News
3 min

Xtra sits down with the ward’s 4 queer candidates

ENZA ANDERSON

Best known as: Enza Supermodel

Background: Anderson ran as a mayoral candidate in 2000 and to lead the Canadian Alliance in 2002. She was a columnist at Metro, and was the grand marshal of the Toronto Pride parade in 2008.

The most pressing issue facing gays in Ward 27: recognition from city hall, HIV programming, trans rights.

On the G20: “We had poor leadership at the top. We had a mayor who was poorly informed by the chief of police and who simply didn’t inform people of what to expect. We didn’t see any councillor at the detention centre — or our own city councillor — ensuring that those who were lesbian, gay, bi or trans were treated humanely, and with human rights. We had no leadership.”

Neighbourhood development: “The way development is being handled at city hall is that they’re not informing the community. Before anything gets designed, before anything gets laid out, people need to be consulted.”

Wackiest moment: Wants to ban Giorgio Mammoliti from running for city council.

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KEN CHAN

Best known as: former adviser to George Smitherman.

Background: Chan moved from Vancouver to Toronto in 1999 as an immigration officer. He became a police officer in Peel region. In 1993, he joined the Ontario Liberals as a policy advisor to Smitherman. He’s since worked as an advisor to conservative London mayor Boris Johnson, returning to Canada in April to run in this election.

The most pressing issue facing gays in Ward 27: gay and trans seniors, HIV programming.

On the G20: “It’s going to be helpful, in terms of restoring confidence in police services, the decision of the Office of the Independent Police Review Directorate, to conduct an independent review, to look at things such as forcible confinement, unlawful arrest and the situation at the detention centre.”

Neighbourhood development: “I would like to see more patio spaces here. I think our alcohol laws are archaic. We should challenge the province to look at our liquor licence laws.”

Wackiest moment: Refuses to say whether Queers Against Israeli Apartheid should be ousted from the Pride parade.

More at votekenchan.ca

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SUSAN GAPKA

Best known as: a passionate advocate for trans rights.

Background: After transitioning 10 years ago, Gapka became a tireless advocate for the inclusion of gender identity in human rights legislation and making Ontario’s health system friendlier to trans people. She’s been an NDP party organizer and she ran against Kyle Rae in Ward 27 in 2006.

The most pressing issue facing gays in Ward 27: leadership, poverty, safety, trans rights.

On the G20: “We have to agree that we never want something like this to happen again, the Pussy Palace raids, the bathhouse raids. We need to create an environment where we work together to say, ‘Never again’ in Ward 27, in Toronto and in Canada.”

Neighbourhood development: “I live right across from The Barn. I live in an area where there is a lot of night activity. You know what our biggest complaint is over there, other than the big tower going up at Yonge and Gerrard — the noise, at 2am on a weeknight, coming out of The Barn. People want to have fun, but it’s 2am and it’s a residential neighbourhood, too.”

Wackiest moment: Gapka can get quite agitated at public meetings, sometimes leading to spontaneous, enthusiastic outbursts.

More at susangapka.org

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KRISTYN WONG-TAM

Best known as: a founder of the Church-Wellesley BIA.

Background: Wong-Tam is a long-time gay rights activist, first founding a lesbian youth group then becoming a board member at the 519 Church Street Community Centre and an advisor to the Triangle Program. She also has a canny sense for business, as a long-time real estate agent and owner of several retail outlets.

The most pressing issue facing gays in Ward 27: trans inclusion, queer seniors, youth and education, ensuring rights are enforced.

On the G20: “First, I would march with the protesters if it was a cause I believed in. It was such a failure of policing intelligence. Then the kettling that took place on Sunday — I was in absolute disbelief, because the rain that came down that day, it was big welts of rain. It was cold; it was wet. To have children and seniors and elders with dogs and families with groceries caught — the police watched them just be drenched for hours. I just don’t understand.”

Neighbourhood development: “With respect to whether small businesses should be allowed to open bars and lounges, absolutely. It might not be a very popular decision with some of the local residents, but I don’t believe in stopping entrepreneurs. They have to abide by guidelines, and those guidelines already exist.”

Wackiest moment: Wants to make voting mandatory.

More at kristynwongtam.ca

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During our interviews with Ward 27 candidates, we asked “Kyle Rae represented the ward for 19 years. Is that too long?” Watch their responses and thoughts about electoral reform: