Anthony Perruzza: Q & A Interview: 2023 Mayoral By-Election

Photo Courtesy of Anthony Perruzza Campaign

Anthony Perruzza is running for mayor of Toronto in the 2023 by-election. In 1985, Perruzza began his political service as a Trustee for the Metro Toronto Separate School Board. In 1988, Perruzza was elected to North York City council. 

Between 1990 and 1995, Perruzza served as an NDP Member of Parliament for Downsview. He returned to Toronto municipal politics, working as a councillor for York West, from 2006 to 2018. In 2018, he was re-elected in the newly created Ward 7, Humber River – Black Creek. Currently, he sits on the infrastructure and environment committee, the TRCA, and the boards of Exhibition Place and the Hockey Hall of Fame. Perruzza is also a fellow York University alumnus. 

On May 30, candidate Anthony Perruzza participated in a Zoom interview with Excalibur, where he shared his plans for Toronto’s future. 

What are the biggest issues facing Torontonians in 2023?

Perruzza: Affordability, and under the umbrella of affordability is obviously housing, as a big one. Just generally, the cost of being able to live in the city, it’s making it very difficult for people.

Students deal with a variety of challenges, ranging from financial constraints, mental health issues, safety concerns, to commuting difficulties. What policies do you plan to implement that would help students live in the city? 

Perruzza: Well, I have an affordable housing plan that is affordable. In fact, it’s modeled on the housing that is currently provided at the QUAD to university students. The university leased lands to a housing provider, and they, in turn, developed a type of housing, without any kind of government or university support for that matter. I believe that the university just gave the housing provider, the builder, some lease exemptions for a few years, early in the lease. But beyond that, they didn’t receive any other support. Yet, they were able to provide housing, which I believe now at the top end rents for about $1,200 a month to students. 

So imagine the city doing something similar on its lands, but then being able to include land costs, being able to waive fees, [and] being able to provide some tax exemptions. We would be able to provide a similar type of housing, which is conducive to certainly students, but would be conducive for shelters, for transitional housing, and for senior’s housing. We could build that type of housing tomorrow and bring it to market for well under $1,000 a month, which is very affordable given today’s prices. It’s also, quite frankly, housing that could be easily adapted to accommodate families and so on.

Toronto boasts numerous colleges and universities. The TTC plays a crucial role as many students rely on public transit. As a mayoral candidate, how do you intend to manage the TTC?

Perruzza: The city needs to reorient how we look at it and how we treat it. It shouldn’t be treated as a business per-se, but rather as a service, given that the TTC is at the center of the economic life [in] Toronto. We need to approach it from that perspective. In that, it needs to be a service. So, a service that is efficient, safe, reliable, [and] affordable. I would freeze the TTC fares, not increase them, with a view to slowly take them back and lower fares, expanding service, making it more reliable, making it safer, and at the same time, lowering fares so that it becomes more affordable and used at a much greater frequency.

How does your background and experience prepare you for the responsibilities of being the mayor of Canada’s largest city?

Perruzza: These leadership positions are always difficult. I’ve been in the room with four mayors now — when they’ve [made] good decisions, when they’ve made bad decisions, when they’ve made good deals, and when they’ve made bad deals. I believe that I have the experience to be able to make good decisions going forward. In large part, at the center of your decision, you’re always weighing whether that’s a decision that’s going to make life easier for people or, conversely, make it harder.

If you side on making it easier for people, more often than not, you get it right. That’s the way forward for the City of Toronto.

Advanced voting runs from June 8-13, with the election date on June 26. Voters can find more information on the City of Toronto website.

About the Author

By David Clarke

Former Editor

David is in his fourth year, studying English at York University. He has a keen interest in filmmaking, writing, literature, video-editing, and ideas. When he isn’t working on his next project or studying, you can catch him watching film-noirs on Turner Classic Movies.


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