Kristyn Wong-Tam leaves Toronto City Council to seek Provincial NDP nomination
Ward 13 Councillor has announced she will be leaving her position on Toronto City Council to run as a candidate for NDP MPP in the upcoming June provincial election. She released the following statement on April 8, 2022.
To the residents of Ward 13 – Toronto Centre, it is with much gratitude and love that I announce that I will not be seeking re-election for City Council in October. Furthermore, after a great deal of consideration and conversations with my family and close friends, I have decided to put my name forward to seek the NDP nomination to become the next Member of Provincial Parliament for Toronto Centre.
I have informed the City Clerk of my intention and my resignation from City Council will take effect May 4, 2022. The amazing Ward 13 team will continue to work at full speed to support residents as well as the interim Councillor and ensure a smooth transition after the next municipal election. In my professional life, I have worked with many talented people and without a doubt, the Ward 13 team is unmatched as one of the most hardworking and remarkable group of individuals to ever walk into City Hall.
To the Mayor, Members of City Council and the Toronto Public Service, working alongside you has been a life-transforming experience and even more so during a global health pandemic. I am grateful for the ongoing collaboration and enduring friendships. Thank you for all your dedication to building a better city together. I will continue to support the local and city-wide projects we started together and I remain committed to seeing their successful completion, hopefully in my new role as an MPP.
My love for Toronto Centre and our neighbourhoods runs deep. It is my home. When my family immigrated to Canada in 1975, our first apartment was in Regent Park and it was there I learned to speak English at Sprucecourt Public School. As a queer teen, I found community and support in the Church Wellesley Village. As a university student, I was an overnight worker in a women’s shelter run by the Catholic Church near Allan Gardens and later in my 30s, I opened a successful business on Church Street. I am raising my family in Toronto Centre and for almost 12 years, I have had the tremendous privilege of representing our communities at City Hall.
I was able to build my life in this community because of a robust network of social services, affordable housing and a lot of hard work. I entered politics because, despite my individual success, I kept seeing the hardworking members of my community fall through the cracks of a system that didn’t see or value them. I wanted to help create a city that believed inclusion means more than just telling people they are welcome here. I want our city to say we built this with you in mind. We built this for you regardless of your socioeconomic status or postal code.
I am very proud to have delivered economic development opportunities for residents with small business tax reform and to have championed equity responsive budgeting. As we work as a nation towards reconciliation, it was an honour to assist in the creation of the Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the world’s largest incubator and accelerator for Indigenous entrepreneurs right here in Toronto Centre.
With your steadfast support, we have accomplished so much together. From launching Toronto’s first-ever community-based mental health crisis response service, to being the only ward with full coverage of dedicated neighbourhood community officers, to investing in the new and expanded Casey House, to the redevelopment of iconic Massey Hall, to revitalizing College Park and Regent Park, to investing in YongeTOmorrow for a full redesign of Toronto’s main street, to saving the historic Foundry buildings, to creating iconic Indigenous placemaking in parklands such Dr. Lillian McGregor Park, to delivering climate positive streetscaping like the Bay Street bioswale, and to the premier art festivals such as the Toronto Biennial of Art.
But I know we have even more to do to create healthier, stronger neighbourhoods by investing in the people who make our communities great.
Despite all that we have accomplished, we are seeing more and more people fall behind. Toronto’s housing crisis continues to grow, and we are not creating nearly enough affordable housing. We are seeing record numbers of people dying of overdoses and alone.
Through the creation and implementation of the landmark Downtown East Action Plan, it has been made even more evident we have deep structural deficiencies that require solutions that Toronto cannot deliver on its own. System change and legislative reform desperately need to happen at the provincial level. We need to reintroduce rent control on all rental units and introduce commercial rent control to support small businesses and our main streets. We must tackle the homelessness and housing crises with investments in supportive housing, mental health services and addiction recovery beds, and we need a provincial government that works with the best interests of communities and municipalities in mind.
These are the issues that will be at the centre of my upcoming campaign in the provincial election. We need a government committed to uplifting residents of Toronto Centre and the great people of Ontario. We need change and I’m determined to help bring it.
Serving you as your City Councillor in Toronto Centre for almost 12 years has been the greatest honour of my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the trust you have placed in me. I never take it for granted and I have always believed that I must work hard to earn it every day.
Thank you for your continued guidance and enduring friendship.
You will be hearing much more from me very soon.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.