2 min

So sorry, Babs

Miller kissed by city lefties

KEPT THE VILLAGE. Councillor Kyle Rae, celebrating with spouse Mark Reid, easily took Ward 27 with 66.26 percent of the vote. At his Woody's victory party, Rae made jokes encouraging people to make a mess - second-place candidate Enza "Supermodel" Anderson cleans at the bar. Credit: RJ Martin

The new mayor of Toronto had better watch out – a certain supermodel and perennial political candidate is looking for him. When David Miller, the queer-friendly Harvard-educated lawyer, swept his way to a compelling victory as Toronto’s new mayor Monday night, Enza “Supermodel” Anderson promised to give him a trademark smooch.

Anderson, who also ran for mayor in 2000, came in second in her bid to defeat Ward 27 incumbent Councillor Kyle Rae. She says she didn’t want to run against Barbara Hall because she was “afraid of splitting the vote,” but is pleased with Miller’s win.

“Guess who is going to be kissed on New Year’s Day,” Anderson laughs.

Michael Demone, a young gay political science student running in his first election, came in fourth in the same race, with 1,211 votes; he was merely hoping to break the 1,000 vote mark.

“For me to have participated in the process is just such an achievement and I really wish that more people have an opportunity to do it,” Demone says.

Miller, who served three terms as councillor for Parkdale-High Park, won a close but decisive victory over his nearest rival, former Rogers Cable executive John Tory. Miller secured almost 44 percent of the overall vote to Tory’s 38 percent. Hall, a former mayor and the original frontrunner, took 9.2 percent of the overall vote. Hall, who has had a long-time relationship with the lesbian and gay community, saw supporters including Rae flee for the Miller camp at the final hour.

“It’s a very significant victory, there is no question about it,” says professor David Rayside, who teaches political science and sexual diversity studies at the University Of Toronto. “Miller is a significantly progressive voice, and that would include issues around sexual orientation.”

Miller promises to put City Hall back into the hands of the people.

“We must reject the barriers that divide us and we will. Together we will open up the front doors of City Hall for the people of Toronto.”

This is good news for all diverse communities, says Rachna Contractor, coordinator of the Toronto Civic Action Network.

“Miller definitely recognizes that distinct communities exist in and contribute to this city. He will work to eliminate discrimination and improve access to services for everyone.”

Kristyn Wong-Tam, businesswoman and community activist, agrees that Miller can represent a diverse city including the queer community. “I definitely think that David Miller being mayor is good for Church St. It’s good for the lesbian and gay community.”

Rayside says council is still split between progressives and conservatives, but says there were some gains. He points to the success of Adam Giambrone in Ward 18, who had many queers on his campaign team. President of the federal NDP and a relative youngster at 26, Giambrone ran and lost against former councillor Mario Silva in the 2000 election. Three years of solid campaigning, and Silva’s switch to federal politics allowed Giambrone to win handily over competitor Ana Bailao, Silva’s former special assistant.

Other left and centre-left newcomers include Sylvia Watson, Janet Davis, Shelley Carroll, Michael Thompson, Gay Cowbourne, Glenn De Baeremaeker and Paula Fletcher, who defeated lesbian favourite Chris Phibbs in Ward 30.

“There were a lot of people in the community who would have liked to see Phibbs elected,” says Rayside. “That’s very unfortunate, but at least Paula Fletcher is a progressive voice.”

A trio of queer candidates were victorious at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), including acclaimed trustee for Toronto-Centre Rosedale Sheila Ward, Trinity-Spadina candidate Chris Bolton, and Fletcher’s running mate in Toronto-Danforth, Rick Telfer.

“We’ll form the queer caucus on the TDSB,” Telfer jokes. “I’ve met Sheila and Chris and I’m pleased that politically we’re going to be on the same page and I know that we’ll work well together.”