By Jill Langlois
Rob Bezanson, a candidate for city councillor in Toronto’s Nov. 13 election, said that he has always worked to help the little guy and that he encourages students to become actively involved in politics.
“I’ve had a passion for the underdog my whole life,” said Bezanson. “Students will be the future of politics…Councilors should go out and not only talk to, but listen to what students have to say.”
Bezanson, who is running in Ryerson’s ward 27, previously ran for mayor of his hometown of Halifax, N.S. He has worked as an entrepreneur, a firefighter, a paramedic, and most recently as a lawyer with his own paralegal practice.
Living in Toronto for nine years now, Bezanson said that his experience working with different communities will make him an excellent representative of Toronto Centre-Rosedale.
“My work has been quite extensive in the community,” he said. “I’ve been involved in helping youth on the street and I’ve worked to help fight bad landlords and change rent laws.”
Bezanson also said that he feels individuals have been ignored in the past, and he would like to bring them back to the forefront of municipal government.
“Municipal politics is about the people,” he said. “The individual has been forgotten…I keep myself grounded by staying on the ground with everyone else.”
An issue that Bezanson referred to as his “baby” is the creation of a city lottery. It would be similar to the provincial government’s Lotto 6/49, and profits would go towards services such as recreation centres to help keep youth off the streets.
“The centres would not only give youth a place to go, but they would also do things like teach them living skills,” he said. “I want kids to learn to appreciate themselves instead of feeling like the rejects that our society sometimes makes them feel like. This is the biggest answer to one of the biggest problems in the recreation sector.”
Public transit is another matter that Bezanson said city councillors need to improve.
“Raising fares will not increase ridership,” he said. “We need to reduce the costs. Students shouldn’t have to pay [to ride the TTC] to get to school.”
Ruben Avelar, who works on Bezanson’s campaign in media design, said that Bezanson has changed his mind about politicians.
“I was never into politics before,” said Avelar, “But Rob is a real people person. He is very passionate about working with the people…It’s been a real experience (working with him)”