By Sierra Bein and Jackie Hong
Ryerson President Sheldon Levy has been appointed to mayor-elect John Tory’s transition advisory council.
Tory, who was elected to replace outgoing Mayor Rob Ford on Oct. 27, announced his transition team and advisory council the day after he won the municipal election.
Levy will be part of a 20-person council that will help Tory prepare for starting his role as Toronto’s next mayor on Dec. 2.
“I feel honoured to be asked to join and I will do my best to contribute,” Levy said.
He said the council has not yet set a date to meet and that the members had only recently received phone calls asking them to be a part of the team.
John Shields, a Ryerson politics and public administration professor, said the goal of a transition team is to give advice to the incoming mayor about the priorities he should be identifying in office. Tory is known for his work in provincial politics and has unsuccessfully ran for mayor in the past. He has never held a spot on city council.
Shields said he wasn’t surprised that Levy made the team.
“I think he’s been somebody who’s got a visionary kind of outlook and someone [who] I think has creative ideas, or is at least able to place Ryerson at a position that the institution can be helpful,” Shields said. “I think it’s good for John Tory, good for Ryerson and for the city.”
Shield also said that this shows that Ryerson is on the map.
“It’s a really good recognition in terms of the growing importance of Ryerson and its place in terms of providing creative solutions,” he said.
Bryan Evans, another politics and public administration professor at Ryerson, agrees that this could potentially put Ryerson in the spotlight of the city.
“It likely is an indicator that Tory sees the development of Ryerson going into the future as being organically linked to whatever ideas and future plans he may have for the transformation of downtown Toronto,” he said.
Others who are on the council and who will be working alongside Levy include Saad Rafi, CEO of the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games and David Soknacki, former Toronto city councillor and city hall budget chief. Tory is still pushing to get Olivia Chow, one of his opponents in the mayoral elections, on his team.
As for Levy, he said that he has no interest in getting more involved in politics when he leaves Ryerson at the end of this academic year.
“Never, zero, negative,” he said.