By Fareen Qureishi
Ward 27 Councillor Kyle Rae is the incumbent, going for his sixth term. How long is that? He was councillor when Ryerson first became a university.
Ryerson students, staff and faculty should take pride in their councillor.
Kyle Rae, gay rights activist and inclumbent Ward 27 candidate. has represented this city for 15 years, and is looking for at least another three.
First elected in 1991, Rae has won five elections on the strength of his accessibility, achivements and ties with Toronto’s gay community.
“I think I’m doing something right,” he says.
Raised in Oakville, Rae went on to study at Brock University and then to England’s University of Birmingham to get his masters in Medieval History.
After returning to Canada Rae worked at the University of Toronto library for five years, before becoming the programs director for the 519 Church Street Community Centre, (located in the heart of Church and Wellesley) that gave him the experience to kick-start his political career.
Rae’s district includes Rosedale, Summerhill, Yorkville, Cabbagetown, the Church and Wellesley area and Ryerson.
“The diversity in the ward is amazing,” said Rae.
“I have residential neighbourhoods and then I’ve got the Eaton Centre.” Rae’s record of achievements is a long one. Since he’s been elected, he has built five acres of parks and open space within the city. As a member of the budget committee, he’s added $72 million to the parks budget.
As chair of the Toronto Drug Strategy, Rae wants to enlist the help of the provincial and federal governments to help create a comprehensive strategy to deal with drug use in the city.
Rae is also the chair for the sub-committee on AIDS for Toronto. He believes the city should take a leadership role as a municipality in regards to the current situation in Africa.
“We have the knowledge and the experience to deal with AIDS and HIV prevention. We can’t wait for the federal or provincial governments,” he said.
Rae has many goals for another term, His main objective is solving Toronto’s budget deficit. He attributes the deficit to the imbalance between municipal and provincial tax rates and funding obligations in programs such as transit, social housing and community services.
“I’ve been having to take money out of city programs to fund provincial programs, and that’s not right,” Rae said.
Rae wants to make it clear that changes in Ryerson have been on his list of many accomplishments.
“I’ve been a part of building your campus. I’ve worked on the Student Centre, the Engineering Building and the new business building. All of those had to go through city council for approval and I have assisted Ryerson whenever I can,” Rae said, adding he’d also like to see Gould Street closed. The campus, he said, is a crucial part of Toronto’s identity.
“Ryerson is the heart of the city.”