Denzil Minnan-Wong, one of Toronto’s longest-serving councillors, announced Wednesday that he will not be seeking re-election in the 2022 municipal election.
“While a difficult decision in many ways, I believe it is time for me to move on with the next stage of my life,” he said in a statement.
He was first elected in 1994.
Minnan-Wong represents Ward 16, Don Valley East, previously Ward 34. He is regarded as a conservative and has been a staunch ally of Mayor John Tory. He is also a deputy mayor.
Minnan-Wong has run in eight elections in 28 years, maintaining a platform of keeping taxes down.
“This concept was important then. It is important now,” he wrote in his statement, released Wednesday.
He cited establishing the position of City Auditor General, contracting out garbage collection west of Yonge St., and saving the Gardiner Expressway as among his most significant accomplishments.
“I have tried to represent the homeowner and tenant alike. In this regard, I remain a proud and unapologetic defender of property owners’ rights. The next Council needs to listen and show a greater sensitivity toward property owners and their communities,” he wrote.
“Going forward, I hope Council will focus on some areas I see as particular concerns and pay close attention to key emerging issues. We need to invest more in our roads. Our parks need more attention. Graffiti is out of hand. Rooming houses and transitional housing projects should not be allowed into residential neighbourhoods without proper, thorough, and authentic consultation.”
Minnan-Wong was an ally of the late mayor Rob Ford, until Ford admitted to having smoked crack cocaine. Minnan-Wong then said Ford had lost the “moral authority” to govern. Minnan-Wong was a member of both Ford’s and Tory’s powerful executive committee.
Minnan-Wong, a lawyer, ran for the PC party in the riding in 2018, narrowly losing to incumbent Liberal Michael Coteau.
Former city councillor Jon Burnside, who represented part of the ward when it was Ward 26, Don Valley West, said it’s too early to say whether he’ll throw his hat into the ring as a result.
“This announcement has taken me off guard, but I did love being a councillor, so we’ll have to see,” said Burnside, who served one term before Doug Ford slashed the size of Toronto’s city government. Burnside is currently employed by the city. If he does seek to run, he will have to be approved for unpaid leave.
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