Toronto Candidate For Mayor Takes Several Swipes at John Tory

Toronto’s Mayor candidate, Jennifer Keesmaat has promised to build one hundred thousand housing units in ten years. She says the houses would be houses that people can truly afford. This statement is suspected to be a swipe at Toronto mayor John Tory, as her promises beats Tory’s promises to deliver forty thousand new housing units in twelve years.

“By taking these steps, we will provide safe, stable, high-quality homes to over 200,000 Torontonians,” she said. “This election is about the kind of city we want … for ourselves, but also for future generations.” Sha says, as reported on

According to the report, Keesmaat also anticipates the funds from the Liberal government’s $40-billion, 10-year national housing strategy should be used to build new, purpose-built rental units and ensure rents stay affordable for longer than 25 to 30 years.

Tory has since responded, “I’m determined to do everything we can to build more affordable housing in Toronto and we need to do it much faster,” he said in a news release “I’m proud of the progress we have made this term approving and building affordable housing, and we’re just getting started.”

In an interview, Keesmaat had said a significant difference between her plan and Tory’s is that she intends to unlock massive strips of city land, including Green P parking lots and TTC lands, and not just limit herself to properties that have been declared surplus. She also plans to create more affordable units at 80 per cent of average market rent, whereas Open Door uses the current city standard of 100 per cent of average market rent or better, and proposes to keep the units affordable in perpetuity.

“The city has very slowly been releasing lands that it identifies as surplus in a really inefficient way, one property at a time, and my plan is about recognizing that there is Green P lots that are in use, there’s other city-owned lands that have one-storey buildings on them, whether that be a TTC station or some other kind of use and that we can use this land in a dramatic, in a significant way to be creating purpose-built rental housing that families can afford,” she said.

Keesmaat has always remained outspoken against Tory’s government, more recently, she tweeted, “Has your commute gotten shorter in the past 4 years under John Tory? He squandered $1.4 billion of your tax dollars on so-called "SmartTrack" to help get him elected in the last election. It's time for real, data-driven action on transit, not more empty promises.”

Keesmat has regularly been criticized as being too outspoken for a bureaucrat. In the past, there have been questions about how she still finds the time to be a public servant being that she spends so much time speaking and on social media. The Toronto Sun once reported “what really upset many councillors was the amount of time she (Keesmat) spent outside of the office attending conferences, speaking engagements and doing TEDxToronto talks and You Tube videos. There were repeated questions about how she had time to do so, how her work as a planner was getting done, and whether it was a conflict to be paid for some of these engagements over and above her $246,000 salary in 2016?”


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