Brad Bradford elected Ward 19 City Councillor in a nail-biting finish

Published on Tuesday, 23rd Oct, 2018 at 6:06pm

Newly-elected Ward 19 City Councillor Brad Bradford.


Newly-elected Ward 19 City Councillor Brad Bradford.

In a down-to-the-wire finish to the Ward 19 City Council race, city planner Brad Bradford narrowly defeated Matthew Kellway by 288 votes of the 37,048 ballots cast - a margin of less than 1%.

Between them, Bradford and Kellway captured over 76% of the popular vote in Ward 19, largely shutting out a crowded field of 14 other candidates. Bradford and Kellway so effectively split the vote that their nearest rival, Josh Makuch, received just 6% of the vote.

It’s likely that Bradford received a big boost from his endorsement by Mayor John Tory, who resoundingly defeated rival candidate Jennifer Keesmaat by over 300,000 votes in the Toronto mayoral race. Tory won over 63% of the popular vote, compared to Keesmaat’s roughly 23%. Tory and Keesmaat together captured over 87% of the popular vote, with runner-up Faith Goldy receiving just 3.4% of the vote in what turned out to be a polarizing campaign. Fringe mayoral candidate James Sears, well known to Beachers as editor of the reviled Your Ward News, finished a distant 29th, with less than a tenth of a percent of the popular vote.

Apart from his endorsement by Tory, Bradford was also officially backed by former Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon and former Beaches-East York MPP Arthur Potts. In addition to the high-powered endorsements, Bradford also ran an effective and well organized grassroots campaign that saw him knock on "over 40,000 doors" in the ward.

Bradford’s main opponent, former Beaches-East York NDP MP Matthew Kellway, had been endorsed by the Toronto Star, former Toronto Mayor David Miller, and current MPP Rima Berns-McGown (NDP), along with a number other high-profile NDP candidates & supporters. Kellway had hoped to translate his name-recognition and widespread NDP support in Beaches-East York into a win, but in the end fell short by the narrowest of margins.

During the campaign Bradford committed to a five-point plan for revitalizing the ailing local retail economy, pushed for the the downtown transit relief line and improved local TTC service (including removal of the premium fare on the 143 Beach/Downtown Express), and promised inclusive zoning and increased investment in Toronto Community Housing, non-profit housing, and co-ops. Bradford also supports the City’s Child Care Growth Strategy (which would see the child care system serve 50% of Toronto's children from 0-4 years, and reduce fees by up to 40%), but believes that the ten-year timeline is too long, saying "families can’t wait until 2026 for more spaces and lower fees". Bradford also said he would work to make Toronto a leader in reducing plastic waste by banning single-use plastic straws, plastic bags, and reducing the use of non-recyclable containers by 50%. He would also like to increase tree canopy coverage by up to 14% city-wide, and increase the amount of parkland in Beaches-East York.

Apart from the challenges of a new, smaller City Council and rocky relations with the province, Bradford and the new Council will have an uphill battle in figuring out how to fund these programs. The City of Toronto’s Capital Budget already has over $22 Billion in unfunded capital projects, a situation so dire that City finance staff have taken to adding the image of an iceberg to budget presentations to drive home the point. Given the narrowness of the Ward 19 contest and some other City Council races around the city, it remains unclear just how easy a task the new Council will have.

In another close race, Michelle Aarts was elected Toronto District School Board Ward 16 (City Ward 19) Trustee, narrowly edging runner-up Phil Pothen by 1251 votes, a margin less than 6%. Between them, Aarts and Pothen captured over 75% of the vote, with Brandy Huff trailing third at 16.5%, or 4679 votes. Angela Kennedy captured the Toronto Catholic District School Board Trustee seat, as did Chloë Robert and Anne Godbout at the Conseil scolaire Viamonde and Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir French-language Boards respectively.

Compete 2018 Ward 19 election results are available on the City of Toronto website.