Jordan Stone is running for city council because of Rob Ford — but not for the reasons you might assume.
“[It’s] not in a vindictive way or anything,” he explains. Stone saw Ford on television calling for fresh faces on city council and thought to himself, why shouldn’t he run?
But since then, his aggressive education on civic issues has made him want to be Ward 27’s councillor even more. Despite the challenge of running against an incumbent, especially one as visible as Kristyn Wong-Tam, he believes that he can provide an authentic voice in the race.
“You have to live it to talk about it,” Stone says. His campaign has emphasized that he lives in the ward, while some candidates, and the incumbent, do not — a point driven home by his slogan: “Jordan Stone is just like you.”
Though his campaign is small — he has a minimal budget and a few volunteers — Stone remains confident that his knowledge of the community will help him get at least a few votes. At the coffeeshop he and Xtra meet at — his official campaign headquarters — people constantly stop to say hello and wish him good luck.
“I see what’s going on,” he says. “I talk to people, and there are some really serious problems here.”
One of his primary issues is increasing the bike lane network in Toronto, a cause near and dear to his heart. His brother collided with an open car door while cycling on Davenport Road six months ago; he is now recovering from a traumatic injury. “His helmet was cracked,” he says.
Stone, also a cyclist, points out that many cyclists are injured in Toronto every year, which is why he wants to improve the city’s cycling infrastructure.
He is passionate about advocating for the homeless and those struggling with mental illness. In order to better address these needs, he thinks that a facility with housing, work programs and rehabilitation services should be built outside the downtown core — a perspective he recognizes is extreme but hopes will do more to help people than the current shelter system.
As a member of the LGBT community, Stone believes that many of his ideas are in keeping with the progressive politics that have been embraced by LGBT people, sometimes before the rest of society. “The GBLT community should be the one standing up first,” he says.