Ex-councillor David Soknacki registers to run for Toronto mayor
Published Monday, January 6, 2014 11:24AM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 6, 2014 2:12PM EST
Former Toronto city councillor David Soknacki is seeking to re-enter the political arena, filing his nomination papers Monday for the city’s top job.
Vowing to improve accountability and openness at City Hall, Soknacki seemed to challenge incumbent Mayor Rob Ford directly, saying “I know we can do better as a city.”
“I want this job; I want this job with all my heart,” Soknacki told reporters, soon after filing his nomination and paying the $200 fee.
“Toronto needs a mayor willing to provide complete attention, presence and accountability.”
While Soknacki said he would reveal a detailed platform as the campaign progresses, he pledged Monday to “focus on openness” by posting campaign donations and lobbyist meetings online in real-time. He also said he’d make the mayor’s schedule fully public.
Soknacki first entered municipal politics in 1994, serving as a Scarborough city councillor. He was elected to Toronto’s amalgamated council in 1999 and stayed on to 2006, when he said he was retiring from politics to focus on his own spice-importing business. During that time, he served as David Miller’s first budget chief.
Toronto Councillor Paul Ainslie endorsed Soknacki’s bid, saying he thought the fiscal conservative would bring a lot of “stability” to the job.
“He can work with people right across the political spectrum,” Ainslie said. “David takes advice really well and I think those are all qualities we need in a mayor.”
With Soknacki's registration, there are 18 people currently on the mayoral ballot, though the former councillor is the most high-profile challenger to Ford to date.
Other names that have been touted as possible candidates include NDP MP Olivia Chow, former Ontario Progressive-Conservative leader John Tory, and Councillors Karen Stintz and Denzil Minnan-Wong.
Though Chow hasn’t yet confirmed her intent to run, speculation surrounding her possible bid has been rampant -- as have the poll numbers suggesting she’d take the race if she put her name on the ballot.
Meanwhile, it seems there’s one job Chow clearly won’t be considering: Ontario’s Lieutenant-Governor.
The MP for Trinity-Spadina denied a media report Monday that Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered her the post, tweeting: “It seems the rumour mill is in full force this morning. Let me be crystal clear, the reports of an LG offer are completely false.”
Ford, himself, was the first person to place his name the ballot on Jan. 2, telling reporters he’d keep his campaign slogan simple: Ford More Years.
The Mayor has said he expects the other candidates to attack him for the so-called crack scandal that plagued him for the better part of 2013. But he said he’s prepared.
"If they want to get personal, go after my record, that's fine,” Ford said last Thursday, as he submitted his paperwork. “Get personal. I know that's going to happen, I'm ready for it.”
The deadline for candidates to register for the race is Sept. 12, with municipal elections taking place on Oct. 27.
Mayoral candidate David Soknacki speaks to reporters after registering for the 2014 municipal election at city hall on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014.