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Former police chief Mark Saunders to run for mayor

Retired Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders is shown during an interview with The Canadian Press in Toronto on Monday, July 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn Retired Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders is shown during an interview with The Canadian Press in Toronto on Monday, July 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
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Former police chief Mark Saunders will enter the race to become Toronto’s next mayor, a spokesperson for his campaign confirmed Monday night.

Saunders served as Toronto’s police chief from 2015 until his resignation in the summer of 2020.

In the fall of 2020, he was named to the Ford government’s COVID-19 vaccine task force, which was responsible for ensuring that vaccines could be quickly distributed and administered across the province.

He ran under the Progressive Conservative banner in June‘s provincial election but was defeated by Liberal Stephanie Bowman by about 1,800 votes.

At the time, he said that his political career was “over” and that whatever “itch” he had to put his name on a ballot had been “itched out.”

However, Saunders name quickly surfaced as a potential candidate following the abrupt resignation of John Tory last month.

Last week, a spokesperson said that Saunders was spending time “talking to communities across Toronto” and was “strongly considering” a run.

“More and more he’s hearing that community safety is the top issue right across the city right now. He’s concerned,” the spokesperson said.

Saunders will join CP24 Breakfast tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. to discuss his decision to run and his upcoming campaign.

He joins a crowded field that already includes former deputy mayor Ana Bailão, former city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti and urbanist Gil Penalosa, who finished a distant second to John Tory in October’s election.

A number of others have also said that they are considering runs, including Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter and current city councillors Brad Bradford, Josh Matlow and Stephen Holyday.

In October's municipal election, 31 people registered to run for mayor, though there has been speculation that an open race could result in even more candidates. 

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