MPP for Don Mills riding.

Burnside was a Toronto policeman for 10 years from1991 and then went into business and community service.

In 2001 he launched Healthy Heart Meals delivered to homes across Ontario. He now owns three other companies.

He is also a member of the Flemingdon Neighbourhood Service Board and Ontario Government Trillium Grant Review Team, convenor of Leaside Girls’ Softball, founder of the Flemingdon Park House League Hockey Program and recipient of both the Kathleen Wynne Community Service Award and the Toronto Police Community Service Award.

Last year Sparrow, an unsuccessful candidate for the New Democratic Party in the 2008 federal election in Don Valley West, was elected president last year of ACTRA Toronto, the largest local of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists.

He has appeared in over 80 film and television roles including Star Trek: Voyager and Shall We Dance and worked with stars like Julie Andrews and Richard Gere.

On stage, he has performed in productions from coast to coast and as a writer has written films, TV pilots, sketch comedy, a children’s book, a play and short stories.

Before winning his first municipal election in Don Valley West in 2006 Parker had been an MPP from 1995 to 1999. His provincial riding was abolished during a reduction of the number of seats and he had to face another MPP in the new Eglinton-Lawrence riding. He lost to Mike Colle.

He is a founding board member of the Bessborough Child Care Centre and has coached community baseball, soccer and hockey teams. He served on the board of the Leaside Hockey Rink and chaired the East York Committee of Adjustment.

In 2001, he helped found the Ontario Association of Former Parliamentarians and serves on the board of the Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy.

What would you like us to ask the four candidates? We’ll pick the best questions and ask them for the next issue. Email us your questions!