Mayoral Answers and Advance Voting FTW!

I voted today and asked all mayoral candidates what they think of my ideas on direct democracy. I’m posting their answers, and you could try guessing where my vote went. I also added the answers from TDSB candidates for the corresponding Ward 10.

Initially, I started telling you about a new profile I completed, but that's going into a new article.

Without further ado, here are the mayoral candidates answer to the same question (re: citizen involvement and direct democracy) posed to the other candidates; I tried to summarize as best as I could.

  • Jon Pol (xyu381) – interested

    Hi buddy,

    <>  direct democracy

    - Very interested. Let's try it asap after Ovt 23

    in the mean time maybe: [website]

  • Michael Nicula ( – pioneered it but converted to participatory

    I am one of the pioneers of Direct Democracy in Canada.

    Founder of Online Party of Canada, changed to PACT - Party for Accountability, Competency and Transparency.

    The idea of Direct Democracy is imperfect, cannot work in Canada due to lack of voters' civics education and political participation.

    This is my opinion, I converted to Participatory Democracy - a hybrid version that ensures a functional government checked by a limited Direct Democracy, participation threshold being the only criteria to engage.

    That is, elected officials should be allowed to run the government the way they want, unless a relatively large direct democracy action (voter participation over 15%) would overrule certain decisions. 

    Pure Direct Democracy can be destructive.. imagine key issues being decided with 1% voter participation.. that's not right.

  • Gautam Nath (gn4mayor) -  DD better, corporate background, hard to campaign

    I agree entirely that DD is a far better representation of people politics and democracy.

    Candidates promise anything to get voted in and once in office are ghosts to the people.

    I thankfully don’t come from a political background but from a vast corporate one. Here you have KPI’s and you make plans to meet them or you get off the pot. You have a notice period and can be removed if your performance is poor or goes against stakeholder wishes.

    I live that discipline.

    I understand mission and Vision but also immediate, medium and long term goals.

    But I do not have political backing so no deep pockets nor huge volunteer mechanism nor media backing and have been using social media to a great extent with a handful of well wishers.

    My passion for giving back is well proved as received the Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award 2011, Ontario’s Highest recognition for voluntarism, The June Callwood Award 2017, Canada’s Highest recognition for volunteers 2018, The Sovereigns Medal and early 2018, Canada’s Top 50 Diversity Board Professionals.

    Each recognition signifies my passion in giving to the people and the country recognizes that.

    Thanks for reaching out, wish you all the best for the 22nd and wonder if we will cross paths in the future.



  • Dr James Sears (MD & PUA!) / Hector Mulholland ( – philosopher kings, no women
    I asked mayoral candidate Dr. James Sears to respond, and he believes that
    the only way for Direct Democracy to work is to do it the way it was in
    ancient Greek times. Only men would vote. And only those who EARNED the
    right to vote (business owners, philosophers, etc.) Too many stupid men
    and emotional women vote. Direct democracy is great if people EARN these
    types of votes. You can learn more about Dr. Sears at
    He is the only candidate dedicated to expelling the Marxist PARASITE from
    city council.
    Hector Mulholland
    A.E. to Dr. James Sears
  • Thomas O’Neill (torontotom) – digital vote, electoral reform important 

    Thanks for reaching out. Ideally, we will get to a point where a digital medium allows all citizens to vote on all subject. It will take time to get there but I am all for it. In fact I think the idea of electoral reform as a nation, not just a municipality,  is very necessary. At this point it is a little disappointing that our city website or our media isn’t able to create at least a public opinion poll to see how people feel a vote should go. 

    For the time being it is important that councillors are meeting with their constituents and ensuring that the singular vote given represents what the people in your ward actually want.

    Hope that answers your questions.


    Thomas O’Neill

  • Jack Currie (jack.weenen) – I support but people not ready

    Good morning, You have previously stated that you hope for Mrs. Keesmaat to win this election. What has changed your view on this?

    (..) – answered below
    I very much support direct democracy, however it requires greater individual participation in politics. I see this working much better with smaller representation where people feel more important. My platform 4 years ago included the idea to de-amalgamate or a secession from the province, something I am still very keen on. In this situation where the wards could be reassessed and many of the larger areas like Scarborough become independent townships we could have much better representation and I think a lot more willingness from people to participate more actively in direct democracy.|

    As we stand now, I'm not convinced that the majority of people are ready to participate in politics to a point where a direct democracy would be truly democratic(I'm not saying representative is better but it's easy for the voter). Largely because of how people strive for what is convenient even if they do not get the most for themselves and their communities out of it.

    I'm very much interested in political reform for Toronto and I would love to see direct democracy adopted in all levels of government.

  • Jennifer Keesmaat Campaign – will answer later (if I don’t update they haven’t)

    Thank you for reaching out to the Jennifer Keesmaat for Mayor Campaign!

    We are receiving hundreds of emails a day from people like you, who are looking at Jennifer's bold plans for our city. We have a dedicated group of volunteers trying to answer every message we receive in a timely manner.  Please note that it could take up to 48 hours to receive a response. 

    In the mean time, please visit to read more about her policies, sign up to volunteer, or to take a sign.

    Thanks again for reaching out!

  • D!ONNE Renée – y u support keesmaat, keesmaat bad
    Good evening Andrei, I trust that my reply finds you well and enjoying the campaign trail.
    Thank you for your email, although it seems amiss.  You indicate on your website that you support Jennifer Keesmaat so I’m not sure if your email is to mine information for her.  Notwithstanding, my #CommunityWellness #inclusion Mayoral platform says everything.  Please feel free to review my solutions online. Ms. Keesmaat has appropriated many of my solutions and has used airtime to tout my ideas as her own- theft is not a leadership quality.
    Also, where are Ms. Keesmaat’s receipts?
    Platform overview -
    Pronouns: She/Her
  • Brian Graff – improve democracy, ranked ballots, public uninformed, media and planner blackout

    Hello Andrei:

    I have been very active in my community on urban planning issues – so I am fed up with councillors who do not listen and unaccountable planning staff.
    I want to see us have ranked ballots and other things to improve democracy.
    But here is my problem with direct democracy – only a small portion of the public even reads newspapers, and then what is in the newspaper itself is biased or incomplete. Democracy requires an informed public and also that not just a small group of people with an agenda dominate the  process, as we see with lobbyists for bike lanes but most bike lanes are badly designed and not enough people using them.
    so even with this election, for example the media have decided to ignore me and 25-30 of the 35 candidates running for mayor. Not one reporter has called me.
    So I worry that direct democracy will not improve the decisions because most votes will not be representative, not well informed and often the choices themselves will not be fair. I have received a number of questionnaires asking me if I support this policy or that one and usually I cannot answer yes or no because I can think of better solutions.

    I have also seen public consultation meetings where developers mislead the public and the planners say nothing. Then there are environmental assessments where the result is skewed because the people doing the report are hired by the party that will benefit and so the report writers are not going to bite the hand that feeds them.

    I do think non-binding internet polls and other tools should be required so that if a councillor goes against the wishes of citizens they will need to justify it – and then we need rules that will make it easier to defeat incumbents.

    This is probably not what you want to hear but I believe in being authentic and telling the truth.


  • Joseph Osuji – not much

    Hi Andrei,

    1.Thanks for your email.

    2. Enclosed is my election platform [PDF]


  • chaitanya Kalevar (oct 11) – let’s meet, read my flyer

    Thanks for getting in touch with me Andrei Zodian.

    Please have you read my flyer or gone to my website at

    You may find some answers to your questions and yes some new ideas.

    Would like to hear from you.
    Sorry I missed the all candidates meeting at OCAD on Oct 9, I heard about it today Oct 11.

    May be you should consider giving some advice as to which candidates were invited & which were excluded & why?

    let us talk after the election, if you are still interested?

  • Sarah Climenhaga (oct 14) – strong supporter, safeguards

    Hi Andrei,

    Thanks for the thought you have put into your platform and advocating for democratic reform. 

    I'm definitely interested in getting people more engaged in munuicipal decision making between elections. I completely agree with you that people feel left out and disengaged from politics, which can often result not only apathy but also poor public policy.

    I am a strong supporter of participatory budgeting, which allows people to vote on how their tax dollars get spent. 

    I also believe that with an informed population that is fully inclusive, direct democracy would be an improvement on our current system. The key is that people need to be meaningfully involved and safeguards put in place so that the process isn't hijacked by lobbyists and advertising that simplifies complex policy issues into populist rhetoric. 

    Thanks for promoting democratic reform which I believe we truly need.

  • Knia Singh (oct 15) - full support

    Hi Andrei,

    Direct Democracy is probably one of the most important initiatives we should implement immediately.

    We trust voters once every 4 years, but will not trust them on daily issues.

    DD will improve political participation because we will see the effects of public input, thereby strengthening our trust in the political system.

    I support it and hope to see it implemented one day soon. It will take an entire set of new voters that will make it a reality.

    Knia Singh

This was one wild ride! Of all the answers I got, I liked the comments made by Brian Graff, Michael Nicula and Jack Weenen / Currie with whom I would like to continue this conversation.

mayor comments

If you are still undecided in terms of Mayor, you might want to watch the latest mayoral debate of 2018, hosted by Toronto Region Board of Trade and Globe and Mail. I think that John Tory (absent some major development) is likely to get re-elected and that is mostly because Jennifer Keesmaat has failed to sufficiently energize the downtown core and has not engaged the uptown at all. That is a reason, in my view, to give an outsider a chance and vote for neither Tory nor Keesmaat. Personally, I was inclined at times toward Keesmaat (and my VoteCompass results placed me closer to her) but I got disappointed by what seems like a loss of momentum and stunted growth (tst-busntransp).

She had a tremendous advantage over perennial candidates and benefitted from significant media attention. If she really meant to win this election, she would have made a valiant effort to appeal outside the downtown core as well – this is simply the post-amalgamation reality. Yet again, she didn’t.

On Ms Keesmaat’s defence, to appeal to the uptown voter she’d have had to pivot to the centre, and that’s next to impossible, as that is where Nick Kouvalis (whom Shawn Micallef has nearly labeled “Tory’s Rove” – tst-squ) has firmly planted John Tory. Also, it’s not that John Tory would make a bad Mayor (on the contrary, boring is great, in my book), but Keesmaat reflects the views of my neighbours and constituents more so than Tory.

There is no doubt in my mind that either candidate would make a good Mayor with whom I would have a great working relationship.


While we seldom pay attention to trustees, I was very curious what they think.

I asked the TDSB candidates in the TDSB ward corresponding to Ward 10 my question (as quoted by Mr Papadimitriou) as well, and got the following answers.
  • Andre Papadimitriou

    Dear Andrei (great name),

    A response to your questions are below:

    1. I am running on introducing a mix of direct democracy into the City Council, as shown here: . What are your views on this?

    I think the concept is a profound tool that could be applied. I would advocate for more local democratic decision making powers for particular issues that effect communities the most.  My concern would be how informed the public would be, yet that is part of the process of consultation. 

    2. I noticed that Stephanie Donaldson and Joe Cressy are sharing yard signs. Have you considered sharing a yard sign with a candidate for council? Why or why not?

    They are sharing yard signs because Cressy wants her to win (and she very well may win as the councillor's have pets). I am head to head with her as the only viable Trustee. Please see my website:

    Lastly, with only one week left - I would have liked to hear from you sooner! Not sure how practical it is at this point.

    Best, Andre

  • Connor Pierce

    Hi Andrei,

    Thank you for your email. 

    To answer your questions, I do support a more direct democratic model for various reasons including duration of electoral terms, increased regular representation, and more accurate representation on important issues. 

    As for Joe Cressy and Stephanie Donaldson sharing yard signage, I believe they both have their own political interests in mind and are affiliated to special interest groups that place them in the same space, which is why it is logical for them to connect to one another’s platforms. Personally, I believe the TDSB and special interest groups should not be influencing the educational system by endorsing or otherwise supporting candidates who have been working for the TDSB to continue their own agenda. My executive and project management background positions me well to encourage a more accountable and efficient TDSB which is more representative of the needs of concerned parents. 

    I hope this helps answer your questions, and I wish you best of luck in your campaign. 

    Kind regards,

    Connor Pierce

  • Paul Wilson

    Hi Andrei.  Thank you for your email.  To answer your questions:   1 - I am not in support of direct democracy (as you have described in on your website).  And 2 - I would not share a yard sign with a candidate because I would not want to align my campaign with someone else.

    Hope that helps.  Good luck to you for the remainder of the election.

  • Svetoslava Topouzova (Oct 12)

    Hello Andrei,

    I am big fan of the concept for Direct Democracy in the Politic, however I believe that Canada should develop Democracy suitable to this Country.

    When is certainly great to reference other developed political systems as those in Europe, there should be no  Political Franchise with this respect.At least, this is what I believe!

    To answer your second question, I can tell you that I am NOT a supporter of the concept  a City Councillor Candidate to select during the Election Campaign his/her School Board Trustee Candidate of choice due to many reasons and I will share with you a couple of them:

    1)My first impression from this type of approach was that a Pharaon who is already ellected is choosing his/her servant.This is a direct contradiction with what I just said above: I am a supporter of the principals of the direct democracy. 

    2)This aproach creates a false impression to the Public that a Candidate for a City Councilor is already in the position to select a School Board Trustee, when he is NOT.

    3)Candidates like me who are running for TDSB independantly are placed in a disadvantaged position because the above Candidate of choice receives free adverising with Joe, and I do not. I am not a fan to be a teammate of somebody, just to receive free advertising.The most important: I believe in the independant, NOT in the dependant political platforms!

    4) Joe Creasy is building a wall between himself and the other School Board Trustees with an advertising like that.

    5)What about if somebody is a fan of Stephanie, but is NOT a fan of Joe? In this case Joe is affecting negatively the Campaign of Stephanie? Does she want that?

    6) Last, but not least even though I will stop here:

    Let's have a good look at Joe's sign( file attached below):The way I read it is -Joe and the Chinese Community are sitting on the head of Stephanie Donaldson.

    Does Stephanie want that? And does anybody understand what it says in Mandarine or Cantonise, who knows even what language is this? 

    7) Let me add one general comment about the election signs: Text in any other language, other than the official languages of Canada: English or French: forbidden because otherwise all the other voters who do not understand this specific language are placed in the disadvantaged position to not understand the message addressed to them!

    Hope this answers your questions!

    Good luck at the 2018 Municipal Election in Toronto! 

    With best Regards,

  • Tania Principe (Oct 16)

    Hi Andrei,

    thanks for reaching out!

    I hope the campaigning is going well.

    I find the idea of a mix of direct and representative democracy very interesting.  I'd be curious to know more about how DD is rolled out in practice, given our current low rates of electoral participation.  My sense is that people often vote against things as opposed to for things- and I wouldn't want decisions made in a reactive way.  That said, we DEFINITELY need to to figure out a way to re-engage people in democracy and decision making.  In that respect, I welcome your pushing us to re-think citizen engagement.

    As for endorsements-  I feel candidates have the right to endorse each other, but the shared signs and campaigning privileges certain candidates over others, and namely those who are endorsed by incumbents with 

    resources and recognition.  I also feel like municipal politics should be kept non-partisan, and the buddying endorsement process currently in place feels a lot like partisan politics.  Every person should be able to afford and stand a chance at running for municipal politics- these dual bill campaigns make it very difficult for candidates without institutional support.

    Hope this helps, and best of luck next week,

I have voted only for one of the candidates who answered my question, but I will not tell you for whom. I will address some of the criticism raised in the answers here as well as by Ward 11 candidates in a separate article.

My voting location was eerily empty. The vote took me a total of 10 minutes or so. I encourage you to vote this weekend, rather than wait until 22!

Sources / More info: tst-busntransp, tst-axed, tst-squ, lvy-trste 


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